Wolves take to the Kitchen for Cooking For A Cause





Kelsey Kroll
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate

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Minnesota Timberwolves players Malcolm Lee, Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams flaunted a new uniform and set of skills Saturday afternoon as they stepped off the court and into the kitchen to help host “Cooking for a Cause.”

As part of the Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation’s WolvesCare initiative, presented by C.H. Robinson Worldwide, the players welcomed 40 children diagnosed with diabetes to the WAY-COOL Cooking School in Eden Prairie on Saturday for a lesson in diabetic-friendly cooking. The event was made possible through a partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

After the children and players put on their chef hats and washed their hands, they headed to the kitchen to create some diabetic-friendly meals.

Heading Saturday's event was Chef Lynn Elliott, and she was thrilled to have the Timberwolves participate for the fifth year.

"I think it is awesome to have the Timberwolves involved," Elliott said. "These kids come in here at first and they are all kind of quiet and shy because they don’t know each other, and I think the really cool thing that happens is they finally realize, ‘I’m not alone.’ I think just having the Wolves here to highlight that they are special and what they are doing and what we are trying to teach them is important. I think it is just a really cool thing."

Pekovic seemed to fit right in with the kids at his cooking table as he needed as much assistance as they did in the kitchen.

It became clear to the young chefs that Pekovic puts forth the same focus and effort in the kitchen as he does on the court. However, additional practice in the kitchen wouldn't hurt.

When asked if he cooks at home or cooks often, he sheepishly said he did not. In fact, he said he never cooks and that Saturday was his first time.

However, he and his table of young chefs were successful in creating two delicious and diabetic-friendly recipes – potato skins and chicken chili.

“It’s been really great to hang out with the kids,” Pekovic said. “Even for me, I’ve never cooked before. I am enjoying this. Today has been fun.”

On the other side of the kitchen, Derrick Williams was busy cutting cilantro for the Asian meatballs and Asian salad his group was creating. And for Derrick, Saturday’s cooking event reminded him of how he would have enjoyed hanging out with professional athletes as a kid. So for him to share the same time with the kids was rewarding.

“I didn’t really get the opportunity to be here before, with NBA players or whatever sports stars, when I was younger,” Williams said. “It’s a big deal for all these kids here and they’re pretty happy. So as long as they are happy, I’m happy. We’re all kids here. I was just in their spot a few years ago. I still remember it to this day. It’s a great experience for me as well as them.”

Williams confessed he was not an experienced cook himself, but he knows how important it is to maintain a healthy diet and to start at a young age.

“You want to be healthy,” he said. “You have to eat right. If you eat bad you’re going to crash at the end of the day. You don’t want to feel tired and fatigued. You want to feel healthy and live until you are 80, 90, or 100 years old. You want to start eating healthy now, especially when you are little.”

Also lending a hand in the kitchen was Malcolm Lee. Like his teammates, Lee isn’t as savvy in the kitchen when he and Williams venture to the grocery store together in search for the proper food.

“I have a pretty good feel of what I like to eat,” Williams said. “I know what's bad for me and I know what's good for me, so I kind of go to the grocery store by myself or with my teammates like Malcolm. You just gotta try to stay healthy.”

The WAY-COOL Cooking School has been holding Cooking for a Cause with the Timberwolves and the Diabetes Association for five years. Chef Elliott takes pride in promoting healthy cooking efforts, especially to help those living with diabetes.

“We always try to promote healthy cooking and showing different ways you can make the average recipe a little bit healthier. It has been a great way for us to get some information about the school out there and get more kids to come in, and it’s something that is close to my heart. I have two parents who have diabetes, so I am very familiar with it. I also have friends that have had juvenile diabetes so it is something I feel strong about myself.”

For more information about the WAY-COOL Cooking School visit www.WayCoolCookingSchool.com.


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