Shannon Allen, Ray's wife, talks about cooking

Mon, Jan 16

In a matter of days, Shannon Allen -- wife to Boston Celtic superstar Ray Allen -- will give birth to the couple's fourth son.

And then, the clock starts. In March, she'll be back on camera, hosting her popular cooking show, "Pre-Game Meal," where she entertains the region's most favorite athletes and gets them chopping and cooking all in the name of good health.

The show airs regionally on Comcast's SportsNet, and she's hoping that the show soon might go national. For now, it airs Saturdays in half-hour segments and she turns all the food we love noshing on while watching football and basketball and makes it figure-friendly.

"I'm just helping to inspire soccer moms, sports fans, people in general to eat just a little bit healthier with the help of my friends," she said. "I really rely on friends of mine that are professional chefs and professional athletes to get their wisdom. I'm just hoping to share and inspire."

Have you always been a healthy eater and healthy cooker?

"No, I was the person that everybody would cook for in the family. You know how it is in big families: food was about comfort for us. But when Ray and I started dating like 20 years ago, I realized how important food was to his life, and that food was really a tool for him. I started meeting with Ray's team nutritionist at the beginning of every season and asking, 'What's his body fat? How much does he weigh? What's his BMI? What does he need less of? What does he need more of?' And then I'd try to incorporate that into our meal planning."

What made you want to do a cooking show?

"In 2008, we got traded to Boston, and I hit the ground running and shot a pilot in my kitchen. We ended up having a crazy year: Ray won the championship, our 4-year-old -- at the time he was 17-months-old -- was diagnosed with hyper diabetes, we got married and then I found out I was pregnant with our third son. I pitched it at three networks, and we sold it to Comcast Sports Network in Boston."

And it looks like you take food that we love and make it better for us …

"Absolutely. That's my process. I think about what do people eat for game food. When people are getting ready to watch a doubleheader or what they're going to make for the Super Bowl. Food and sports go hand-in-hand. You need good food if you're going to perform and you're going to play sports and you want to eat comfort food if you're watching and sharing with others."

You've also gotten some great athletes on the show so far …

"I wanted people to really get a chance to connect with the people they love, Like, someone like a Wes Welker. You know his stats, but you have no idea what this guy is about. I thought if we could prepare something together and then sit down over a meal, fans will really get an opportunity to know who these guys are and kids will glean such a serious kitchen wisdom that they'll get a chance to know people they call heroes."

So is this why Ray's a world champion? The pre-game meals you make him at home?

"I wish that I could claim that! I can't. He's a sportsman. Ray is all about diet and exercise, and he's my greatest inspiration. At 36, he's still one of the fastest guys up and down the floor. His workout regimen has gotten more intense as he's gotten older and he's just as productive now, if not more productive, than he's ever been. He inspires me every day to live better and to eat better."