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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Figure skater Brian Boitano always dreamed of opening his own restaurant even while on a strict diet of salads and potatoes when he was competing.
Boitano still doesn't own a restaurant, but thousands will watch him cook in his forthcoming television show, "What Would Brian Boitano Make?".
"Still to this day, people think I have a restaurant. I never opened it because of my touring and skating schedules over the years have been tough to deal with," he said.
While athletes have served as spokesmen for food, beverages even kitchen gadgets, it is rare they are touted as chefs.
Boitano is no stranger before the camera; he won an Emmy award for his skating role in the HBO movie "Carmen on Ice"
Nearly two decades later, the California native hopes his cooking show, which premieres on Sunday, will showcase him in a different light, expanding on his skating fan-base.
"We came up with this humorous format which combines lifestyle and cooking." said the 45 year-old, who won the men's figure skating title at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Each episode features Boitano cooking in his San Francisco home for guests ranging from an all-girl roller derby team to his handyman's supper club.
Since his Olympic win, Boitano honed his cooking skills through trial and error. "I had the energy and willingness to explore," he said.
In defense of criticisms that he's not a trained chef, Boitano said, "I could relate more to people who watch television than someone who went to cooking school."
Reporting by Richard Leong, editing by Paul Casciato