For Dubuque G&CC’s Executive Chef Chad Myers, the 2016 World Series inspired a dish that is both ballpark and fine-dining worthy.
The passion that drives me to be the best chef I can was only ever focused on to the other love of my life: sports. At an early
At an early age, I was mesmerized by the greatness of professional sports. I loved collecting sports cards and watching ESPN’s SportsCenter. I could recite specific stats for different players.
Here at Dubuque (Iowa) Golf and Country Club, I am a stone’s throw away from Chicago so Chicago’s teams are at the top of my favorites list. Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson for the Cubs, or Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, and William “the Refrigerator” Perry hold a similar place in my heart for people like Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, or Heston Blumenthal.
Baseball especially was my first love since it was the first sport I could play as a kid in an organized way. I was never very skilled at the sport as I’m not exactly known for my blazing speed. But it never stopped me from trying as hard as I could to pretend that I was one of the greats like Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., or especially a member of the Chicago Cubs.
My grandfather, who wasn’t the nicest man in the world, and I could bond while watching Harry Caray and the Cubs. Just like all other Cub fans, winning was never part of our conversation. The only thing we ever said was, “Wait ’til next year.” They were called the lovable losers for a reason.
Over the years, my love for the Cubs faded. If they made the playoffs, my ears perked up a little, but interest definitely fizzled out for the most part. Sports in general have taken a backseat to cooking techniques and flavor combinations—until this year.
I’m not sure if you know this, but…THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!
The rollercoaster ride of the playoffs between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians reignited an interest for me in baseball that I am happy to be able to share.
I love the fact that as chefs we can tell a story with our food, and maybe trigger a memory for a member or guest that relates to their life. It’s like in the movie Ratatouille, when Anton Ego takes a bite of his food and instantly flashes back to his childhood. That is how I approach food.
A dish I did when the baseball playoffs were in full swing is a prime example. I wanted to figure out how I could create a dish that was fine dining quality, but when you ate it, the only thing you could think of was sitting in Wrigley Field watching your heroes. I incorporated items from the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” as well as utilizing products from Chicago and stereotypical Chicago food.
I brined some Berkshire pork loin in Goose Island Beer, since Old Style Light has moved down the list of favorites in this craft beer world we live in. I seared it and rubbed stone ground mustard on it to hold the crust I made with ground up Cracker Jacks. I didn’t think brats or hot dogs elevated the dish very high, so I made a potato hash with Lamb Merguez Sausage for a hint of heat and some help with my loose interpretation of ballpark meat. I made a savory whipped cream with mustard, beer, and apple that just really made me think of the foam on the glass of beer. I then used some fresh truffle from my favorite Chicago supplier, Rare Tea Cellar, in a demi-sauce and shaved on top. And just because pork and apples are friends, I made apple butter for plate garnish.
I know that we all work in a country club golf world, but I think in the bigger picture is that we work in the world of people. Making memories or connecting with old ones can help our souls smile. Sports and food can come together and help us enjoy the things in life that are good. The kitchen is a sanctuary where all is well. Sports is a place that does this for our members, too, and connecting sports and food is an art form that is very enjoyable.