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Pitt Football’s Chefs: Celebrating Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh and Beyond



When all 14 of Pitt’s linebackers pile into Ryan Manalac’s house after practice Thursday afternoon, it won’t be to watch film. It will be to eat.

According to SirVocea Dennis, Bangally Kamara and Solomon DeShields will be handling a majority of the cooking. It will actually be a cook-off, with Manalac and his wife Carly handling the rest of the cooking.

“I’ve eaten both of their cooking, and it’s pretty good, it’s just whoever comes out on top on that day has the crown,” Dennis said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. 

It’s Thanksgiving, and food is king — after an early morning practice, of course. There will not be a Pitt football player sitting alone in their dorm room Thursday afternoon, as either position coaches or teammates will be hosting Thanksgiving feasts.

The linebacking corps will be together at Manalac’s house, but a unit like the offensive line will be spread out across the area. And not just because there isn’t enough food to feed the 19 men in the room.

“We’re all going to different spots,” Matt Goncalves said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “I know I’m going to Blake Zubovic’s, I always go there every year. Different guys — Marcus (Minor) might go home or something like that, Jake (Kradel) will go back home, everybody has their spot to go to.”

Minor, for reference, accepted an invitation to spend the day out with Terrence Enos’ family in Michigan.

The defensive line will not be headed to Charlie Partridge’s house, which may be a good thing considering the 21-man unit, according to Partridge, basically put Pitt in the soup kitchen for a bit over the summer.

“Devin (Danielson’s) mom actually rents a place out, so she took first dibs and I think a lot of guys are gonna go over there,” Partridge said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “But we have enough local guys, where they’re going home, the option is there.” 

And while the Kamara-DeShields cook-off attracted some attention, with Deslin Alexandre admitting he needed to check it out, it appears most of the cooking Thursday will simply be enjoyed by Pitt football. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t cooks on the roster.

Minor considers himself a bit of a chef, and there is a meal he enjoys cooking the most.

“My favorite dish to make is baked chicken wings,” Minor said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “Different types of seasonings I always use, but I think my favorite is honey old bay.”

Goncalves acknowledged Minor’s cooking ability, and he added Owen Drexel’s name to the mix when it comes to offensive linemen. If either made a good stuffing, Goncalves’ favorite Thanksgiving side dish, he’d be there, too.

When it comes to the defensive side of the football, Alexandre considers himself a bit of a cook, and he had a bit of inspiration last year.

“Nate (Temple) was my roommate last year, and we had some good battles, so Nate’s a good cook,” Alexandre said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “It was really more battles on the grill, but Nate Temple, he’s a good cook.”

Thursday will be a day of eating very, very, very well — especially after a morning of working hard — but it won’t last long. A flight to Miami looms before Saturday night’s season finale.

And with a win over Miami, which would be the first in Miami since 2014, Pitt football would be very thankful.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Super Guys, Super Story! H2P

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