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TIPOFF: Chef Shane Battier

You see him making plays on the court,
but HEAT Forward Shane Battier has
skills off the court too! He is especially
comfortable whipping up a batch of his
French Toast or trademark hot wings!

TIPOFF: Who is your inspiration for cooking?

Shane Battier: My dad is a master of the
grill. Growing up, he'd be out there grilling
something every weekend. He is definitely
my inspiration.

TO: Did you pick up any tips from him?

SB: I try to make ribs, brisket and chicken, but nothing will ever be as good as my
dad's. He's a great idol to measure myself against.

TO: When you have cooked for him, what has his response been?

SB: I think he appreciates my efforts, but he's got years on me. I'm good on the
grill, but I like to cook on the stovetop as well. So I'm a little more well-rounded
and may have some more techniques. My dad is a better cook than me on the
grill, though.

TO: Where do you get your inspiration when cooking?

SB: I like to get inspired by a ton of things. I read a lot of cookbooks. I'm always on
cooking websites for inspiration. Right now I'm interested in the perfect ratio
of ingredients and exploring the essential ingredients that are out there. There's
so much out there, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can. I watch the Food
Network a lot, too. I enjoy watching the food shows about international customs
and cuisines. I'm a big fan of Anthony Bourdain, Anne Burrell and Ina Garten -
Barefoot Contessa… I watch it all. I just try to take in different techniques.

TO: What are the meals you make best?

SB: My French Toast is legendary. So if you're around the Battier household on the
weekend, you know what I'm talking about. I make great pancakes, too. I could
be a short order chef if I needed to be. I like to forage around the kitchen and
throw in some chicken and some balsamic vinegar, some asparagus, somecouscous too. I like to freestyle and throw something together. For the most
part, what I make is pretty edible. Every now and then I make some funky
things, though. I tried to make a buffalo cauliflower dish, and it was not very
good. It was supposed to be a substitute for chicken wings – actually I wanted it
to be healthier hot wings.

TO: Do you usually make your own hot wings?

SB: Oh yeah! My special blend consists of taking hot wings and dredging them in hot
sauce, flour, seasoned salt and other spices. Then I fry them in peanut oil and put in
some more hot sauce. I like spicy! When I have time, I make my own pepper sauce
and bake my own bread... I get into it.

TO: What about desserts? Are you a dessert guy?

SB: I am a dessert guy, but I really don't have time to make desserts. I am looking
for the perfect dessert recipe. But the dessert I do best is a five-minute
chocolate chip cookie sundae. You actually make it in the microwave. You
put the ingredients in a mug, mix it up and stick it in the microwave for 90
seconds. When it's done, the texture is hard on the outside and soft on the
inside. You put some ice cream on it and voilá.

TO: That sounds delicious! What about cleaning up?

SB: Every chef follows the code of "mise en place," which means everything in its
place. If you're a cook, you always keep your working space clean and accessible.
That's always part of it.