Chef Collin Hartman dishes on life in the kitchen #iubb

Some mornings, Collin Hartman eats steak for breakfast.

Other days, he’ll marinate the meat for hours, or portion enough to share with teammates.

“One time,” Hartman said, “we were sitting in my apartment and I looked at Josh Newkirk and I was like, ‘Josh, you want to grill steaks tonight? He was like, ‘Dude, have I ever said no to your cooking?'”

Hartman has long held visions of one day opening his own restaurant. This summer, he received a taste for what that endeavor may require.

The Indiana senior forward is fresh off a 120-hour internship with Topos 403, a greek restaurant on North Walnut street in Bloomington. There, Hartman served in an assistant manager’s role, while occasionally stepping into the kitchen to assist with food preparation.

He also worked the Topos booth at last month’s Taste of Bloomington event, committing himself to a summer’s worth of culinary experiences.

“It was fun to work and do the dirty work kind of thing,” Hartman said. “I kind of do that on the court most of the time. It was fun to have an actual job.”

When IU’s fall semester begins later next month, Hartman’s job, among other roles, will be to provide senior leadership to an Indiana basketball program pressing forward in the wake of graduations by guards Yogi Ferrell and Nick Zeisloft and forward Max Bielfeldt.

That’s a responsibility Hartman is already growing accustomed to during summer workouts, and also while assisting as a counselor during the various IU basketball summer camps that have filled the Cook Hall practice courts recently.

With one eye on the present, Hartman is also looking to the future and his life beyond basketball.

Could that one day include a proprietorship in the restaurant business? Hartman’s All-American Steakhouse, perhaps?

Hartman is hoping to have a smorgasbord of options.

“I was looking at business (for my internship), running a restaurant, but I also know running a restaurant is one of the most competitive businesses you could get into,” Hartman said. “So I felt it would be good to be exposed to one of the most competitive areas in business to prepare myself for everything else, even if I decided not to or decided to do that route. I think it was good to see both sides.”

Hartman first revealed his affinity for the culinary world during an appearance on Tom Crean’s weekly radio show in January, explaining that he’s not averse to mixing and matching meals.

That includes eating steak for breakfast.

“I do not discriminate against food,” Hartman said then to a room of laughs.

When he’s not “dead tired” from workouts, or busying completing coursework, Hartman says he looks to cook at home. Burgers and chicken provide easy options for his busy schedule, while weekends offer more time to spend on his dishes of choice.

Hartman raves about a Cuban-based recipe for a mango steak sauce he made from scratch — “It was so good,” he said — and also makes his own alfredo and marinara sauces.

“When Troy (Williams) was here, we would do big seafood and streak nights combined,” Hartman said. “He’d make lobster tails and shrimp and all this stuff, and I’d grill steaks and we’d just have a feast. It was a good time. Good eatin’.”

Hartman says Bloomington staple Janko’s Little Zagreb headlines his list of top restaurants in town, though Uptown Cafe, Malibu Grill and Scholars Inn also receive positive reviews.

But in his mind, nothing beats the satisfaction of a good, homecooked meal prepared by Chef Collin.

“I love cooking,” Hartman said. “It’s cheaper 98 percent of the time, unless you go to McDonald’s, but then it’s not as good. I think it tastes better when you make it because you put your work into it.”


  1. “Chef Collin”, what a totally cool student-athlete! This story puts the human face on one of our idolized players! I wish him well, whatever he does in the future! What a great kid!

  2. Great insight into a good kid. It’s especially refreshing to hear that his although his internship steered him to initial placement in ‘middle management,’ he seems to have enjoyed most his time working ‘back of the house.’ If you want to learn to run any business, start at the level of the people doing the ‘heavy lifting,’ there’s more to learn there than starting with management. Colin is starting off right – learn about food first, then maximizing profit later.

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