Many athletes might be as graceful in the kitchen as a bull in a china shop, their repertoire limited to grilled cheese sandwiches or worse — take-out.
Not Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (right), who not only admitted that he cooks but was quite proud of the fact, too.
“My parents are Slovak and they always cooked. They taught me how to cook too,” Paul says. He confesses to regularly preparing meals for himself when he has time.
“During the season I do a lot of grilling. I also like searing fish and eating healthy,” he says. Rice, potatoes or something nutritious are staples for the assistant captain’s meals the night before a game.
Stastny, just like most other hockey players, makes sure he eats the same thing for his pregame meal. Although Stastny says he’s not superstitious, he goes to the same restaurant and orders the same thing before every game. You’ll find him chowing down on a Caesar salad, bread and whole wheat penne pasta with chicken at Piatti Ristorante & Bar in Denver prior to hitting the ice.
Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles admits he is superstitious about his pregame meal. Although I doubt he is personally sacrificing a free-range chicken and roasting it, he does eat the same thing before every game. He’s part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in Denver where he gets fresh, local produce and some poultry and meats.
Growing up in Indiana, Liles’ family would buy their beef from their farmer neighbor. His mom planted a garden full of veggies she’d cook for the family. So it makes sense that he is a firm believer in consuming natural, non-processed foods and relishes in the benefits of doing so.
But no one is perfect. Liles (right) concedes to cheating once in a while. If he consumes junk food, it’s a burger and fries (hopefully from the Cherry Cricket because that’s totally worth it). He also indulges in Kraft Mac & Cheese after games. Although I’m sure he makes it with freshly churned butter and recently bottled milk from a grass-fed, hormone-free cow … so is that really cheating?
Both players’ interest and excitement talking about food resonated in every answer. They even named the same downtown Denver restaurant, TAG, as their favorite. The boys’ appreciation about the fare at this establishment sparked my own appetite to try it out. It was truly an experience, and I completely understand what the hype was about.
As professional hockey players, these men understand adrenaline. The same jolt created during 60 minutes of intense competition can also present itself when cooking under pressure. Like in a throw-down challenge. So what do you say, guys? Are you ready for a throw-down with Chef Colleen?
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