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Careers in Hospitality

A New Meaning Behind Farm-Fresh Stadium Food

Photo: Courtesy of Jake Weirick

Jon Severson, executive chef at the Levi’s Stadium, talks the benefits behind working for the first NFL stadium with a rooftop farm.

Jon Severson

Executive Chef, Levi’s Stadium

For readers who are unaware, what does a “farm-to-fork’” approach mean to you? 

Utilizing locally-sourced products as an approach to modern menu planning allows us to build relationships with local food providers and growers. We can focus on what the Bay Area has to offer first, before going outside the region to source the foods we serve at Levi’s Stadium. It’s a mindset that helps us govern menu engineering and seasonal ingredient planning. Having a rooftop garden is an amazing first step to targeting key ingredients we can grow on site, such as the variety of herbs, tomatoes and winter greens we’ve planted for use on current menus this season.      

What are some key characteristics of Bay Area foods? 

The Bay Area is known for its sustainable seafood. Finding ways to showcase one of the Bay’s most prized species, Dungeness crab, is an exciting place to start menu planning. Other characteristics include the diversity of local artisans, farmers and small batch producers in the Bay — I can’t wait to tap into these resources as the season unfolds.    

What simple steps can every reader take to make their pizza eating/prepping experience a healthier one? 

When making pizza a healthier experience, having great ingredients is essential, such as the right flour, natural and fresh toppings, impeccable olive oil, fresh-grated parmigiana, Sonoma goat cheese and fresh mozzarella.

What is a fan favorite farm-fresh menu item? 

A fan-favorite is late-summer tomatoes of all kinds. There are so many fresh and flavorful applications we’ve created with vine-ripe tomatoes. At Levi’s Stadium, we are selling a lot of grilled caprese flatbreads along with burrata and heirloom tomato samplers.

If you had to choose one thing to have alongside your pizza, what would you choose? 

A really good Caesar salad. I know it’s simple, but when it’s prepared the right way, there is nothing better to enjoy with your favorite type of pizza or flatbread.  

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