Talking Marlins Ballpark Food With Chef Morales: Part Two
|Can we get a little sauerkraut on this?|
New Times: There are all these great sounding new foods being promoted this season at the other Centerplate vendored ballparks, but the only things announced for Marlins games was new equipment. Why shouldn't we feel screwed?
Orlando Morales: It's true, the other Centerplate venues had some major menu concept overhauls this season, but Miami did not get the short end. Sun Life Stadium is sporting some creative new food concepts as well, only we debuted ours a little early this year at the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. We had the nation's attention, so we pulled out all the stops here a few months before everyone else. If you haven't been here in the past two years you wouldn't even recognize the place. There used to be hot dogs, popcorn and burgers. Now it's a beautiful Stadium with lots of new flair: Latin cuisine, open flame grills, carving stations, pulled pork smoked in-house at Everglades BBQ, Carnegie Deli, a more open feel and new POS system and flat screen menu boards to better our speed of service. Football fans already had a preview, but the benefits of new upgrades in service areas and menu concepts made their official MLB debut when the Marlins played their season opener.
What else you got?
Stop by any Friday game and check out the Paella -- traditional seafood, sausage and vegetable paellas slow-cooked in a cast iron pan are sold on the concourse level. We started this at the Super Bowl and are getting a great response so far this season. We also completely reimagined the way we make pizza this year with a new recipe to make and knead hand-pulled dough from scratch right before the games. The smell is intoxicating. Marlins fans should also stop by the Franks stand, which wasn't around last season. It offers themed hot dogs, like the Mexican Dog, Cuban Dog, Miami Dog, Pretzel Dog and Chicago Dog.
Why can't you come up with a better nachos?
I think we have some of the best nachos in the business! I'm stunned. When was the last time you tasted the nachos we sell here? We make our own chips, our own chili con carne, and all of the toppings are fresh. Our different stands also have their own take on nachos, for example the nachos at our Everglades BBQ stand adds barbequed pulled pork to its version topped with red jalapeno peppers that we bring from Chihuahua, Mexico.
OK, I admit it, I haven't been to a Marlins game the past couple of years. But don't think I won't go this season just to see if you're right about the nachos. What's the best bang for the buck?
Not to sound hokey, but all of them.
Honestly. We create items and want them to sell. If the price turns people away, we lose, so fan value is a huge consideration for us. As for a specific item with personal value appeal, I'd go for the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It's a seven-ounce chicken breast, marinated in spices and flame-grilled, served with lettuce, tomato and pesto mayo. We grill the focaccia and assemble it fresh. It's served with home-made potato chips dusted with parmesan cheese for $10.
|Steak nachos -- they look even better with 3D glasses.|
As we see it, so much of the game-day experience is the food: the way kettle corn smells coming down the aisle, juggling 5 hot dogs on the way back to your seat, trying to time a pizza run with a pitching change. We're fans and we're foodies - that's the foundation of the business model. Baseball is an iconic piece of American culture, and Centerplate has much respect for game-day traditions like hot dogs and popcorn, but we are also excited by the multi-cultural influences driving the future of the game.
Thanks chef. And remember -- I'm going to be checking out those nachos.
Tomorrow: Want to stay home and watch the Marlins on television, yet still yearn for a taste of authentic ballpark food? Chef Orlando shares Centerplate's recipe for arepas.