Forget those cutesy ice cream sandwiches made to look like a football, or balls on stick. Deflated or otherwise. Chips and dip? So banal. Food enthusiasts are not going to allow a sporting event to get in the way of taste. Why, even the NFL boasts a food event filled with homegrown food and drink to reflect and amplify the local culinary art of each of the franchise’s good-food roots. And further, as with most food events with top chefs, it’s all for a good cause; in this case to help support food banks that feed American’s hungry. Really, who better to punch up a party than world-class chefs presenting championship recipes? After all, we are talking about a bowl, right? And we all know what goes in a bowl is something to eat. So, this Examiner thinks we can all agree that it’s the food that put the super in the Super Bowl.
With that thought in mind, there still might be too many Super Bowl party fans who do not know about The Taste of the NFL: the premier food and wine tasting extravaganza at Super Bowl, billed as bringing “world-class recipes for food, fun and football” to the Superbowl XLIX. Besides those imposing Roman numerals, the Taste of the NFL brings an elevated sophistication to the sporting world’s most watched event. Think of the tasting as a “buffet gone gourmet.”
The Taste features a top chef from each of the 32 NFL team markets, paired with current or alumni NFL player from each team. Known as “The Party with a Purpose®,” Taste of the NFL raises awareness and financial support for food banks involved in hunger relief throughout America. The foodie event has donated more than $22 million dollars to help kick hunger since its inception in 1992. Proceeds from Taste of the NFL will benefit food banks in every NFL city.
This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Taste of the NFL event. The Taste will take place on Saturday, January 31, 2015, from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. entry for VIP and Corporate Table ticket holders) at the Westworld of Scottsdale, AZ. Attendees will enjoy a strolling dinner to sample outstanding food, paired with wines donated by Gallo Family Vineyards and the vintages personally selected by the chefs to pair with their Tasting recipe. Guests will have the opportunity to meet NFL greats, participate in silent and live auctions and end the night with live entertainment.
Who better than Food Star Andrew Zimmerman to host this year’s event? Always a star -of not only the “green carpet” as covered by this Examiner’s annual James Beard Awards coverage: (http://zoomdune.com/article/james-beard-awards-2014-sounds-of-the-ci…) Zimmerman, is the creator, host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods . He will co-host the Taste with talent Alyssa Milano.
Just don’t say “bizarre “ when referring to the Taste of the NFL top chefs and their gastronomic recipes.
To help celebrate the 24th anniversary of Taste of the NFL, this year’s Party with a Purpose, this Examiner is highlighting the outstanding chefs from the two competing Super Bowl teams – as in the football, sporting events teams. (See how easy it is to forget the Super Bowl is not all about food?!) For those too focused on the kale or quail – that would be the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. If choosing food champions, one would be hard-pressed not to select these same foodie-focused culinary capitals. It’s all working out so nicely…
The Taste of the NFL Chefs
For the fourth year in a row, Chef Steve DiFillippo will showcase his culinary talents at the star-studded event as he serves up his signature hand-rolled potato gnocchi with braised veal, beef, pork and tomato sauce with the assistance of NFL player representative, Matt Light at the Party with a Purpose®
This Examiner asked Chef Steve why he chose the hand-rolled gnocchi to serve. Was it a family heritage dish or a signature dish or local one? He said “The gnocchi is a regional Boston favorite and a popular dish in our restaurants.” He added, “Our gnocchi’s are like little pillows of heaven!” Awwww – culinary bliss! When asked where he sources the ingredients – meaning did chef and his team bring with them from Boston/New England or did the source locally in Arizona, and in true authentic, homegrown passion, he replied, “We shipping everything from Boston! (Even more Captain America superhero when one considers this was kinda’ happening the same time as Juno blizzard!) “We brought 7,000 gnocchis, 25 gallons of Bolognese and 25 pounds of grated cheese across the country – to serve the expected 1,000 attendees at the Taste!” And when asked does he host the Patriot players often at his Davios restaurants, he said, “Yes, all the time.” He’s enthusiastic and proud to note, “Matt Light and his family, Julian Edelman, Tedy Bruschi, Robert and Jonathan Kraft are friends and regulars, as well as Tom Brady and his wife, Gisele Bundchen . Chef Steve selected the William Hill Chardonnay as his wine pairing.
Patriots and food fans alike enjoy Chef Steve’s menu at Davios located at 75 Arlington St. Boston (Telephone: 617-357-4810.
A little background: Chef Steve DiFillippo is recognized as the consummate restaurateur. With his award-winning Davio’s brand firmly established in Boston and Philadelphia, (could we see an Eagles entry at some point?!) DiFillippo has, ahem, “tackled” a modern Italian restaurant in addition to a new venture in the city of Superbowls: Foxborough, Massachusetts. DiFillippo’s reach continues to expand as his locations continue to garner critical acclaim and destination status. DiFillippo is very involved in the community, serving on several non-profit boards and in 2008; he was inducted into the Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Chef DiFillippo’s season-long fundraising efforts will benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. Last year, they distributed 48 million pounds of food, enough to provide healthy meals to as many as 545,000 people.
“This amazing organization has raised over 22 million dollars over the years with one goal in mind – ending childhood hunger. I’m honored to be part of this event and to represent the AFC Champions, the New England Patriots this year at Super Bowl XLIX. Throughout the year, we work through various events at Davio’s to raise money for the kick hunger challenge, which culminates into one incredible evening… I’m sure that this year, will be one to remember.” Fans are encouraged to continue to lend their support by donating to Chef Steve DiFillipo’s restaurant’s fundraising page online at www.kickhungerchallenge.com.
For the celebrity Chef John Howie of Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar and former Seahawks standout Craig Terrill represented the defending world champions at the 24th Annual Taste of the NFL Party with his signature tortilla soup with shrimp-avocado ceviche relish.
