Football is almost here!

One thing you are indoctrinated with in the South is that the calendar is here just to tell us how close we are to football.  From Florida to Texas, up to Oklahoma and over to the Virginias, they eat/breath/sleep Football.  Here, in Nashville, we are lucky enough to have great High School, College and Professional football.  Its everywhere!

And we, at Chef’s Market, are not complaining, at all.  We love football.  Especially when it comes to tailgating on Saturdays and Sundays – it always comes down to something cold to drink and something good to eat.  Not only do we have amazing food, but we love to have fun with creative concepts and presentation.  We recently served food at a 90th birthday party for one of University of Tennessee’s biggest fans. We even re-created the field in Neyland Stadium, orange and white checkerboard and all!

As the summer heat beats you down and you wander inside to see when Fall is coming, here are a few ideas for your tailgating parties this upcoming Football season:

1. Don’t out punt your coverage. In food terms, that means don’t try and grill burgers and brats for 30 people if you only have a personal camper grill.  Even better, don’t bring ice cream sandwiches when its still 95 degrees outside. Whatever the case, know your limitations and stay inside them.  Better to do something simple, well, than something impossible and your guests get sick…or worse go hungry!

2. Check the line of scrimmage and call an audible.  Those ribeyes you have been marinating for two days will not be enjoyable when the winds are blowing 60 mph or El Nino happens again.  Save them for the next day and go get some sandwich platters (or make them yourself).  Don’t be stubborn.  Its ok to go to a Plan B.

3. Test the Free Agency market.  When putting together a tailgate party, you can go a couple of different routes when it comes to getting a leg up on the tailgating competition.
Dallas Cowboys – You can hire the big guns (like Chef’s Market) to come and do everything for you with the goal of hiring the best to win.  Unlike Dallas (lately), Chef’s can deliver the “championship” you are looking for.
New England Patriots – You take what you do well, and supplement it with a few key fixtures to help maintain your budget while giving you the best chance to win.  Maybe its coming by and picking up several bowls of our “sides” to accompany the steaks or burgers you will be grilling out.  You, and just a little bit of outside help, will field you a great “team”.
Cleveland Browns – No hired guns on this one.  Its all about what they can do internally.   They don’t want to spend the money on “outside” help…of any kind.

No matter which route you go, never turn a blind eye to the “Free Agency Market.”  You never know what some outside help can do to boost your team.

4. The best defense is a good offense.  Don’t just react the day of and try and throw some things together. Plan out your menu (even if it is just cold cuts and chips), set a budget, shop around so that when gameday does arrive, you can just execute and enjoy your time near the gridiron.

5. Excessive celebration is allowed!  Tailgating is not ruled by the NFL.  So pull your best T.O. and Chad Ochocinco moves and have some fun at your party. Don’t get overwhelmed by the details.  Plan it out in advance and allow yourself to relax.  Ask others to help.  Don’t try and take on everything on your own.  Things like getting ice, picking up hamburger buns, setting up the pop-up tent, etc are all simple things that anyone can do.  In the end – its supposed to be fun!

Hope these few tips help as you get ready for this fall.  We would love to help you make your tailgating party a great one!

Bo Jennings
Catering Sales Managers

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