Chef John DiGiovanni sent me a note recently to let me know that beginning with this year’s Columbus Blue Jackets Rookie Prospect Camp, our Delaware North chefs at Nationwide Arena are giving cooking lessons to the young players. I think this is a great effort by our chefs as instructing these young players how to truly cook and eat healthy food will help them in their athletic careers.
According to Chef DiGiovanni, the chefs worked with Kevin Collins, the Blue Jackets strength and conditioning coach, to develop a menu and plan to teach the prospects the importance of nutrition. They also shared basic cooking skills with the prospects who took part in the hands-on training.
The class began with everyone assembled in the Time Warner HD Lounge. Chef Joseph Ditri welcomed everyone and introduced Chef John DiGiovanni and Chef Ed Kowalski. Afterwards, Chef DiGiovanni reviewed some basic food and knife safety. The players were provided a sheet that had basic recipes for the item they cooked and a temperature guide that was laminated for easy use in the kitchen. Afterwards, the prospects were given a brief tour of the kitchen.
Chef DiGiovanni instructed the prospects in making various types of salads and how to make a basic vinaigrette. Chef Kowalski offered lessons in cooking different grains like brown rice and quinoa. Chef Ditri showed the prospects how to cook a chicken breast and a salmon fillet in a variety of ways. The coaches were on hand for support and at the end of the lesson, a buffet was set up so everyone could taste the food they’d prepaed.
There has been great feedback from the players, coaches and front office staff for this event. There is already talk of having similar classes during training camp and possible for Arena employees. The Columbus Dispatch even put together an article on the class.