Gary LaMorte knows. He cooks their food
It takes a team to feed a team. For the Las Vegas Raiders, the squad of culinary professionals that keeps them sated is Honest Hospitality, founded by longtime chef Gary LaMorte. With a team of 30 people, LaMorte not only feeds the players and the coaches, but basically everyone who walks through the Raiders training facilities during four specific eating periods from 5:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. We caught up with LaMorte between busy cycles of cooking for hungry Raiders.
How is cooking for a pro sports team different than cooking for a restaurant?
I thought that cooking was the most intense until I got to understand what it’s like to play for the NFL. They work incredibly hard. It’s incredibly demanding. It’s the highest highs and the lowest lows from week to week. The fact that they want new food constantly is a skill set we’ve developed pretty thoroughly. We have multiple development chefs that are doing new recipes and dishes every single day. On Friday, we tried 16 new dishes.
How do Raiders eat differently than the rest of us?
We, as a normal diners, look at food in daily or weekly blocks. With the Raiders, we’re looking at food four hours at a time. Your body is not looking for things once a day or twice a week or something like that. To repair properly, your body is looking for those building blocks many times throughout the day. We use many types of protein supplements, whether you are getting ready to go to sleep and you want a slow release for the night, or you want something that is going to be bio-available in 20 minutes from now when you’re in the gym.
What’s a surprise dish that was a hit?
Lobster Thermidor. We do feast nights before home games. These are big culinary productions with chilled seafood displays and roasted meats. Toward the end of the season, we wanted to do something a little different and the guys like lobster. We used an old André-esque recipe (as in renowned Strip chef André Rochat) for the thermidor, and the guys went crazy for it. Φ