As the personal chef for a key Bengals wide receiver, Stephani Shepherd-Syfax has a big job on her hands—keeping the 6-foot-4, 200 pound A.J. Green fueled. But the former college athlete and MasterChef competitor has never shied away from a challenge.
How did you land this job? I’ve always been a go-getter. One day I decided I wanted to cook for A.J. Green. I contacted him on social media and sent a photo of my food. I told him what I could do for him, and he believed in me. I met him and his girlfriend Miranda, who’s his wife now, and made them a dish.
What guidelines do you use to feed a professional athlete? I did a lot of research before I even contacted him, just to make sure that I would do the job right. I am an ex-college athlete myself, so I know what works for athletes’ bodies. It’s a lot of personal experience and continuing education.
How would you describe your cooking? I love to do what I call soul food. Now mine isn’t the typical soul food that people think of—fried chicken or macaroni and cheese—soul food is really just anything that you make your own and you cook out of passion.
What does a typical meal for Green look like? I like to use healthy, complex carbs, very lean protein, green vegetables, and I always do raw vegetables and fruits at some point in the meal. He really loves seafood—like crab legs and shrimp—so I do a lot of seafood for him.