The most important thing about the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day is watching the Oklahoma Sooners and the Georgia Bulldogs fight it out, but after that, it’s the food. And the stadium’s concession provider, Sodexo, has spent the entire year tweaking its menu for the big day. In addition to feeding the nearly 90,000 game-goers, Sodexo will also vend a selection of items at Fanfest, a free pre-game party open to the public at Brookside Golf Course.
Sodexo lead chef Kevin Hengehold explained that the biggest challenge of the day is not the crowds, but that there are no kitchens in the stadium so, while the menu strives to be trendy, the offerings are limited to what can be prepared on site, such as food that can be grilled or barbecued.
“When we found out the teams on the morning of December 3, then we started to drill down on what we could do specialty-wise that may speak to the people from the teams that are coming- Georgia and Oklahoma this year,” Hengehold said.
Last year for the Penn State/USC match, Sodexo created traditional Philly and contemporary Cali cheesesteak sandwiches. This year will feature hamburgers. The toppings are still being firmed up, but Hengehold thinks Oklahoma will be represented by a half-pound burger graced with pulled pork, American cheese and onions, while Georgia’s half-pound burger will boast a topping of pulled pork, pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes.
“We will keep track of how many of each are sold. We had a running clock last year on how many were sold of each and the Cali ended up beating out the Philly. It was real close at the end,” Hengehold said.
The clock will be placed in the concourse and also at Fanfest again this year so fans can follow the burger wars.
There will also be special team cocktails available at four stations throughout the concourse, Hengehold said.