Whether it’s a canvas, an instrument, a dinner table, or a concession stand, all artists have their own unique ways of expressing themselves. When our chefs think about the many “canvases” for their culinary innovations, a fan staple always comes to mind: the hot dog. For National Hot Dog Month, we asked culinary leaders at four venues that serve as many franks as anyone, for their most unique interpretations. With experience levels ranging from 13 to 37 years in the culinary industry, Chefs Christine Gerriets, Sam Boisjoly, Steve Tilder, and Matt Cooper are experts when it comes to dishing dogs. They all agree on one thing: Hot dogs are the perfect vessel to express culinary creativity.
Christine Gerriets — Executive Chef, Dodger Stadium
Chef Christine Gerriets with the L.A. Bacon Wrapped Dog
Chef Christine went classic with the L.A. Bacon Wrapped Dog, a consistent favorite for Dodger fans. It features an extra long dog, wrapped in crispy bacon, and topped with peppers, onions, and mayo. Chef Christine says, “You can’t go anywhere in L.A. without seeing a hot dog vendor that offers a bacon wrapped dog.”
For Christine, hot dogs open up all kinds of delectable options. She can be innovative or classic, daring or simple. “The hot dog is such a versatile food item that allows you to express creativity,” she says. “It’s a great canvas to bring new combinations and fun, unique flavors to the fans.” While Christine appeals to the desire for classics with the L.A. Bacon Wrapped Dog, she loves incorporating different cultures, flavors, and trends into the food and beverage offerings at Dodger Stadium.
“L.A. is a melting pot of diverse groups of people, so I want to bring exciting food options to our stadium by incorporating bold new flavors and cooking techniques,” Christine says.
Sam Boisjoly — Senior Executive Chef, Q2 Stadium
Chef Sam Boisjoly with the Footlong Elotes Corndog
The culture of Austin, Texas comes to life with Chef Sam Boisjoly’s Footlong Elotes Corndog. Sam echoes the importance of bringing his hometown’s cultural diversity to the stadium, calling his designer dog a “representation of the melting pot of Texan culture.” The corndog combines the street food flavors of Mexico and Texas to create a delicious outcome that perfectly matches its audience. When the dish debuted, a guest approached Sam to tell him, “This is all the favorite flavors of my childhood combined,” perfectly demonstrating the nostalgia and comfort this creation delivers for Austin sports fans.
Chef Sam describes hot dogs as “an edible canvas” filled with flavorful possibilities.
“Wherever you go in the world you will find some form of hot dog that looks completely different,” he says. With his Elotes Corndog, and many other dishes around the stadium, Sam prides himself on always continuing to innovate, keeping with his team and his town’s mantra of “Keep Austin Weird.”
Steve Tilder — Senior Executive Chef, Chase Field
Chef Steve Tilder with the Arizona Diamondbacks Dog
Chef Steve Tilder chose his venue’s signature item: the Arizona Diamondbacks Dog. “It’s a great representation of Phoenix,” Steve says. “A nod to the southwest with bold Latin ingredients. This dog checks all the boxes.” The dish was originally introduced as part of a “VS” concept, pitting the Diamondbacks-inspired frank against a dog representing the opposing team’s culture.
Asked why he loves creating new hot dogs, Steve points to the adaptability of the stadium staple. “Hot dogs are a great outlet for creativity due to the fact they are literally a blank canvas,” he says. “You can spin them any way you want and really make them your own.”
He also points out the dish’s uncommon ability to be transformed into countless different cultures, something many of our chefs prioritize in their menu development. “Whether you want Latin, Greek, Italian, American … a hot dog is the perfect base for a unique creation.” Steve feels the dish goes uniquely well with his venue’s primary sport, baseball. “Hot dogs and baseball have been an iconic duo since the mid to late 1800s and are a staple of America,” he says. “It’s a must at a baseball game, it’s part of the experience.”
Going forward, Chef Steve is looking to “beat all consumer expectations and create memorable dining experiences,” a goal that perfectly encapsulates our mission to serve restaurant-quality food in every corner of our venues.
Matt Cooper — Senior Executive Chef, Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Chef Matt Cooper with the Kobe Beef Dog
Having been in the industry since he was 14 years old, Senior Executive Chef Matt Cooper is more than qualified to create a great dog. This month, he chose to spotlight the Kobe Beef Hot Dog, topped with a tantalizing combination of pickled red cabbage, scallion curls, and bourbon mustard. According to Chef Matt, the presentation of the dog is key. “Not only does this dish taste amazing, it looks amazing too! That’s a big part of why it’s become so popular.” The item was introduced at Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s Yard Dog concept, which features a rotating menu of creative custom franks. He asserts that it’s concepts like these that keep fans coming back for more.
“With the amount of events we have at sports venues and the volume of items we feed people, a lot of arenas and stadiums create menus that stay the same throughout the year,” he says. “I think it’s important to change out items so concepts don’t go stale. Fans want to see new stuff every time they walk in the door, and we’re here to provide that.”