HYATTSVILLE, Md. (BVM) – Tobias Dorzon didn’t have his life figured out by the time he left high school in 2003. Although he had played football, it took an outside influence, the birth of his first daughter Riley, for Dorzon to decide to go back to college. This decision ultimately led him down a path to FCS college football, the Canadian Football League and even the NFL. However, athletics isn’t what Dorzon is known for today. Instead, the former gridiron athlete is now a world-famous chef, owning a couple of restaurants in the Washington D.C. area as well as being the head chef for Thirteen in Houston, a spot owned by NBA star James Harden.
So how did this football player become one of the most successful chefs and restaurateurs in America? Well, the story is as complex as one would imagine.
Poor grades in high school didn’t allow Dorzon, whose given name is actually Bloi-Dei (pronounced blau-dee like rowdy), to pursue college upon his original graduation. However, with the birth of his daughter and the start of new responsibilities, Dorzon decided to go back to school and Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania where he returned to the football field.
At Lackawanna, Dorzon impressed enough to earn a scholarship opportunity at Jackson State University. During his two seasons with the Tigers, Dorzon played well rushing for 250 yards and two touchdowns as a junior in 2008 before an ankle injury ended his season in six games. As a senior in 2009, Dorzon did slightly better, rushing 478 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.
This earned Dorzon an opportunity to try out for the NFL after going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft. He worked out with the Tennessee Titans, but spent the 2011 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following his short stint in the NFL, Dorzon went up north to Canada where he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2011.
The 5-foot-8, 197-pound running back was initially just a practice squad member, but following an injury to starting running back Chris Garrett, saw the field in 2012. During the campaign, Dorzon played and started three games, rushing for 108 yards on 24 carries (4.5 yards per carry) while catching one pass for 10 yards.
After two years in the CFL, Dorzon left and followed his new passion: cooking. In 2012, Dorzon attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Washington during his football offseason and discovered he had a love for it. This wasn’t all that surprising as his father, Edwin, was a chef for 50 years after coming to the United States from Liberia and even owned a D.C.-based restaurant of his own named Kendejah.
With his new career path, it took some good fortune, and football, for Dorzon to get his cooking career off the ground. In 2014, then-Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss reached out to Dorzon about becoming a client, the first major name the chef ever had. Once Moss joined on, other Washington players soon followed and Dorzon suddenly had a surge of interest.
That same year, Dorzon launched his first business venture, a food truck named the Victory Truck after his company Victory Chefs. Since then, Dorzon’s star has only grown as he has become a caterer for many famous celebrities, appeared on numerous Food Network shows and even opened his own restaurant in the DC area called Huncho House earlier this year.
— Chef Tobias Dorzon (@TobiasDorzon) August 16, 2022
A proud alumnus of Jackson State, Dorzon has returned to the campus multiple times and has even met with current Tigers coach Deion Sanders. While he may be better known for his knife skills than his football ability, Dorzon has found a cultural center point between both athletics and cooking which should keep him squarely in the spotlight for years to come.