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UNC Basketball: Tom Colicchio offers a hand in Matthew Mayer’s recruitment

The Top Chef host revels his UNC fandom.

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Fans have gotten used to Armando Bacot using his Twitter account to try and get players to play with him at Carolina. He’s been pretty successful, helping the football team land a recent Ohio State transfer, and as we’ve explained he’s turned his attention to Matthew Mayer:

Our own Douglas Valentine decided that if Bacot really wanted a player to the point he would publicly lobby for him, it would be worth writing a post that examined the impact he would have. It’s great work, as usual, and if you haven’t had a chance to check it out you should because he does a great job tempering expectations for Mayer.

That said, it appears that Bacot isn’t the only one who would be happy to see Mayer suit up with the Tar Heels. To that end, out of the blue Tom Collocchio saw this wonderful piece by Douglas, and added his own enticement:

If you’re not familiar with the Top Chef star, he’s a long time host of the Bravo super hit foot competition show. You can read his Bravo bio here, needless to say in a world full of celebrity chefs Colicchio is at the top of the list. Chances are your favorite chef has passed by Top Chef at some point to compete, meaning he’s at the forefront of a lot of what’s hot in the culinary scene.

He’s also very passionate about social issues, working to help solve hunger in the United States as well as a big advocate for helping the restaurant industry as it grappled with COVID-19. Clearly a star and a good guy, but the questions remains, why on earth is he so invested in Carolina Basketball?

First off, a quick Google search involving him and UNC shows that it isn’t the first time he’s tweeted about being a fan of the squad

Note the first response here is from fellow chef Andrew Zimmerman saying he’s been able to do this.

Ultimately, though, it doesn’t answer how he’s been a UNC fan. Well, the answer, as it usually is with most fans of Carolina, is Dean Smith.

Back in 2020, Colicchio was interviewed on the Pack Your Knives Podcast. If you cut to the last four minutes, he starts explaining his friendship with the former Carolina coach. It turns out that Smith would constantly eat at Colicchio’s places, as well as leaving him plenty of tickets to games. There’s even a funny anecdote in there about when Smith saw where the chef was sitting during the UNC-Notre Dame game in the ‘92-’93 season and was mortified. The way Colicchio speaks of Smith shows it wasn’t just a casual acquaintance, and that sort of friendship is going to keep that fandom strong.

So not too many schools can offer the services of one of the best chefs in the country, here’s hoping it works. Also, can we get Colicchio to Chapel Hill for some games? I get the feeling he’d be a welcome guest!