Members of Ohio State’s track and field program and women’s basketball team had a cooking info session on Thursday (Oct. 12) at the Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC) to kick off their fall break.
On hand were about 30 student-athletes to learn from one of the best, Chef Nikki Steward. Serving as a personal chef for a number of celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, Steward has a knack for cooking up sensational dishes.
“This is awesome experience for these athletes and myself. They’re having a good time, I’m having a good time, this event turned out really good,” Steward mentioned. “Being an athlete, eating healthy is a task that can play a big role in their performance. The better they eat, the better they feel. I’m happy to teach them how to cook and how to learn new ways to make their experience with cooking easier.”
On the docket for Thursday’s menu was chicken, salmon, broccoli, carrots, quinoa, rice and more. Steward took the student-athletes through a step-by-step process that allowed each athlete to make their own dish with specialized seasoning. After the prep work was done, the student-athletes got to reap the benefits of a home cooked meal created by themselves.
A graduate student and senior on the women’s basketball team, Stephanie Mavunga has loved to cook meals ever since she was a child.
“I’m a big cooking enthusiast. Whether its little things, desserts, appetizers, or big meals, I love it all,” Mavunga noted. “I could see myself doing this in the future. I’m very passionate about cooking. I just love it. I always wanted to go to culinary school growing up, but my parents swayed me otherwise.
“It’s been a blessing. I’ve had a great time at Ohio State and opportunities like these are very special. I love sharing my love for cooking with other student-athletes.”
The event was organized by Kiara McClendon, a learning specialist at the Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO). She worked alongside Mavunga in the planning of the event.
“I had the pleasure of seeing Chef Nikki here at a local food demonstration for an organization here in Columbus,” McClendon said. “I thought her story would be great to share with our student-athletes, so I spoke with Dr. (David) Graham and we made it happen.”
Mavunga and the fellow student-athletes in attendance at the session learned some valuable techniques for quick cooking in the kitchen.