Alvin Powell, a 328-pound offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks in the late 1980s, needed to drop 30 pounds.
George Sybrant helped him.
Ex-wide receiver Paul Skansi requested an expanded salad bar.
Sybrant accommodated him.
Sybrant - “G” to many of the players - is the Seahawks’ executive chef. Therefore, he’s in charge of feeding the 80 players, 16 coaches and other staffers when training camp opens in Cheney.
Tuesday’s first supper: Porterhouse steak, Hawaiian chicken breast, turkey noodle soup, white rice, oriental vegetables, baked potato and salad bar, a special diet plate. And much more.
The 59-year-old Sybrant isn’t to be confused with Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi.
“I’m a working chef,” says Sybrant, whose days begin at 5 a.m. and end at 11 p.m. “The players kind of look up to me as a father image. A lot of ‘em appreciate what I’m trying to do and have told me so.”
This is Sybrant’s 11th camp with the Hawks. As far as the menu goes, this one will be much different than No. 1. Steak, in general, is out. Chicken is in. Ice cream? The players can scream all they want, but they probably aren’t going to get much rocky road. Cookies are OK. Fruit juices and energy drinks are a must. Soda pop is discouraged.
“We’re more nutrition conscious by a long shot,” Sybrant said. “We used to serve steak or prime rib every 3-4 days. Now we serve it 5-6 times the whole camp. We’ve kind of evolved over the years, changing with the trends of the athletes’ wants and needs.”
Sybrant plans the menu with assistance from a team of doctors, trainers, nutritionists and the strength coach.
Until mid-August, Sybrant’s office will be Tawanka Commons at Eastern Washington University. The Seahawks have hired about 45 people from EWU’s food service staff to assist during camp.
Like the coaches, one of Sybrant’s goals is to get to the younger players early.
“At our first minicamp, they’ll come through line and jump in and eat a lot before practice,” Sybrant said. “If those guys are having problems, the trainers will say, ‘Go see George.’ I’ll walk through line and show them what they should be eating. Then I’ll just eye ‘em and monitor them.”
Some players need to lose weight. Some need to maintain. Some need to gain.
“We’ve never lost one yet,” Sybrant said. “One guy working really hard is Sam Adams, and Cortez (Kennedy) works hard at it. These are the guys that have to and I know they’re working hard. I like to treat them sometimes and encourage them.
“On the other side, we do have fellas that need to keep their weight up, especially with two-a-days and the hot weather. Reconstituting liquids and getting electrolytes into them is important. It’s an education process. The guys who’ve been around, like ‘Tez, know what they’re supposed to do.”
Sybrant, too, is a veteran. A certified chef and a graduate of Washington State University’s hotel and restaurant management program, Sybrant has owned and operated restaurants and catering services. He’s fed construction crews working in remote areas and worked for the Hilton and Ramada hotel chains.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: BY THE NUMBERS Executive chef George Sybrant is in his 11th year of feeding players (80 this year) and assorted staffers and coaches at Seahawks training camps. He kept track of the food and drink consumed at the training camp in 1992. The numbers: 3,500 pounds of turkey and chicken. 1,500 pounds of fish 800 pounds of cheese 1,000 loaves of bread 7,500 sandwich buns 8,500 pounds of fresh fruit 2,000 pounds of watermelon 1,000 pounds of oranges and apples 800 pounds of bananas 1,000 pounds of melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.) 6,000 pounds of fresh vegetables 60 cases of lettuce 500 pounds of Walla Walla sweet onions 16-ounce beverages - 38,000. 10,000 cookies.