Menus of Delaware North Companies Sportservice chef pay homage to city’s culinary traditions
ST. LOUIS (July 7, 2009) – When it comes to baseball and food, a quintessential summertime pairing, St. Louis is one of a very few cities with rich traditions in both.
So it’s fitting that when the city plays host to the 2009 Major League Baseball® (MLB) All-Star Game® at Busch Stadium® this month, it won’t just be a celebration of St. Louis natives Yogi Berra and the late Jack Buck and Cardinals legends Stan Musial, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.
Also receiving their due, thanks to Chef Jeramie Mitchell of Delaware North Companies Sportservice, will be St. Louis specialties – braised beef brisket and toasted ravioli, to name a few – as well as the distinct Italian and German neighborhoods and fertile agricultural regions of Missouri that inspired them.
Mitchell is the top chef at Busch Stadium and one of four regional executive chefs for Sportservice, the longtime concessionaire for the St. Louis Cardinals and many other major professional sports teams. He has been planning and will oversee Sportservice’s massive culinary operation for the All-Star Game – at both Busch Stadium and MLB’s two main hospitality events outside the stadium.
“Where better to showcase St. Louis and its cuisine than at baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic,” said Mitchell, who is certified as a chef de cuisine by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). “St. Louis is one of the very best places in America to experience how authentic regional foods can complement baseball.”
For the July 14 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby the night before, Mitchell will oversee normal Busch Stadium culinary operations, including club and suite dining and concessions, to feed 40,000-plus fans attending each night. Of course, there will be traditional ballpark fare such as hot dogs, Italian sausage and nachos. Cardinals fans lead the Majors in consumption of nachos, putting away nearly a half-million orders in 2008. Hand-rolled pretzels, calzones and lighter fare such as salads and veggie burritos will also be on the menu.
But attending a game at Busch Stadium also means having a pulled pork sandwich smothered in thick, sweet St. Louis-style barbeque sauce and smoked beef brisket slathered with Mitchell’s own made-from-scratch rub and then slow-smoked in the stadium’s smokers for 12 hours.
In the clubs and suites, Mitchell will enhance the menus with additional entries such as Copper River salmon and Chianti-braised short ribs.
But Mitchell will really be able to showcase St. Louis with Sportservice’s catering of MLB’s late evening All-Star Gala after the homer derby on July 13 and All-Star Pre-Game Party the afternoon before the game.
About 4,200 guests, including team owners and dignitaries, are expected to attend each event. It is believed to be the first time MLB has selected the concessionaire for the game venue to also cater the off-site parties, which this year are taking place in a tented hospitality center being created at Ballpark Village near Busch Stadium.
Mitchell developed St. Louis- and Missouri-themed menus that include culinary traditions from several city neighborhoods and the region. Serving stations in the hospitality tents will be organized around these themes:
- From The Hill, the Italian-American neighborhood where Berra and boyhood chum Joe Garagiola grew up, Mitchell is presenting traditional St. Louis toasted ravioli, wild mushroom risotto, Italian salsiccia (sausage) with peppers and onions, and spinach and artichoke toasted cannelloni, a new twist on the ravioli.
- Soulard, the neighborhood just south of the Gateway Arch named for the Frenchman who surveyed colonial St. Louis, is now site of the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country. Appropriately, Mitchell will offer chicken jambalaya with andouille sausage, crawfish etoufee with rice, St. Louis-style smokehouse ribs, and smoked chicken wings with lava mustard sauce.
- The Loop, named for the old streetcar turnaround at the western city limits near Forest Park, has become a thriving cultural district featuring dozens of both ethnic and American restaurants. Mitchell combines the feel of The Loop’s contemporary eateries with the local and regional ingredients – especially beef and pork from The Ozarks and The Plains – that contribute to many dishes. His beef brisket features Missouri grass-fed beef slowly braised in a red wine demi with button mushrooms, while the honey-glazed pork steamship round comes with a bourbon and peach compote and roasted summer vegetable salad.
- A more historic neighborhood featuring eclectic dining, including many cozy pubs, is the Central West End. It was the boyhood home of playwright Tennessee Williams and features stately turn-of-the-century homes. Mitchell’s menu includes barbequed pulled pork sliders with cole slaw and roasted chicken salad crostini with brie, red grapes and pecans.
- The Central West End borders Forest Park, one of America’s great urban parks and site of the 1904 World’s Fair, formally known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. For a “picnic,” Mitchell will feature a World’s Fair hot dog bar, a roasted turkey BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) with roasted garlic mayo, and a summer fruit salad.
- Another St. Louis hallmark, its history as a key Mississippi River port, is acknowledged with The Boathouse, a cheese and vegetable display featuring the bounty from Missouri farms along with fresh baked breads.
- For the St. Louis Dessert Bar and Candy Shop, which offers a sampling of some of the city’s favorite desserts, Mitchell is partnering with local bakeries such as Hank’s Cheesecakes and McArthur’s Bakery. Among the goodies will be blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler, and St. Louis-style gooey butter cake. Traditional baseball snacks such as popcorn and peanuts will also be available.
Mitchell said Sportservice has worked hard to source as much of the food as possible from the state of Missouri or a 150-mile radius of St. Louis. The produce will come from local farms, the beef will be Missouri grass-fed, and Sportservice will serve Missouri cheeses and wines, he said.
In addition to the bakeries, several other St. Louis food companies will contribute some of the food: Italian meat specialist Volpi Foods, a St. Louis original since 1902; Italian importer and manufacturer DiGregorio Food Products; G&W Meat and Bavarian Style Sausage Co.; and gourmet pretzel company Mom’s Originals.
Beverages being served at the All-Star Gala and Pre-Game Party are from Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Gallo, Bacardi and several Missouri wineries.
To assist Mitchell, more than 15 Sportservice corporate culinary executives and chefs will be on hand, including fellow regional executive chefs James Major (Cleveland Indians) and Mark Szubeczak (Detroit Tigers). Also scheduled to assist are Sportservice executive chefs Eric Borgia (San Diego Padres), Cristobal Vazquez (Texas Rangers), Scott Pobuda (Cincinnati Reds), Pastor Jiminez (Milwaukee Brewers), Bill Bateman (Reno Convention Center) and Joseph Ditri (Columbus Blue Jackets).
In addition, about 50 student volunteers from culinary schools in the region will also assist with food preparation as cooks for the two main hospitality events, thanks to the ACF’s local chapter, the Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis.
About Delaware North Companies Sportservice
Delaware North Companies Sportservice is one of the nation’s leading food, beverage and retail management companies, providing concessions, gourmet catering and fine dining operations at more than 50 professional sporting venues, entertainment complexes and convention centers across the United States and Canada. Sportservice has served an impressive collection of sporting events and clients, including the World Series®, the National Hockey League® and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Games, Stanley Cup® Championships and the Olympic Games®.
Throughout its 90-year history, Sportservice has demonstrated that it knows what it takes to effectively develop, operate and manage multi-faceted kitchens, restaurants, suites, fine dining and retail facilities in order to meet the changing demands of today's fans. From introducing healthier food selections and creative cuisine to twists on traditional fare and new organic options, Sportservice continues to innovate and enhance the fan experience.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Banknorth Garden. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 50,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.