We knew they could coach. We weren’t sure if they could cook.
And really, we’re still not sure about the latter.
Three of Bowling Green State University’s athletics coaches put their kitchen skills to the test Tuesday
night in a cooking competition at The Oaks Dining Center on the campus of BGSU. The competition closely
emulated the Food Network show “Iron Chef America.” The competitors may have had more of a resemblance
of the show “Worst Cooks in America.”
“I’m not going to lie, we were a little nervous,” Marissa Riffle, executive chef at The Oaks, said with a
smile. “We weren’t sure if we were going to have some fires or some accidents or cut fingers, but we had
none of that. They really knew what they were doing.”
Men’s basketball coach Michael Huger, women’s basketball coach Jennifer Roos and football coach Mike
Jinks — all of whom admitted they rarely cook in the kitchen, instead they all grill — were pitted
against each other. Each coach had one of their student-athletes serve as a sous chef. The teams had 35
minutes to plan, cook and serve a dish to two judges who graded each plate in categories such as
presentation and flavor.
The competition was fierce. Kitchen supplies and food were stolen. Trash talk was the norm, and it was
started by Roos earlier Tuesday afternoon.
“I found out the secret ingredient that @CoachJinksBGSU @CoachHugerBG & @calebbright53 will be
using at the Cookoff! #ParticipationTrophies,” Roos tweeted, along with a picture of a box of tissues.
She backed it up with the help of Rachel Myers, a dietetics major, who carries a 4.0 GPA. The duo won the
competition with fajita tacos and a side of rice with lemons and limes as a garnish.
Roos used a combination of red and green bell peppers, onions and heavy seasoning, along with chicken to
complete the meal, which she dubbed “championship worthy” as she presented them to the judges.
The two student evaluators agreed, awarding the inaugural championship to Roos and Myers in what some
might call a landslide.
“Having Rachel Myers on the team, she’s a dietetics major, she came up with the theme of fajitas,” Roos
said after being declared the winner. “We went into preparation mode and I couldn’t be more excited that
we triumphed today.
“Tomorrow we’ll be able to present coach Huger and coach Jinks with their participation trophies of a box
Myers had no trouble noticing Roos’ talents in the kitchen.
“I didn’t know she had such good cutting technique,” Myers explained to the crowd.
Huger finished second with his sous chef Antwon Lillard. The duo spent an inordinate amount of time
cutting vegetables and chicken that eventually turned into a chicken, vegetables and penne pasta
combination with a red sauce.
The dish is one that Huger cooked regularly while he was playing professional basketball in Europe. He
hasn’t spent much time in the kitchen since returning home in 2005.
“I think we tied (for first),” Huger exclaimed in a post-meal interview. “I tried the tacos and they were
very good. But I don’t think it was better than my pasta. But I didn’t come in last so I’m all right.”
Jinks and offensive lineman Caleb Bright charmed the crowd as they concocted a chicken alfredo that at
one point saw noodles on the brink of burning in a skillet, only to be saved by a heaping portion of
Sampling the entree before presenting it to the judges, Jinks needed just one word to describe his dish:
“This meal was prepared with love,” Jinks said before the judging began. “At the end of the day, that’s
what’s most important.”
Added Bright, “You just have to trust the process that we’ll win.”
The trust was broken. Jinks and Bright settled for third. In simpler terms, they were last.
“I’m disappointed in the outcome to say the least,” Jinks said after the competition. “I felt coach Roos,
to her credit, did a great job of thinking outside the box (having a dietetics major alongside).
All three coaches expressed their gratitude for being invited to the event, and all are hopeful that it
will continue in the future. The event was a collaboration by BGSU Dining and the athletic marketing
“I honestly really hope it’s something we do on an annual basis,” Jinks said.
“I’m going to spend the summer, we’ll have about 13 or 14 days where I’ll have a little time, my wife and
I will be in the kitchen quite a bit to get me up to speed.”