By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping they’ve got a secret weapon off the court, announcing on Wednesday that Twin Cities chefs Gavin Kaysen and Andrew Zimmern will be creating customized food for their players.

“We are doing something that is a first of its kind,” Kaysen said, “allowing us to capture each player’s nutritional needs and cook for them in a way they have never seen before.”

Kaysen is the chef and owner of Spoon and Stable and Demi in Minneapolis and Bellecour in Wayzata; Zimmern is a national cable TV personality known for his show “Bizarre Foods,” his company AZ Canteen has concession stands at Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium.

The business partners have also teamed up for a sports team-focused food company called KZ Provisioning. They already provide food for Minnesota Wild players.

Because of the Timberwolves partnership with Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, Kaysen said they’ll be using Mayo’s nutritionists as well as the team’s head of Basketball Performance and Technology, Dr. Robby Sikka.

“We are able to track and calculate all of [the players’] needs through technology, which then allows us to understand how to better fuel them for the next practice, game, etc.” said Kaysen.

Food and nutrition has become increasingly important to professional and college athletic teams, and coaches understand how food can function as fuel and as medicine. Teams are also bringing on prominent local chefs, because providing great flavor is key to getting the players to get on board with the culinary program. The Minnesota Vikings recently hired a local chef to run the food program at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

Related: The Sports-Food Philosophy Of Vikings’ TCO Performance Center

“This is the first pro sports team of any kind in the USA to team award-winning culinarians with a doctor, nutritionist, trainers, coaches, an outside expert (Mayo), all in service of their players,” Zimmern told WCCO. “It’s real leadership from the Wolves from the Wolves front office.

According to Kaysen, KZ Provisioning will be in the practice facility everyday cooking for the team, providing breakfast and lunch, as well as offering cooking classes for the team and their families.

Related: Timberwolves Press Release

“We will know their bodies better than they well, strength comes from so much – a good diet, good sleep and nutrition,” Kaysen said.

KZ Provisioning Chef Ryan Stechschulte will function as the team chef for both the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Twin Cities Chef David Fhima will continue running the culinary program for fans inside Target Center.

Jason DeRusha