Chef Howie’s season-long fundraising efforts will benefit the Seattle Food Lifeline, which provides 82,000 meals a day to local food assistance programs, and has created a sustainable approach to hunger throughout Seattle. “We’re excited to represent the Seattle Seahawks as they gear up for Super Bowl XLIX, but more importantly, we’re excited to help raise more awareness and money for food banks like the Seattle Food Lifeline through our efforts with the Taste of the NFL,” said Howie. Fans are encouraged to continue to lend their support by donating to Chef John Howie’s restaurant’s fundraising page online at www.kickhungerchallenge.com Chef Howie was the only chef out of reach for this feature. His team did send his head shot.
For the fifth year in a row, cast members from TLC The Cake Boss will be onsite to reveal an original cake creation and to mingle with guests. Chef Buddy and his brother in law and chef, Joey Faugno have resonance with this Examiner because I was a featured guest on the Cake Boss for a wicked plant creation at a NY botanic garden. I wanted a readily recognizable wicked plant – and the iconic Venus Fly Trap was first choice. Agreed. But furthermore, what chef Buddy and his team created with a “bouquet” of blossoms – from hydrangeas to lilies – was nothing short of astonishing
As a NY-based Food & Drink Examiner, there is pride in noting the top chefs representing the Big Apple – yet another iconic food emblem that hews to Gotham’s devotion to all things gourmet.
Speaking with award-winning master chef and restaurateur Drew Nieporent he proudly told this Examiner by phone from a rainy Arizona (ah, climate change…) that his restaurant empire has supported The Taste for 21 years – almost a pioneer in the history of the Super Bowl food event. He explained that both Nobu Fifty Seven and Tribeca Grill selected their featured recipes for two reasons: they represent the restaurants, naturally; with Chef Taku Sato’s sashimi tasting representative of Nobu’s acclaimed culinary culture patrimony.
Nieporent went on to explain that because Tribeca Grill’s Chef Kamaral Rose hails from St. Vincents in the US Virgin Islands, his Spicy Caribbean Seasoned Chowder with Jalepeno, is a natural. In terms of sourcing the ingredients, Nieporent said, “We have friends here in Arizona who helped us get the local produce, and peppers.” It’s good to be a player in the true, food network… When asked how the chefs selected the wines, Nieporent acknowledged that Gallo is the sponsor provider and the chefs chose from their offerings to marry with the recipe’s flavors.
When asked, he shared that his restaurants do host both Jets and Giants players and their families, including Curtis Martin, Freeman, and Eli. Asked which team he thought would win the Super Bowl – Nieporent chuckled and said, “It’s a toss up!!”
Chef Taku Sato’s Menu and Wine Pairing
Zuke Salmon Tataki with jalapeno dressing and Gallo Signature Series Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Nobu Fifty Seven
40 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
Chef Kamal Rose’s Menu and Wine Pairing
Spicy Caribbean Seafood Chowder and White Haven Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough
375 Greenwich St.
New York, NY 10013
Kamal Rose’s rise to executive chef of Tribeca Grill is an inspiring story of talent, persistence and hard work. As a child on St. Vincent and The Grenadines, he was encouraged to cook by his grandmother. Kamal moved to New York when he was 15 years old, and in his senior year of high school he got the opportunity to do an internship at Tribeca Grill.
Working his way through every station in the kitchen from garde manger and tournant to head of Banquets and then to sous chef, Kamal perfected his craft with focus and determination. In 2009, he won a $20,000 scholarship in a national cooking competition and also earned a diploma in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education.
Kamal’s work ethic, passion and leadership earned him a promotion to executive chef in the summer of 2012. At Tribeca Grill he oversees a close-knit team and shares the vision of his mentors, former head chef Stephen Lewandowski and restaurateur Drew Nieporent. His signature dishes reflect his Caribbean heritage, his travels and his desire to showcase local products. Kamal has cooked at many noteworthy events including the James Beard Foundation, Kristen Ann Carr Fund, City Harvest, and Share Our Strength.
Food fans can follow the food and drink action on social media #Kickhunger and at Twitter @TasteoftheNFL
Wayne Kostroski, 2010 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, is founder of the Taste of the NFL, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and dollars for hunger relief. Now entering its 24th year, the Taste of the NFL has distributed more than $15 million for local and national food banks across America. Kostroski founded the Taste of the NFL in 1992 while serving as chair of the Restaurant Committee for the Super Bowl XXVI Task Force. He created the TNFL’s first “Party with a Purpose®” that has since become a coveted event of Super Bowl weekend.
Since 1992, the Taste of the NFL (a 501c3 organization) has rallied the country’s top chefs and the NFL’s greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States. To date, Taste of The NFL’s programs and events have distributed more than $22 million to help feed the 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for assistance. The season long efforts culminate each year with the Taste of the NFL’s Party with a Purpose®. Company support for this year’s 24th anniversary Party With a Purpose® includes E & J Gallo, Low T Centers, City of Scottsdale, Valley GMC Dealers, American Family Insurance, Scottsdale CVB, Arizona-based AVNET, Tommy Bahama, PepsiCo and Mexico Tourism.
The Kick Hunger Challenge is an online-only fundraising campaign spearheaded by Taste of the NFL, (www.TasteoftheNFL.com). This friendly “competition” pits fans from all 32 NFL teams against each other to raise money for their local food banks in NFL communities nationwide. Throughout the 2014-15 football season, fans will have the opportunity to support one of the 32 NFL teams and directly impact the donation of thousands of meals to food banks in their team’s community.
Feeling lucky? The Taste offers a live online Auction: Taste of the NFL Party with a Purpose Live Auction