A CHEF from Huddersfield is cooking meals for Australian rugby league stars during their stay in Yorkshire.
And Afghan-born Rafi Maywand, who lives at Linthwaite, has been renewing old friendships withthe Canterbury Bulldogs.
The Australian champions take on Super League champions Leeds Rhinos tonight in the Carnegie World Club Challenge at Elland Road.
The 29-strong party is staying at the Park Plaza Hotel in Leeds, where Rafi is executive chef overseeing four kitchens. Some of the players and coaches knew Rafi during his 14 years in Perth, Western Australia, where he ran three restaurants.
During the Bulldogs' stay at the Leeds hotel, Rafi has been preparing all their meals. He said: "They have very strict dietary requirements. That means plenty of organic chickens and eggs. I have also been giving them low-fat desserts."
Rafi, 35, moved to the Park Plaza after working as chef at the Travellers' Rest, Meltham. He is married to a Huddersfield woman, Maxine, and the couple have four sons, Edward, Alex, Adam and Aaron.
A member of the Afghan royal family, Rafi was forced to flee Afghanistan when the Russians invaded in 1979.
He worked in Germany before moving to Australia when he was 17. He trained as a master chef and ran his own restaurants before coming to England.
Rafi has been given VIP tickets for tonight's match - but working in Leeds means he has divided loyalties.
"I love rugby and I always followed the Bulldogs when I was in Australia," he said. "It might be difficult to say too much now I'm in Leeds!"