TRAVERSE CITY — Blake Clarke wanted the chefs to know the bandage on his finger was from hockey, not a knife wound.
Andreas Anathasiou kept adding too many chocolate chips to the Cherry Oats recipe, prompting Hayden Hodgson to start throwing chips in the air for Anathasiou to catch in his mouth.
Team nutritionist Lisa McDowell arranged some alternate portions for Marc McNulty, who is gluten intolerant.
Such is life when the Detroit Red Wings’ top prospects are thrown together in a culinary class like a 44-ingredient recipe as the team’s 44 participants in this week’s Skill Development Camp added one more to their resume: Cooking.
“It was all training,” Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer said of his days at this type of camp as a Red Wings first-round pick in 1998. “Times have changed.”
Now in its second year, the program is intended to augment what players learn about nutrition by teaching them how to make healthy meals — something that can be fairly big for players who are frequently in their late teens and used to microwaving Pizza Rolls or Ramen noodles more than grilling salmon.
“I don’t know of any other team that teaches an actual class that’s hands-on,” McDowell said.
Last year’s inaugural Red Wings culinary class taught players how to make six dishes. This year’s had seven, plus two healthy snacks.
Whereas last year’s session had an instructor for each group and showed them how to make all six dishes, this year’s had nine stations that the groups of five rotated around as Culinary Institute Front-of-the-House director Patty Huhta kept time with a stopwatch to keep the event on time.
As instructor Joel Papcun showed the players how to grill fish, he even demonstrated where to put them over the heat to get criss-crossing grill marks to make it even more presentable.