Opposing offenses know senior defensive lineman Isame Faciane can wreak havoc on the football field.
He has a knack for chasing down quarterbacks, smothering running backs and even blocking the occasional field goal – which he did Oct. 5 to help give the Panthers a last-second victory over Southern Miss.
But the Louisiana native is also a force in the kitchen, whipping up authentic Louisiana cuisine for himself, his teammates and his family back home.
Faciane hopes to play in the NFL, but he has another dream when his football career comes to an end — opening up his own restaurant.
RECIPE FOR A DREAM
Faciane has drawn interest from NFL scouts over the past several months and he hopes to join former FIU teammates T.Y. Hilton and Anthony Gaitor.
“Football is a limited thing. I might have a chance to further my career and if I do get a chance I’m going to make the most of it,” Faciane says. “But once you get to the next level, there’s no promise that you’re going to be there more than two or three years.”
That’s why Faciane is improving his cooking technique and knowledge of the restaurant business in pursuit of a degree in hospitality at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
“The School has helped me learn how to manage a restaurant, what it takes to run a kitchen and the people you need to have in the process,” Faciane says.
Like cooking a killer jambalaya or gumbo — his favorite dish to cook — Faciane acknowledges that starting a career in the restaurant business requires the right ingredients and the right process.
“Everyone is part of a team, just like in football. Everyone has to play their part for everything to run smoothly in the kitchen,” Faciane says.
GRANDMA KNOWS BEST
Faciane learned to cook through his grandmother, Delores. He would shadow her in the kitchen when she cooked for the family on occasions both large and small, inspiring him to learn a thing or two from her before he left for college.
“Everyone goes to her when they need to learn how to make something,” Faciane says. “Seeing her in the kitchen and loving her food made me want to learn how she cooks so I could do it myself.”
Bringing a taste of Louisiana to Miami has helped Faciane feel closer and more connected to home while studying and playing football. His time in South Florida has opened him up a whole new world of tastes and cultures.
“I never had black beans or curry sauce before coming here. Part of what I want to do is incorporate new ingredients into the Louisiana, Cajun background,” Faciane said. “I want to find different ingredients and give it a Louisiana twist.”
Is his cooking on par with his grandmother’s? Not yet, he says. But he’s trying to get there. He’s even earned some of her praise when he returns home and cooks from the family.
“Every time I call her and tell her about cooking stuff she thinks I’m trying to outdo her,” he laughs. “She thinks she’s the best at all of it. I told her I’m gonna come for her one day; I know I’m not there yet, but one day I’ll be at her level.”