Last month we saw the Black Rabbits serving breakfast for the less-fortunate, and since then they have been cooking up a storm - this time at the Vive Cooking School at The Cannery in Rosebery.
A major component of the Black Rabbits is for younger members of the squad to learn new life skills - one of them being the ability to cook for themselves.
The likes of Campbell Graham, Junior Tatola, Liam Knight and Corey Allan were on hand to get amongst the pots and pans to set them up for life.
With a number of classes so far, Rabbitohs Head Dietitian Ryan Pinto is looking to ensure that the young crop is able to whip up healthy meals for themselves, which he believes will not only give them valuable skills in the kitchen but also improve their overall wellbeing.
“One of the main things that we wanted our players to learn was how to cook and feed themselves whilst they are training,” Pinto explained.
“And we wanted to get them to physically do it - from that way they can replicate it at home - it’s life skills really.
“A lot of these guys either come from the bush or have been in the system for a while so they haven’t really learned how to cook, so we teach them how to train and we teach them how to lift weights and now we’re looking to teach them how to cook and build their life skills.”
It’s one thing to perform on the field - we know they can do that - but in the kitchen…?
“They went okay,” he laughed.
“I was surprised with a few of them, with guys like Adam Doueihi who lives at home, he was pretty good in the first class.
“I think the biggest thing is exposing them to a whole new world, and when it comes to this side of things it’s just getting them to practice it.
“It’s actually really fun. It’s a whole different type of training but it works quite well.”
Head Chef at Vive Cooking School, Jodie Tan, was impressed with the way the squad members not only handled themselves on the day but with their ability to quickly adapt and put their new skills into practice.
“It’s about introducing them to cooking and eating better,” Jodie explained.
“They don’t have to do everything from scratch, they can go out and buy things and a few boys were asking plenty of questions. But it’s just about knowing the healthy alternatives to go with eating the right foods and helping them as athletes as well.
“The guys did really well and they cooked quite good, so I don’t know what they’re afraid of - they’re not cooking at home but they definitely should be.
“I think I got through to them and they can take some things on board. They weren’t dragging their feet and they were happy and want to be here.
“They did better than me! I had a few problems with my pan but they outdid me so that’s all I can ask for.”
Black Rabbits Tackle the Kitchen
Junior Tatola, who was a prominent figure in the NRL side last year, was eager to be able to add to his repertoire of meal plans.
“I cook at home a bit but it’s good to know how to learn to make a few new dishes,” Tatola explained.
“We came two weeks ago so it was the second time here today. It was a good experience for us especially being younger boys, I think we’ll stop ordering Uber Eats from and starting cooking a bit more now!”
It was clear to see who the star of the show was - forward Liam Knight - who acted as Jodie's assistant in the early stages of the class.
But despite his larrikin-like approach, Knight was fully aware of the benefits of the day and was heavily involved in the preparations and creation of the squad’s beef stir-fry.
“It was pretty fun. Me and Dean Britt ran amock, I’m not too sure what we were doing but we ended up alright,” Knight laughed.
“I like cooking. I haven’t got much variety in the kitchen but I cook simple things well and it’s good to get a bit of feedback and help.”
After his performance at the front of the class, Knight’s teammates believed the 24-year-old could make his debut in front of the camera - with the name ‘A Knight in the Kitchen’ being tossed up as a possible running title for a cooking show post-football.
“Me? That’s a pretty big wrap, I don’t know about that,” he laughed.
“Maybe it’d be fun, but I’m not the best cook. The boys are working behind the scenes trying to get me on there. Give me a start, who wants to sign me up?”