SU players liked his food. Now, Michael Brooks is pursuing his dream.

first_imgMichael Brooks sat in the crowd at a Boeheim’s Army game this past summer and spotted a familiar face across the Carrier Dome. Brooks, a native of Oswego, went to Syracuse games often as a kid. The 21-year-old grew up with the team, the city, the players. Brooks wanted to cook for them. The chef de cuisine at La Parilla grill & wine bar had recently received an opportunity to cook in the Hamptons. But Brooks’ dream is to become a personal chef. He messaged Syracuse basketball players on Instagram: “Let me cook for you and the guys broo.” For a long time, he got nothing. Then, his phone flashed with a reply.“(Your) meals look tough bro where you from?” SU point guard Howard Washington, the familiar face, replied.Washington became his first customer. Then Brendan Paul. Then women’s basketball guard Lauren Fitzmaurice and center Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi. And Jalen Carey, Tommy DeVito and Elijah Hughes. Since July, people have seen Brooks on Instagram, posing with food or interacting with athletes, and interest is growing. Brooks dreams of one day being a personal chef for NBA players and has now created a small network within his community.“They’re good people to have in your corner,” Brooks said. “You never know what can happen.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBrooks used to cook a little when he was younger — mostly macaroni and cheese — but his love for cooking began when he was hired at La Parilla almost three years ago as a “salad guy” and quickly worked his way up. His chef, Raymond Jock, taught him the importance of food presentation. Brooks took the challenge. He started the Instagram account @mikebrookscooks, where he posted photos of food attached to the slogan #DateAChef.Courtesy of Zay MaverickHe discovered people respond to the food like it’s art. His rise has been similar to many modern chefs, who, without direct products to offer, use social media to promote service and precision. Richard Ingraham, a professional personal chef who now works exclusively for Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, said he rarely fills his social media pages with pictures of himself. Brooks has started to follow suit, only using social media to build his brand. “You use the plate as your canvas and you make something beautiful,” Brooks said. “And people love it.”Working 50-60 hours weekly at La Parilla, he prepared and delivered meals to interested clients on Sundays and Mondays — his days off. He started by offering meals for free, but as word spread, he charged a fee. He gets discounted ingredients from the wholesale provider at the restaurant he works for and has expanded his creativity by watching videos, scrolling through Instagram and reading cookbooks. He tests himself by creating specials at La Parilla and contacts professional chefs, like Ingraham, for advice.Brooks said some athletes on the SU men’s basketball and football teams have expressed interest in meal plans: five to seven meals per week prepared and delivered. If the first people to try it enjoy the idea — he said he knows they will — it will only further expand a notable network of Syracuse-level celebrities.“I know I make some good stuff, let’s just say that,” Brooks said. “I think they know it too.”Now, Brooks said he feels like the players he works with, the people he’s met through cooking, they all have his back. And he said for someone who grew up watching Syracuse basketball, it’s surreal. He often expresses that appreciation where he knows best.“the guy who started it all 4 me (love) u,” Brooks commented on one of Washington’s recent Instagram posts“@mikebrookscooks you know brotha! ,” Washington wrote back.Sitting in a Café Kubal recently, Brooks smiled. “That’s pretty cool.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 6, 2020 at 12:04 am Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcClearylast_img read more

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