It might have been the Chef Boyardee pizza kit he received from a grade school friend as a birthday present, or the cookbook his mom gave him with the peanut brittle recipe he couldn’t wait to try. Or, maybe, it was the “bologna-banger” sandwiches — an original recipe — he loved to whip up at lunchtime.
When Glenn Lyman’s love affair with the kitchen began isn’t clear, but it is unmistakable.
“I cooked in high school for my friends and our dates before dances,” said Lyman, Class of 1990. “In college, I’d leave campus and go to Dorothy Lane Market and just look around.”
The culinary arts, however, weren’t an immediate career path for the communication management graduate. Lyman spent more than a decade working in sales — his first commission check, in fact, went to buy a gas grill. His kitchen time was limited to nights and weekends but, at the urging of his wife Lynda Kely Lyman ’90, that all changed in 2003 when he finally shifted gears and became a personal chef.
“It was the scariest thing I had ever done, but the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “I drove home the day I gave my notice
and felt free. It was incredible.”
Six months into his new endeavor, everything changed when he met with a young NBA rookie in his penthouse apartment — LeBron James.
“I cooked his first pregame meal of the preseason,” Lyman said.
Within days, the Cleveland native was the personal chef for the now four-time NBA Most Valuable Player — a position he held for five years.
The owner of GCooks, in Charlotte, North Carolina, has built an athlete client list that has included five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon and 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte.
While much has changed since he regularly grilled out on his porch in the UD student neighborhood, he said one thing has not — his passion for cooking.
“Looking back, this journey has been amazing, and I’m not done yet.”