There’s something heartbreakingly profound about the way in which the British public puts its hopes and dreams behind a global sports competition it has little to no chance of winning. Perhaps you are a person who likes the ball sport, the goalball, the beauteous competition; in which case, you’re set for the next few weeks as you partake in borderline-sexist WhatsApp group chats and re-incorporate the term “tinnies” into your vernacular. Or, perhaps, you are one of the many who can’t remember if it’s “two-nil” or “two-zero,” give frankly no shits about getting Serbia in the sweepstakes because you’re not even sure if they’re bad or not, and sometimes wonder ... if you stare hard enough at the tiny players running around on a TV screen, like, really hard, whether your mind could make one of them incur a minor injury.
Obviously, the only way to tolerate watching your mates become mindlessly consumed by a moving ball for 90 minutes, is to a) get drunk, or b) get drunk with food. We asked a bunch of chefs to tell us what they’ll be eating during the World Cup.
Meriel Armitage, Club Mexicana
“My favourite thing to eat during the World Cup would be homemade potato wedges with all my favourite Mexican toppings. For me, anything involving crispy potatoes is the perfect booze companion.
Chop a load of potatoes up into wedge shapes, leave the skin on as it's the best and most crispy part, stick them in the oven covered in a shit load of oil (50/50 olive and rapeseed), sea salt, pepper, and paprika/chili if you're feeling fancy and cook them at 180 degrees Celsius for about 35 minutes. Get them out at the halfway point and flip them around on the tray. After 35 mins, turn up the heat to 250 and let them get really crispy for 5-10 mins, being careful not to let them burn. Then put all your fave Mexican toppings on. My go-tos are guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, anything else pickled you can find, chipotle oil, lots of chili sauce (Valentina is the one for me), and finely chopped coriander (this makes it Instagram-worthy and look not nearly as gluttonous as it really is). Boom. Grab a drink and you're football ready.”
Leandro Carreira, Londrino
“Definitely a spicy, cheesy Porto-style hot dog washed down with an ice-cold Superbock. Takes me back to Gazela Cachorrinhos da Batalha in Porto—a tiny hole-in-the-wall serving their speciality spicy grilled panini hot dogs known as cachorrinhos. This snack bar is always crowded with locals but it’s so worth the wait.”
Kathe Cunin, Arepa & Co.
“I love snacking on yuca chips dipped in garlic mayo, washed down with my take on a Cuba Libre, made with a Venezuelan aged rum (I love to use Santa Teresa), lemonade, fresh lemon, and a drop of Angostura bitters, with loads of ice.”
Dhruv Mittal, DUM Biryani House
“Butter Masala popcorn and Tandoori smoked chicken wings are my go-to while watching the World Cup—instant people pleasers—along with an iced cold bottle of The Kernel Table Beer.”
Meera Sodha, author Made in India and Fresh India
“A pint or two of prawns and some aioli.”
John Ogier, Lyle’s
"Last time I watched the football, I went to [London football bar] Bar Kick for happy hour and I drank as much as humanly possible between 5 and 7 PM: multiple Long Island ice teas, Mojitos, and we stropedo’d a couple of bottles of cheap house wine. We topped up with Sagres during the match, and then, in true restaurateur fashion, I went to The Clove Club around the corner for some after football snacks.”
Masha Rener, Lina Stores
“I’m actually not a big football fan, so I’m pretty happy that Italy isn’t in the running this year! However, I’d usually need a few pesche e prosecco followed by a comforting porchetta sandwich and maybe a slice of pizza al taglio to get me through the match”
Alex Coppard and Joel Braham, The Good Egg
“Our perfect feast for watching football and eating with your hands would be za'atar chicken wings brined overnight, then marinated in loads of za'atar, olive oil, garlic, chili, and salt, and either roasted low in the oven so they are extra juicy and crispy, or smoked on the barbecue.
We'd serve them up with our ‘everything slaw’—kohlrabi, golden beets, red and white cabbage, honey mustard dressing, and everything-seasoning, along with our house labneh covered in smoked almond dukkah and chili oil with bagel and pita chips. Washed down with some chilled orange wine (or more likely a few tins of beer!)”