Magic at the Training Table, part III

In 1990, then Vanderbilt Athletics' Director Paul Hoolihan decided Vanderbilt needed a first-class training table to provide its student-athletes with the best possible nutrition. After a lengthy search, he hired executive chef Majid "Magic" Noori for the position. This is part 3 of our look inside the Vanderbilt training table program.

Recently, I had a chance to visit with Coach Noori and witness up close just what goes into feeding Vanderbilt's teams. 


In part one, Magic talked about his background and how he won the job over other applicants and about the science of food.  In part two, he talked about feeding certain players and Coach Bobby Johnson, among other things.  In part three, we look at some of Magic's recipes and hear what some players and Coach Johnson have to say about the training table.  I'll also reveal the favorite meal and snack of a certain rookie NFL quarterback who credits Magic with helping him become the player he is today.


Magic Noori not only feeds the players' stomachs, he feeds their minds.  When a Vanderbilt athlete graduates, he or she could almost be given a side-order degree in nutrition and food science.  Here is a snippet of comments from Coach Bobby Johnson and a few football players about Coach Noori's training table:


Coach Johnson: Magic is an extremely important part of our football program.  He's our food coach and our nutritionist.  He's a friend of the program who goes out of his way to make sure our guys are well-fed and eating the right foods when they are supposed to.  He's very unselfish and will do about anything for these guys.  He works with the guys who are overweight to lose weight, and he works with the guys who are underweight to gain some pounds.  Not only all that, but the food is great!  That's why it's so much fun to go in there.  We're eating the right things, and our players know they are eating the right things.


Chris Nickson: The first time I tasted Magic's food my thought was that it was exceptionally scrumptious.  His food is some of the best I have ever tasted.  My first meal here was on my official visit.  It blew both my parents and me away.  We decided that this would be a great place to eat for the next five years. 

Magic put me on his plan, and I eat everything he tells me to eat.  Everything he tells you to eat will build you up if you just do what he says.  He has me eating dry fruit.  I really appreciate it because he is helping me get bigger and stronger.  My favorites are the steaks and lobsters.  A lot of the guys like to fight over the crab legs, but I'll take the lobster.


Ryan Hamilton:  When you are recruited, they tell you about Magic, so I was already looking forward to it.  Once I got to meet him, I discovered he's one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.  When I see ribs on the menu, I want to be one of the first guys in line.  Those ribs are really good.


Sean Dixon:  My first meeting with Magic was on my recruiting visit, and we had really good food.  The food today is still as delicious as my first meeting.  All the food is good, but I love those crab legs best.


True freshman guard Reilly Lauer is a quick, talented lineman who entered Vanderbilt looking like a slim member of the basketball team at 6-8 and 240.  Magic has already started him on a special program, and Lauer is putting on weight already.  According to Lauer's parents, Jim and Marian, "Reilly is Magic's special five-year project."  Magic's goal is to get Lauer up to about 305 to 310 pounds.


As I watched Lauer devour a huge lunch of fish, stuffed shells, a large salad, a hard-cooked egg, a bowl of fruit, and a roll, he told me, "Magic is unbelievable.  Anything you could ask for, he has it here for you.  The other night, we had crab legs and I ate a ridiculous amount of them.  I wasn't expecting it to be like this.  I thought there would be just one dish for dinner, but anything you could imagine, he has.  He told my parents that in six months, they wouldn't recognize me.  I need to gain about 60 pounds, and I've already started putting the weight on."


So by now, you must be a little hungry, eh?  Here are a few of Magic's ideas for healthy calories.  You will find these recipes in his upcoming book—Eating to Win with America's #1 Food Coach.


Graham Cracker Shake


Put six square graham crackers into a food processor, along with 1 ½ cup skim milk, 2 Tbsp. of honey, and 4 strawberries.  Blend to the desirable consistency. 


Magic suggests consuming this with the following breakfast: 12 ounces of cranberry juice. 2 slices of honeydew, and 1 bowl of cooked cream of wheat.


Veggie Wrap


In a mixing bowl, stir together ½ cup broccoli florets, ½ cup sliced yellow pepper, ½ cup zucchini, 2 medium mushrooms sliced, ½ cup feta cheese, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, 2 Tbsp. Italian dressing, and mix well.  Fill two, nine-inch spinach tortillas and fold tightly.  Roast in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for four minutes. 


Magic recommends serving this lunch with a banana and a sports drink (he also recommends drinking the sports drink in a 50-50 mix with water).


Seafood Pasta


Pour 3 Tbsp. olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.  After the oil is hot, add ½ pound of peeled shrimp.  After 5 minutes, stir in 1 tsp. garlic.  Let these ingredients cool in the sauté pan for three minutes, then mix in cooked whole wheat fettuccini and 1 cup grated parmesan cheese.  Add 1 cup of cream sauce.  Put the sauté pan containing all the ingredients topped with parmesan cheese into an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 5 minutes.


Eating Like Jay Cutler


So, what did Vanderbilt's all-time leading passer like to eat when he played here?  Would you believe that his favorite thing to eat was a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich? He would eat this for a snack prior to working out.


Cutler also loved Magic's Philly Cheese Steaks.  Eating one of these per week will really put the pounds on. Top Stories