April 27, 2016
By Brad Muller | More Features
South Carolina baseball pitcher Josh Reagan and infielder Ross Grosvenor spent part of this semester replacing their baseball caps with chefs' hats. The two juniors are Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management majors and were required to take an intensive cooking class as part of the curriculum.
“You’re cooking food for three hours, so it’s not your average class,” Reagan said “We learned a lot about cooking that I know I can probably use later on in my life. It’s a good skill to know. I mean before, I could cook eggs and make grilled cheese, but nothing like what we cooked in class. So I learned some valuable skills. I learned how to make a lot of different sauces. I can break down a chicken now. I can make noodles from scratch.”
“I’ve always loved food obviously,” Grosvenor said. “I haven’t watched any cooking shows or anything like that, but I had fun with it. We have to take another class next semester, and we have to serve people at the McCutchen House.”
You have to be fast-paced and know what goes together. It’s a lot more knowledge than I think the average person would understand.
Keep in mind, this isn’t simply making toast as the meals served at the University’s McCutchen House by the professional chefs and students in HRTM are serious business.
“It was a lot of work,” Reagan said. “You start at 8 a.m. because you have to get the grills ready. You have to get all the food out and figure out what you’re going to prepare. It takes a long time to cook food when you’re cooking for a lot of people at a restaurant like this.
“Knowing how to cook fast and strategically was tough at first. You want to cook things so they’re ready at the same time because you don’t want one thing to be finished and sitting out for 30 minutes while you’re cooking something else that goes with the meal. You have to be fast-paced and know what goes together. It’s a lot more knowledge than I think the average person would understand.”
“I learned a lot of different ways you can cook food,” Grosvenor said. “There is a lot of stuff I didn’t know you could use in certain recipes. You can get a lot more out of certain foods than what you really think. It was a good experience and a lot of fun to do.”
While Grosvenor and Reagan aren’t ready for the next season of Hell’s Kitchen, they are of course competitors on and off the field and tried to bring their “A-game” to each class and help each other out.
“I haven’t really done much cooking before,” Grosvenor said. “I learned a lot of new things. We recently had our exam, and I cooked chicken Alfredo. I think Josh had the better recipe that day. Nobody got sick, so that was definitely as success.”
“We’re pretty much the same,” Reagan said. “During class, you have two different sections. One was in production for the food that goes upstairs to the restaurant. The other side is a different chef who is teaching you different things. So every time Ross would cook something on the learning side of the class, he would let me try it and vice versa.”
Despite their experience, the duo said that their teammates haven’t begged them to cook a team dinner; at least not yet.
“No, I don’t think they trust us yet,” Grosvenor said. “I think we need a few more years of experience before that will happen. I didn’t have any big time mistakes. I did cut my finger a little bit one time, but nothing too serious.”
“I would like to though,” Reagan added. “It would be fun to test out my skills.”
Both student-athletes said they are more likely to pursue careers on the business side of things within the HRTM major as opposed to being the next master chef, but they did learn some valuable lessons along the way.
“Don’t wear shorts,” Reagan said. “I showed up one day in shorts and they kicked me out. That’s a huge deal. So pay attention next time you go to a nice restaurant. You won’t see any servers in shorts. I definitely pay more attention to how food looks, how it’s prepared and even the plates that the food comes out on. So I learned a lot, and I’m glad I took the class.”
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