Athlete's Cookbook: Henry Slade Tries a Tasty-as-Hell Carbonara


The England rugby star can tackle anything—except making pasta for his girlfriend. Can chef Kia Damon coach up his kitchen skills?

Last updated: 11 January 2021

Athlete's Cookbook is a video series that serves up quality kitchen time with a pro chef and a pro athlete.

Henry Slade is a tough guy on the rugby field. But at home, he's as sweet as can be. Case in point? He's looking to play chef for his girlfriend, Megan. She loves pasta—just not the way Henry makes it. But lucky for him, there's a culinary ringer ready to come in off the bench: "Athlete's Cookbook" host Kia Damon. The Brooklyn-based chef starts with the fundamentals, coaching Henry through a classic carbonara. All she asks for in return is some giggly Face Time with his new baby girl and a personal introduction to his cockapoo, Frank, the flouncy pup with the ponytail. Along the way, they reminisce about farm life, get real about mental health and conduct an experiment eating raw pasta (do not try at home). Watch the episode above, check out the recipe below and get cooking.

Athlete’s Cookbook: Henry Slade's Pasta Carbonara

Tasty-as-Hell Carbonara Ingredients for Four Servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 1½ cups diced pancetta
  • 1lb cavatappi pasta
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


  • Large pot
  • Sauté pan
  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon


Fill the pot with water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, sauté the pancetta in the pan over medium-high heat until it browns and the fat renders. Set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the instructions on the packaging. Save a quarter cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.

Add the pasta water, three quarters of the pecorino, and the egg yolks to the bowl and whisk together until blended and creamy. Whisk in the pancetta. Stir in the pasta until it is fully coated.

Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and top with the remaining pecorino.

More Food for Thought

For expert-backed guidance on nutrition, movement, mindset, recovery and sleep, check out the Nike Training Club App.

More Food for Thought

For expert-backed guidance on nutrition, movement, mindset, recovery and sleep, check out the Nike Training Club App.

Originally published: 3 December 2020

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