We’ve seen the workouts. We’ve seen the advanced stats. We’ve seen the mock drafts. And we’ve read everything these guys have to say. But how does a world-class athlete like Desmond Bane fuel his body? Clearly, he can’t be like the rest of us crushing Chick Fil A all the time, and that’s where Nickky Noodle comes in.
I started doing some research into Desmond, hoping he will be there at 21 so the 76ers could add the sniper to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and while doing it I happened to come across his personal chef, Nick Mathews aka Chef Nickky Noodle. As I scrolled through Nick’s Twitter timeline (@nick_mathews_) I started to get really hungry. The pictures and videos of the food that he makes for guys like Bane absolutely looked delicious. At the same time, I read about how serious Desmond takes things like workouts and practice, and thought to myself, ‘damn looks like he takes eating seriously too’. Then it dawned on me to reach out to Chef Noodles and ask him some questions about being a personal chef for athletes, and his relationship with NBA draft prospect Desmond Bane
Here is the full interview with Nick:
How did you end up a personal chef? And how did you get linked up with pro basketball players?
I’ve actually loved cooking for as long as I can remember. I was a fat kid who loved food, so I figured if I learned how to make food, I could eat food whenever it was convenient for me.
When I was a kid I remember there being a lot of food TV on in my parents’ house. Shows like “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”, “Top Chef”, “Chopped”, and “Bar Rescue” had a lot of influence on how I look at food.
I wasn’t the best student in school and knew that going to a 4-year college and working a 9-5 just wasn’t for me. After high school I ended up going to community college and really didn’t have much direction, I just knew I was sick of being broke.
The first time I sold my food was really because I was trying to make a few extra dollars to pay rent. I would sell plates in my hometown which would usually consist of an entree and two sides. I think the first day I sold about 10 plates and about a year and a half later I was selling around 200 plates a day out of my parents’ garage. I was fortunate enough to quit my job and a couple of weeks later Desmond moved me out to Miami to be his personal chef. All the pros I’ve cooked for are guys that I’ve run into at the gym during his workouts and open gyms down here.
Other than Desmond what other athletes have you cooked for?
While I’ve been down here I have gotten to cook for Treveon Graham (Atlanta Hawks), Michael Beasley (NBA Free Agent), Freddie Gillespie (Baylor Alumni) (NBA Draft Prospect), and a few college players from different levels.
Are you like on call, or do these guys have to schedule meals?
For the most part I do appointment only but for Desmond, I’m on call 24/7. He’s opened up so many doors for me and my career so he’s going to be my main priority for as long as he wants me around.
What’s your favorite meal to make?
My favorite meal to make is one I’ve never made before. The best part about cooking in my opinion is finding new flavors and exploring how different cultures prepare food. It’s a pretty common theme lately for me to make a dish and it turns out to be one of my new favorites.
Favorite to eat?
My guy, Imo (Desmond’s Uncle), put me on to Peruvian food the first time I visited Miami. And since then it is my new go-to. Ceviche in Miami is ridiculously delicious if you go to the right spot.
Ok on to Desmond
Recently in an Athletic article, he was quoted talking about his workouts, and how he prefers to work out alone because he takes it seriously and doesn’t like to talk or joke around. Is he as serious about food and nutrition too? (I’m pretty serious about food, not so much nutrition though anymore lol old ass dude)
Yeah, he might be the most disciplined person I know. He takes his body very seriously and really understands the investment his body is to his craft. We are all a result of our rituals and Des is a perfect example of that.
How did you get hooked up with Desmond?
I’ve known Des for about as long as I can remember. His Aunt lived next door to my Grandma so I would see him around, but I didn’t really get to know him like that until his Grandma made him go to Seton when he was in elementary school. Since middle school, he’s been one of my closest friends and really just another big brother to me.
Being his chef was never something I planned for, but when he asked me I was more than honored to do the job.
If he were to say he had a favorite meal of yours, what would it be?
He would probably say the stuffed salmon. It’s crab meat, spinach, and cream cheese filling inside of a salmon fillet. He does not get to eat it often with how clean he’s been eating while training for the draft. But a cheat meal every once in a while is essential to not going crazy.
Have you cooked for him all through college or just for pre-draft stuff so far? The dude is a bulldog, looks strong as shit so whatever he is eating is working.
While he was in college at TCU, he would always ask for nutrition advice because I lost about 80 pounds myself and gained real knowledge for nutrition and how certain foods affect the body. I was living in Indiana at the time so if he was ever in town he would get meals prepped for the week. For the most part, I just started cooking for him consistently during the pre-draft process
Is Desmond the best shooter in the draft? (yes I know the answer is yes )
Desmond is one of the best shooters in the WORLD. If you were to see some of the things he does EVERY single day in shooting drills, you would say the same thing with no hesitation. He’s a literal machine, he will go 85-95 out of 100 in shooting drills. But to answer your question: Yes Desmond is the best shooter in the draft haha.
As you know I write about the 76ers, and would love for Desmond to fall to 21 so he can play here, if the Sixers draft him, will you come up to visit from time to time? Or will you come to work for him full time? Also, could I order a steak from you (lol just joking but they look good as shit)
Yeah, the plan thus far is to move my operation to wherever he gets drafted to. The Sixers would be tight, but I’m happy for him to go anywhere.
And haha I got you with a steak anytime I’m in town big dog, I’m a fan of your work and it’s great to see you hopped on the Bane-Train early. He’s a special dude.
As the draft nears closer and closer, Desmond Bane seems to be gaining some steam as not only the best shooter in the draft but also one of the better prospects. Could the 22-year-old shoot up the draft chart? Or will he fall far enough that Philly can either select him at 21 or trade up a few spots and get their guy? Bane would be a great addition, and in my opinion, he is the kind of player and shooter that will thrive playing next to a guy like Ben Simmons and the perfect shooter to space the floor for Joel Embiid. If he is available at 21 sign me up. And if he brings up Chef Noodles and I can get my hands on one of those steaks I wouldn’t complain either.