Most football players aren’t found in the kitchen. A former Division I running back at Dartmouth, Tommy Brown got his start sourcing and prepping meals for his roommates as an alternative to campus dining. “We were broke college kids,” he says. “But we ate better than anyone else in town.” Now, he introduces his new pop-up concept, the Elevated Game Day series.
Elevated Game Day was born out of Chef Tommy’s desire for a place where people could socialize and watch a game (on a giant projector screen!) without sacrificing food quality. He was tired of spending too much money on mediocre eats at crowded bars, but he didn’t want to always host at home. Elevated Game Day is like the best Super Bowl party every Sunday, with upgraded classics and interactive activities. The winning game bet wins leftover brisket!
Chef Tommy credits football with teaching him the useful lessons he takes into the kitchen, so we asked him to list five ways the sport has influenced him as a chef:
1) Timeliness: Tommy’s coach instilled in him the value of being early, which translates into all aspects of his mise en place. “Buying” time and being prepared allows him to adjust for any unforeseen kitchen circumstances.
2) Fundamentals: Tommy believes that mastering the basics affords him the opportunity to take risks, be creative, and have fun in the long run. The details, like how to properly hold a ball, are what make a play in football. Similarly, a chef’s dishes begin with how he wields his knife.
3) Awareness: Tommy’s position as running back meant he had to know what all members of his team were doing on the field at once. This aids his perception as a chef–can he smell the crispy chicken skin? Hear the water rolling at a boil? While plating one dish, he visualizes what is coming next.
4) Collaboration: Cooking is as much of a team sport as football. Tommy says, “Serving 20-100 people alone is just not something I’d recommend. Neither is running the ball into the teeth of a defense without any blockers.” On the field and in the kitchen, teams need to trust one another and communicate.
5) “It ain’t over ’til it’s over:” After the final plays have been carried out, an athlete still needs to tend his wounds and stretch his muscles. Tommy knows his job as a chef isn’t finished just because diners have cleaned their plates, but when “there is the unmistakable sound of a clean kitchen.”
So what will Chef Tommy do when football season ends? More sports! Basketball, baseball, or UFC are just some of what he has in mind. And for the less sports-inclined, the chef envisions Game Of Thrones or Walking Dead nights, with dinner by candlelight. He is also developing other event additions, from trivia games to local brewery sponsorships. “It’s not just about the meal or the game, ” Tommy says. “It’s about the experience.”