Dish of the Day: Food in sports arenas
Watching live sport has always been a big part of my life, from the early days with my old man right through until yesterday at Upton Park. Unfortunately, something that goes hand in hand with live sport, and music too for that matter, is bad beer and worse food.
As a nation that is clawing its way to a stage where we are no longer a joke on the food scene, where we cease to be renowned for only eating in dodgy American chain restaurants, where some of the best restaurants in the world reside. A country steeped in food culture, whether it be Lancashire hot pot, Manx kippers, homity pie, or jellied eels, that has an evolving street food scene; people are bbqing ribs and flipping damn tasty burgers all over the country, but, go to a football stadium and you’ll witness some horrid food crimes that destroy all of what we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Dry, cold bread holds a luke warm sausage, disgusting pies sitting in hot boxes, stewed coffee, flat beer, weak tea. It’s a disgrace. I’m fully aware of why, given that the huge companies responsible offer their services at a rate no street food vendor or decent operator could match, but still, have some self respect.
The prices are sky high whilst the quality continues to deteriorate. Wembley stadium, for example, where a burger is ridiculously expensive, and weak pints are poured 18 at a time from robots, is our national stadium, and it’s beautiful, something to be proud of, until you go to quench your thirst or grab a bite, at which point you remortgage your house in return for a sorry excuse for a meal.
I wonder who will be the first to have a go at changing this, having freshly baked pies, not mass produced and cooked from frozen, filled with fresh, British beef or chicken, lamb or pork, rather than whatever it is that manages to get passed as ‘Steak’, or using a decent beer that’s not turned from water to drinkable product in three days, but is brewed by people who really care and who are proud of their brew.
Why aren’t we using British beer anyway? It’s not that we don’t have enough of the stuff, we bloody invented it.
If any of the clubs wanted to have a go at reversing this, I’d be happy to take on the challenge. If I can run a 24 hour kitchen serving up to and over 1,000 covers a day at the standard we do, I reckon I could have a shot at a 15 minute half time service 19 times a year. Not saying it’s easy, but it sure can be better than its current sorry state, although I fear this will never happen. And this makes me sad.
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