UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonia holds up a strawberry cheesecake he baked in his apartment. Also this year he is preparing a Thanksgiving feast for his teammates.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Otito Ogbonia’s hands, beaten by years of blocking sleds and fighting offensive linemen, drop delicate puddles of fresh strawberry puree into a creamy white batter. Relative to the massive hands of the UCLA Defensive Lineman, the spoon Ogbonia is holding looks like something used to feed babies. He pulls it through the red puddles and swirls them gently to create a whimsical pattern. Ogbonia pauses to inspect his work.
When Ogbonia isn’t munching up offensive linemen, he’s here, leaning over the kitchen counter of his studio apartment in a UCLA dorm, or peering into the half-sized oven to check out his latest culinary creations.
The Senior Nose Tackle is UCLA’s top chef.
What began as a youthful curiosity is now a deep passion for Ogbonia. He orders spices from Indonesia to master cinnamon rolls, rewrites and rewrites his own recipes in his pursuit of perfection, and then delivers his dishes to teammates, coaches and coaches at UCLA to unite the team through a language that is £ 300 heavy men speak and understand even more fluently than football: food.
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