De Jong, Ugo Carabelli Try Their Hand At Peruvian Cooking Class
When Camilo Ugo Carabelli and Jesper de Jong arrived at the Lima-2 Challenger this week, they traded in their tennis racquets for kitchen utensils.
Dutchman de Jong and Argentine Ugo Carabelli embraced the culture of Peru’s capital city as they took part in a local cooking class, a few blocks from the host venue (Club Terrazas de Miraflores) of the Lima-2 Challenger. Both Challenger Tour stars were up for the task.
“I really like to cook,” Ugo Carabelli said. “This past month I cooked my favourite dish, Argentinian barbecue.”
Although it wasn’t his home-cooked asado, the 23-year-old, who holds two Challenger titles this season, jumped right in as he teamed with de Jong to make causa limeña and lomo saltado.
Camilo Ugo Carabelli prepares the lomo saltado at a cooking class in Lima. Credit: Adam Roberts
Causa limeña, a Peruvian entrée, is layered with potatoes and vegetables, topped with avocado, olives, and a hard boiled egg. Lomo saltado, which de Jong said was his favourite of the two, is beef sirloin cooked over fire with onions, tomato, and peppers.
“My first reaction to this cooking class was, ‘Okay, this is going to be tough,” de Jong said. “But I need to learn and it’s good to do something outside of tennis. I like to cook pasta but it’s a little simple, I need to make more special dishes.”
De Jong, 22, claimed he hadn’t cooked since May, when he went on his first date with his girlfriend. The Haarlem native, who won his maiden Challenger title in 2021 (Almaty-2), handled the new experience as if it was like riding a bike.
The chef guided de Jong and Ugo Carabelli step-by-step as they cut the vegetables for the causa limeña. The aroma of onions and peppers filled the room. Along the way, de Jong and Ugo Carabelli paused to taste test the yellow chili paste and yellow potatoes, both featured in the entrée.
“I need to eat healthy,” Ugo Carabelli said. “I can’t eat too much because I gain weight very fast [laughs].”
When it was time to prepare the main dish, lomo saltado, both players tried their hand at stirring the beef over the flame. Not long after, the meal was all set. Served with a side of rice and french fries, de Jong and Ugo Carabelli sat at the table and enjoyed their freshly cooked Peruvian cuisine.
Jesper de Jong (left) and Camilo Ugo Carabelli pose with the chef after cooking lomo saltado. Credit: Grant Thompson
“I wasn’t sure what to expect but Camilo and I made some really nice dishes,” de Jong said. “What I tasted of Peruivian food was pretty good and I made it myself, so that’s even better!”
“It went better than I expected,” Ugo Carabelli said. “It was very fun and I honestly learned a lot from the chef.”
Any fears of failure were suddenly removed as they realised it was a successful afternoon in the kitchen.