The food at the Vanderbilt athletic department is so good, the athletes believe it is prepared by magic. And it is.
He might be the most publicized chef in all of athletics, and he is definitely tops when the subject is collegiate training tables. Even Sports Illustrated, in its 2002 Football Preview edition, said so.
Majid (Magic) Noori has been nationally recognized at various times in his career. Sports Illustrated recognized his Hendrix Room athletic dining facility as the nation’s best after naming Vanderbilt’s dining staff the best in the SEC. CBS This Morning featured Magic and the Hendrix Room in a live segment and he has been featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Sports Illustrated for Women. Noori was also a key member of the Vanderbilt Dining Services team that won the national Ivy Award for overall excellence in 1998.
Majid has been making the Commodores happy since arriving in 1990. He came to Vanderbilt after working as an executive chef.
A former swimmer himself, Majid holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and sports science and understands his role. He knows that some student-athletes are working to gain weight. Others want to shed some pounds. He provides a diet opportunity for both on a daily basis.
He also understands that the training table is more than food. “Our staff smiles,” he says. “I want the players to know they have friends here. When the players are coming in, I want to join them out front...ask how they are doing and see if they have any special requests. Sometimes someone will tell us about a favorite home dish and we will do our best to provide it within the next few days.”
That touch of home cookin’ is accented with careful attention to food industry trends and the latest nutrition news Noori receives from classes he attends and professional journals he reads. His food line is always changing, adding a made-to-order shake station or omlette bar here or a new menu item there.
That type of attitude is never more apparent than with Magic’s Victory Meals. When the football team wins, Noori rewards them on Monday with seafood and filet mignon.
He feeds nearly 300 hungry student-athletes six days a week and can’t wait to get to work each day.
“These are special people to me, so I treat them special,” says Magic. “I have an athletic background myself so I know how they are feeling. When it’s time for them to eat, I want to give them that extra lift.