Growing up in California, Matt Gibson watched celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Bobby Flay on television. Fast forward to when Gibson became a chef himself and then moved to New York, he now finds himself in a situation that he only dreamed about.
He is now the Senior Executive Chef at Yankee Stadium and he’s working with Samuelsson and Flay on food options that are available for fans throughout the ballpark.
“I worked for Bobby Flay for a second when I first moved to New York just to say I did,” said Gibson during Tuesday’s Yankees and Legends Hospitality Food and Beverage Media Preview at Yankee Stadium. “It’s great to have these guys and to work in tandem with them to provide a great product.”
Among the options that were available to be sampled at the event and also accessible for every fan with a ticket to a Yankee game include two of Samuelsson’s “Streetbird” items. One is “The Hot Bird Sandwich with boneless thigh, spicy chica slaw and house-made pickles and the other is the “Big Fly Chicken and Waffle” with hot honey cornbread waffle and house-made pickles. There are also a pair of “Bobby’s Burgers” including a “Bacon Crunchburger with bacon, American cheese, a thin layer of potato chips and Bobby’s Sauce along with “Bobby’s Veggie Burger” with BBQ mushrooms, chickpea and quinoa patty, cheezWhiz, lettuce, tomato and Bobby’s Sauce.
If you think those are too fancy for a baseball game, don’t worry.
“Ultimately, we still have chicken fingers, hot dogs, French fries and Cracker Jack but if you want to come and mosey around, there are some awesome options,” said Gibson. “We’re just constantly rotating the menu and making sure that the fans have something fun and diverse every time.”
Samuelsson was on hand at the event to show off some of the offerings and also meet with members of the media. The celebrity chef was born in Ethiopia before moving to Sweden and then Harlem so being able to now call New York City home is something special. He also gets the opportunity to have some of his creations available at an iconic venue like Yankee Stadium.
“That’s why people like us fall in love with the city,” said Samuelsson. “As an immigrant, I came to this country with $300 and took the bus from Kennedy Airport and one of the first things you see when you come off the bridge is Yankee Stadium. For me, twenty years later, to be a tiny part of it, it’s amazing. For me, this is a dream come true. That’s why you come to New York City.”
And it won’t be just Yankees fans who get to enjoy the new food and beverage options. That’s because Yankee Stadium is also home to the reigning Major League Soccer champion NYCFC. Samuelsson has grown to be a big baseball fan, but has a very special place in his heart for “The Beautiful Game” that he grew up with.
“Trust me, being from Europe you have to be a big soccer fan,” said Samuelsson. “NYCFC has been a big part of this. We did a trophy replica that they won last year with waffles. I think they’ll win it this year again.”
The food and beverage event at Yankee Stadium had become a highly anticipated event, but it has been absent the last couple of years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Capacity for fans returned to 100 percent during last season and that is the case again this year. So, with things trending in the right direction, the Yankees brought back the media event so that fans could learn just where to go when they come to Yankee Stadium.
“Super excited,” said Gibson. “Two and a half years ago, we were a couple of days away from hosting this and everything kind of just stopped so it’s good to have everyone back. We’ve kind of covered all of our bases this year at this point and I feel really happy with the offerings we have.”
We’re not quite sure just how many games the Yankees will win this season, if they’ll make the post-season and if they’ll make a run at a World Series title. But here’s a fact that is indisputable…
Nobody is going to go home hungry when they pay a visit to Yankee Stadium.