Have you tried chef Nicholas Goff's apricot-glazed Chilean sea bass? Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said it's the best sea bass he's ever had, and health-conscious Ray Rice, who's always looking for clean and lean sources of protein, loves it, too. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recommends the cranberry chicken, and defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano "basically likes anything Italian," says Tenille Moore, director of food service for Baltimore Ravens.
Moore and Goff head up the team that feeds the Ravens, week in and week out, from the start of training season into the postseason. Both are employees of the Classic Catering People, the exclusive caterers of the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, the 200,000 square-foot facility known affectionately as The Castle.
Meals are served at the facility Monday through Saturday, although the work week begins for most on a Tuesday. Sort of. It's really more accurate to say that meals are served every day except game day. So sometimes Tuesday is a Wednesday or a Monday. It's what Moore calls "football world."
"It's still confusing," says Moore. "I've given up trying to explain it to my husband."
For the Ravens players, coaching staff and personnel, the long season is measured out not only by a 17-week home-and-away schedule but also by the weekly patterns of life in Owings Mills. There is always a hot buffet, a pasta bar and a mammoth salad bar, but Wednesday, for instance, is the ever-popular Grill Day, when Ray Lewis gets the turkey burgers he likes so much, and Friday is always a big hit with wings and pizza, always from Ravens sponsor Pizza John's.
Of course Ray Lewis, or anyone else at Owings Mills, can have a turkey burger any time he wants one. And Wednesday Grill Day doesn't always on Wednesday. Or does it? Moore gave up trying to explain "football world" to me, too.
The food-service team at Owings Mills serves breakfast Monday through Saturday, lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Thursday. While only the senior coaching staff and might show up for Monday breakfast, anywhere from 150 to 200 typically file in for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday, when the Ravens hold their full regular-season practices.
The Classic Catering staff at The Castle also cater meetings and events at the facility. But the team's travel meals — think steak and lobster — are prepared by Classic at its own nearby catering facility and delivered directly to Delta Air Lines.
A graduate of the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University Moore says that she assumed she's end up working in a restaurant. And she did for a few years. "But this fell in my lap," Moore says. "I've loved it ever since." Moore, whose son Tyler is six months old, says she especially likes not having to work brutal late-night restaurant hours.
"The Ravens are a great organization to work for," Moore says.