"I do it because it looks nice," Bryant says. "And then the guys put guacamole all over it."
Bryant was hired in 1999, when chefs were expected to satisfy players' culinary whims, no matter how lowbrow. "They were so used to telling the bat boy to go get them a Whopper," Bryant says. "I came in with a pizza machine and a hot dog roller. It looked like 7-Eleven."
Now team chefs are charged with making nutritionists' suggestions palatable. "As teams continue to look for every possible advantage, many clubs have hired a team chef to prepare healthy meals for the players," MLB spokesman Matt Bourne explains. Although Bryant still describes his repertoire as "corn dogs to caviar," he's been instructed to lay off the deep-fryer.
During a losing stretch, Bryant recalls, Ken Griffey, Jr. ordered up Ezell's chicken for the team - but attributed the dish to Bryant's kitchen.
"He told them that I made it, so I got written up," he says with a laugh.
A diehard Mariners fan who landed his job by sneaking food into the Kingdome clubhouse, Bryant never refuses Griffey's requests. "If he gives me notice in the second inning that he wants to give the guys lobster, I'm on the phone with the wholesaler, saying 'dude, give me all your lobster'."
But Griffey isn't the only guest with menu-writing privileges. Players know if they tell Bryant what they're craving, whether it's a steak sandwich or chicken wings, he'll do his best to have it ready for the post-game feast.
"After every single game, it's Thanksgiving dinner," Bryant says. "Every single time."
When the Yankees in 2009 moved into the new Yankee Stadium, the clubhouse dining room was significantly upgraded. According to Bryant, a designated staffer mans a prime rib carving station every night. He warns the team shouldn't expect such a luxurious spread when playing in Seattle.
"My company now is doing the visiting side," Bryant says. "So when we're having prime rib, they can have pot roast."