HE IS famous for his handiwork on the field of play – but rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll is also extremely skilled in the kitchen.
The Irish Independent 'Lineout' magazine discovered his talent first-hand when we accompanied him to a cookery masterclass at Dublin's Saba restaurant.
The former Ireland captain revealed neither he nor wife, Amy Huberman, eat carbs in the evening. But when it comes to getting the apron on, Ireland's top try-scorer also leads the stats at home. "I'd say it's about 85:15 percentage-wise."
He added that life has changed somewhat since "small people came along" – a reference to their baby daughter Sadie, born in February.
"I used to love looking at a recipe, getting all the bits and pieces in the shops, getting them ready and prepared... I don't really have the time to do that anymore," said O'Driscoll, seen here in a HSBC ambassador's portrait by Tim Bret-Day.
His only concern is that as he approaches retirement – potentially after one last bid at winning a Lions Test series this summer – he will have to watch his waistline even further.
"I have a fat person in here bursting to get out," he chuckles, clutching an imaginary paunch. "So I know I can't just indulge in whatever I want."
"The worry is, that time when I actually finish (and retire). Hopefully, vanity will get the better of me on that and I won't let myself go!"
"My nutritional knowledge is good enough to figure out what's good, what's bad and where my leeway is," he says. "
But while rugby fans have spent season after season putting their trust in BOD, it's refreshing to hear he's as human as the rest of us when it comes to chocolate, writes Pol O Conghaile in next Wednesday's magazine.
O'Driscoll, a HSBC ambassador, discusses his idea of food heaven and hell and reveals the real story behind his infamous food quip: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."
He delivered his cryptic comment in 2009, just as Martin Johnson's England trundled into town for a Six Nations clash at Croke Park.
Diplomatic about his Lions chances, O'Driscoll talks about the food highlights on his previous Lions Tours in Australia. "The seafood there is fantastic. I'm fairly adventurous with my eating. I've tried kangaroo, and Moreton Bay bugs, which are a kind of lobster, are so good."
Asked about Jonny Sexton's move to France and whether the Leinster out half's move might open the floodgates, O'Driscoll said: "There's potential. If the sort of numbers that are being touted around as to what Jonny went over for... it will be a huge temptation [for players] to leave."
Don't miss Lineout Magazine and the corresponding interactive iMag which is published free with the Irish Independent today. As well as the full interview with Brian O'Driscoll, the magazine, which is edited by Bairbre Power, also includes features, fashion and a four-page pullout on the Lions Tour.