Just days before the Buffalo Sabres home opener on Thursday, Oct. 5 against the Montreal Canadiens, the kitchen staff is gearing up to feed thousands of fans some new menu items.
It’s also Stephen Forman's second season as executive chef at KeyBank Center, so he’s looking to build on his first debut season this coming year.
Once again, he'll be running four kitchens at once, pumping out food for 20,000 fans, for each of the 41 games.
Now he’s had a full season to adjust to some of the differences this job has from the typical kitchen.
"The flare of sauces and painting the plate, that's gone,” Forman said. “So how do I capture flavor, how do I get that flavor packaged properly, how do I get it to be within something that they can carry back, be excited about, and at the same time have it reproduced game after game after game?"
Forman said the planning for this season began almost immediately after last season ended.
"We say, ‘You know next year we probably won't do that,’ or we'll say ‘that was great, how can we elevate it?’” said Forman. “We understand what the customer liked and then we'll say ‘well lets drop this in for next year, or lets tweak it a little bit and still carry it,’" Forman said.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have of stadium food, according to Chef Forman, is that it's all hotdogs, peanuts and popcorn.
Of course these are go-to’s, he said, but he wants it to be so much more in terms of the food options for lounge, club, and general admission seats alike.
And there’s one priority he’s always got at the top of his list.
"Flavor,” he said. “If it doesn't have flavor, I don't care how pretty it looks. People eat with their eyes first, but after that 'Wow,' I want them to say 'Oh wow," after they eat it," he said.
The full menu for the Sabres 2017-18 season will be announced on Monday.