Gerard Craft is joining St. Louis’ new professional soccer team as “flavor officer”

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St. Louis restaurateur Gerard Craft is going pro, but it won’t require him to get out on the pitch.

St. Louis CITY SC has announced that it’s bringing on Craft to help develop the stadium food experience for the MLS team as the first phase of its food program. The club’s “CITY Flavors” program will work in conjunction with the public – who can suggest their favorite regional dishes online – to create a dining experience that is uniquely St. Louis.

“I think there will be the most outside vendors in this place than in any stadium in the world,” says Craft. “It’s a huge focus, to kind of thread a needle through the different cultures around St. Louis. Soccer’s such a diverse sport, and we want the food offerings to match that.”

Craft reached out to the team’s ownership group approximately three years ago because he was interested in the stadium food experience, specifically creating a food experience that is outside of the sport.

“Not everybody that goes to a game is necessarily a diehard fan, and I think food can be a part of the entertainment at the game to draw a bigger audience,” he says.

Craft will work alongside the stadium’s hospitality partner, Levy, to develop the program and bring in restaurants from around the city to not only replicate what they’re doing in their own establishments but to create game-specific food. And the outside vendors will not be restricted to big name restaurants that fans might already know, with the goal of having a range of cuisines – think everything from Italian to Argentinian to Senegalese.

“We want to find those little gems in all the different pockets throughout St. Louis,” says Craft. “I think one of the coolest things about this stadium is [that] there’s only like 15 games a year or something, but then at the end of the day, we want this to be almost a guide to St. Louis.”

The stadium will not open until 2023, but for now, the community can recommend restaurants or dishes that they would like to see at the St. Louis CITY stadium on the soccer club’s website.

https://www.feastmagazine.com/st-louis/article_bec86aa6-ceab-11eb-a4cf-2fe94e99be8a.html

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