Forget peanuts and Cracker Jack. Chef Michael Snoke has something better in store for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix.
Snoke has been working with Levy Restaurants, the official restaurant partner at Chase Field, since 2004. He's in charge of the ballpark fare all season long, but has been looking forward to Tuesday's game for almost a year.
"I began writing the menu right after last season ended, and we've been trying samples and doing a lot of tasting," he says. "It's been a lot of fun, but also kind of fattening."
Snoke says they're using a lot of local and organic ingredients and he's eager to showcase food with some Southwest regional flair. He's serving habanero chicken and pepperjack cheese taquitos with ancho-lime dipping sauce, loaded tamales and a sandwich that will feed the whole family.
"I am super excited about the All-Star Summer Heater," Snoke says. "It's almost two feet long and loaded with mortadella, smoked ham, salami, and topped with a jalapeño-olive relish and pepperjack cheese. It's basically a giant panini. And it's served on a mound of fried onion rings and topped with fried pickles. It's enough to feed four."
The various All-Star events will bring roughly 150,000 people through Chase Field and the quantity of food it takes to feed them all is off the charts. They'll go through 5,000 pounds of cheese, 7,500 tomatoes and 35,000 pounds of French fries.
Then there's the 350,000 pounds of ice that will help all the fans beat the heat, as will the Absolut All-Star Cocktail made with Absolut Mandarin, pomegranate, cranberry and pineapple juice.
"The numbers are staggering and they're pretty much staggering across the board," Snoke says. "When you talk about 80,000 hot dogs, that’s a huge number to me. That will be the biggest seller. You break that
down over the three days and that's more than 25,000 hot dogs a day. That’s crazy."
But don't expect your standard ketchup and mustard. Snoke has gone outside the box for some very creative topping combos. There's the Big Kid Dog, topped with mac and cheese and fritos. And keeping with the Southwest theme, the Taco Dog, topped with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese, sour cream and jalapeños.
"I don't just think the people flying in are going to be excited," he says. "I think the locals that are coming out are going to enjoy it too."
The only person who won't be able to enjoy the All-Star festivities is Chef Snoke. He's been living in Arizona since he was 7 and is a big Diamondbacks fan.
But he'll be pulled in too many directions come Tuesday to take in any baseball.
"The guest is more important than watching the game," he says. "And I've got to keep my focus where it
needs to be."
No doubt the guests will be focused on the food as well.