Sports

October 29, 2013

Driver vs. player: Danica Patrick, DeMarcus Ware go head-to-head to help food bank

The North Texas Food Bank collects $25,000 in donations.

DeMarcus Ware sweated like he was going after a quarterback.

But he was only trying to crack an egg.

The Cowboys’ defensive end no doubt felt the pressure Tuesday morning in a cooking contest against NASCAR driver and cooking aficionado Danica Patrick at AT&T Stadium.

Ware was trying to whip up an omelet, veggies and toast and jelly for a breakfast to match up against Patrick’s spinach-and-pepper scrambled eggs and cinnamon French toast. Both threw in a berry smoothie.

“Oh, it’s going to be like that?” Ware said, flashing a toothy smile as he yelled over at his competition.

Who won?

They both did, declared the judges, who included Cowboys executive chef Orazio La Manna. But that didn’t count the biggest winner — the North Texas Food Bank, which collected a $25,000 donation from donors, including Nationwide Insurance, which has endorsement deals with Patrick and Ware.

“It’s just raising awareness, letting them know that help is out there,” Ware said, praising the work of the food bank, which helps serve the underfed. The Nationwide Insurance Foundation said it is donating 75,000 meals to the food bank.

Patrick, who has appeared on an episode of Food Network’s Chopped, said breakfast is her favorite meal, and she wanted to showcase healthy options.

“Because if it’s healthy, you can eat more of it!” she said to cheers from a handful of student “helpers” who pitched in to help her and Ware.

La Manna, the Cowboys’ chef since 2010, said he could tell Patrick knew her stuff.

“She’s done it before, and she was really, really conscientious,” he said. “I noticed her wiping her plates to make sure they were clean, just like a professional. I’m sure she watches a lot of cooking shows and cooks a lot at home. You can tell. She was very, very comfortable up there.”

As for Ware? Well, he said he cooks for his kids at home, so he’s got that.

“Hey, he was game. He was game,” La Manna said with a smile. “He struggled a little bit at the beginning, but he definitely pulled through and did a great job. They both did. And it’s a great cause. It was fun.”

Both Patrick and Ware will be back at their day jobs on Sunday. Patrick is racing in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, and Ware hopes to be recovered from a leg muscle strain in time to help the Cowboys in a home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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