Super Bowl food: where K-W chefs line up on halftime snacks

The Super Bowl may have pitted east versus west, young versus old and the deserving versus the lucky in Sunday's big matchup. CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's food columnist Andrew Coppolino has found unity by polling local chefs about their halftime food choices.

Super Bowl game may show American divide but halftime food unites

Chicken wings are a popular half-time food during football championship games. (Youtube)

One could say Super Bowl LIII is a microcosm for America's current political climate and a manifestation of the culture war via a polarized gridiron.

The divisions are glaring.

There's the Brady-Belichick contingent on the Trump right and the diverse west coast La-La land of Los Angeles on the left.

There's the young Rams QB Jared Goff at 24, and the old Patriots QB Tom Brady, whom everyone loves to hate in all of his 41 years.

There's the east coast versus west coast; there's an iconic world-class city against a piece of geography that's neither a city nor a state.

But let's focus on the food, for in food is unity.

Tom Brady's Patriots and followers might pick as their go-to dish New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans and Toll House cookies (which, legend has it, were invented at the Toll House Inn, Mass.).

Goff and the Rams bring us together over something like classic LA eats such as tacos, sushi or even a big chopped salad. 

K-W Super Bowl food

In and around Waterloo region, chefs and restaurateurs have chimed in about their favourite foods for the Super Bowl. They're all dishes that bring people together, however. Here's a selection of their go-to Super Bowl snacks:

Mark Pagett, chef-kitchen manager, Lancaster Smokehouse: Pagett confesses the biggest single game played in the solar system is basically background noise. 

"I actually attend Super Bowl parties to play poker and over-eat, but that said my favourite foods for the game would definitely be wings and a big platter of nachos."

Tim Borys, chef and co-owner, Lancaster Smokehouse: Borys trumps his colleague at the Lanc with his eclectic range of choices. 

"I love sausages and mustard, liver pate and pickles, nachos, fried chicken and hot sauce along with banana cream pie," Borys says.

Darryl Haus, owner Grand Trunk Saloon and Grand Surf Lounge: Haus takes a chill approach, which perhaps matches the southern style of his restaurants. He says he goes for bourbon and a cigar first. 

"I don't watch sports. But if I did, I'd eat nachos. I love nachos," he says.

Sian Burns, chef and co-owner, Nostra Cucina: 

"Nachos," Burns says, citing a sort of reverse Pavlovian response: "I'm not a big football fan, but when you say Super Bowl, I smell nachos!"

Guacamole is a Super Bowl staple for Stephanie Soulis, owner of Little Mushroom Catering.

Stephanie Soulis, owner, Little Mushroom Catering: Like nachos, Soulis picks another major Super Bowl comestible: mashed avocados. The U.S. Super Bowl audience alone will eat about 3.5 million kilograms of guacamole on game day, making it the biggest avocado consumption-day of the year. 

"Guacamole!" exclaims Soulis. "All the guacamole! Gotta have some chunks of tomato and green pepper, lots of lime and lots of salt too."

Klaus Ristanovic and Janet Duncan, co-owners, Jake and Humphrey's Bistro: Co-owner Janet Duncan tells tale of their Super Bowl tradition. 

"Klaus goes to Arca Pizza (just up the street in New Hamburg) and orders a pizza. He then crosses the street to the Old Country Restaurant to have a glass of wine and chat the restaurant life with the staff there before returning home for kick-off. I usually stay home enjoying a glass of wine, and then the pizza he brings," Duncan says. 

Steve Allen, chef-owner Little Louie's Burger Joint and Soupery: 

"A friend of means invites me to his Super Bowl party every year. I bring one of my cured hams that I've been hanging, and he supplies mind-blowing gastronomic delights like caviar and foie gras. But my favourite item is some sharp aged Beemster cheese with baguette and my prosciutto," according to Allen.

Kyle Rennie, chef King Street Trio: With his father hailing from western Canada and CFL territory, Rennie says that chili came to rule the Super Bowl, too.

"Wings are up there, but the tradition with my family was chili. Everyone stayed in for the game, and it was chili in the bread bowl," Rennie says.

Eli Silverthorne, chef-instructor, Stratford Chefs School: Silverthorne goes with a southern U.S. classic.

"Pulled pork for the Super Bowl," he says. "It's high fat, full flavour and pairs well with starches."

Arron Carley, executive chef, The Bruce Hotel: Silverthorne's Stratford compatriot has similar ideas when it comes to Super Bowl porkosity.

"I'd go with pork carnitas, guacamole, crispy tortillas and pico de gallo," Carley says.

Jaret Flanningan, chef, Wooly Pub: Flanningan says he's "pretty standard" when it comes to Super Bowl.

"Vegetarian nachos, lots of cheese, raw jalapeños and green olives for me are key. And I do make a pretty spectacular chili every year: Texas-style, no beans, just pulled pork shoulder, belly and beef brisket with sauce, sour cream, scallions, cilantro and pickled onions."

Ben Lillico, executive chef, The Rich Uncle Tavern:

"I was a big Peyton Manning-Indianapolis Colts fan," Lillico says. "The game is about sharing the experience with friends and bringing lots of different foods to the table, almost pot-luck style for a diverse selection of snacks."

Ryan Horne, Loloan Lobby Bar: Horne took the ball 97 yards to the house on the kickoff with probably the best answer when I asked him for his Super Bowl super eats.

"You must have me confused with someone who has the slightest bit of interest in organized sport," chirped Horne. "But if I had my choice, it would be fresh ceviche and a Michelada while at a beach bar in Mexico. The Super Bowl playing in the background would be muffled by the sounds of the waves."

That may also be the sentiment Sunday of 50 per cent of Super Bowl watchers depending on whether the game goes to the left or the right.

Follow all the Super Bowl stories at CBC


Andrew Coppolino

Food columnist, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo

CBC-KW food columnist Andrew Coppolino is author of Farm to Table (Swan Parade Press) and co-author of Cooking with Shakespeare (Greenwood Press). He is the 2022 Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer-in-Residence at the Stratford Chefs School. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewcoppolino.