By Chef James Briscione

I suspect that shortly after man invented fire, he gathered around it with some friends, cooked hunks of meat over its burning embers and then went to watch a rock-throwing competition. Primitive man didn’t know it at the time, but he had just invented the tailgate, and the act of gathering with friends to cook over fire before going to cheer your favorite team remains programmed in our DNA to this day.

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Tailgating at MetLife Stadium

So what happens when an NFL team wants to help their fans step up their tailgating game? They call on ICE! Earlier this year, we proudly became the official tailgate partner of the New York Jets. The season has been thrilling; big moves were made on the field and the grill. While the Jets took to the turf, we held up our end in the kitchen, teaching fans how to cook great game day eats through hands on classes at MetLife Stadium, as well as on our home turf in Manhattan.

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Chef James Briscione and Chef Chad Pagano with the Jets Flight Crew at MetLife Stadium

Our first event at MetLife was memorable, to say the least. I doubt anyone has even lined up 60 feet worth of coal-fired grill and lead 140 people (simultaneously!) through a hands on cooking class that was equal parts tailgate and upscale NY Steakhouse. We made everything from bacon stuffed pork chops and steaks, to grilled romaine with handmade Caesar dressing.

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Jets fan getting his grill on at our Jets Grilling Boot Camp

That was also the day we learned about the famed swirling winds that have plagued visiting quarterbacks for years. If you think the winds around the Meadowlands can wreak havoc on 15 yard post pattern, you should see how it can lay waste to 80 lbs of charcoal. In the end, we successfully conquered the elements and turned out an amazing meal; after all, conquering fire in the name of sport is in all human’s nature.

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Fans cheer on the Jets at a Monday Night Cooking class at ICE.

With that adventure behind us, we hosted 100 Jets fans and friends in the ICE kitchens for a cozy meal and Monday Night Football. While the ICE team focused on teaching everyone how to take their kitchen skills to the next level, some special guests stopped by to get in on the action. Former Jets greats, including Wesley Walker and Freeman McNeil, as well as current players, Damon Harrison and Willie Colon, joined ICE chefs and Jets fans in the kitchen to see if their talent at the stove was anything like their talent on the field .

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Jets stars Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Willie Colon cooking their favorites with fans in the ICE kitchens

Gridiron heroes, great food and a live Monday Night Football broadcast in the kitchens made for an amazing series of classes. As this season winds down, everyone at ICE is already looking forward to kicking off more delicious events with the Jets next year.

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Jets fans in their cooking attire

Which is why we’re excited to announce the first official 2014 class of the Jets Cooking School: a night of Super Sunday-themed cooking on Tuesday, January 28th. We’re sharing our playbook of crowd pleasing snacks, gourmet game-time entrees and sweet treats for half-time show. Best of all– guests will have the chance to cook, meet and eat with their favorite current Jets players.  Hope to see you there!

Find out more at ice.edu/jets.

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