NFL Executive Chef Marc Payero Knows How to Party

Check out chef Payero’s tips on hosting the perfect ‘homegate’
Homegating Recipe: Citrus, Chicken and Apple Salad Wrap

Homegating is a fun way to approach your Super Bowl party, and here is a fun and healthy recipe to go along with it!

NFL Executive Chef Marc Payero's Tips for Tailgating at Home
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Learn how to host a successful Super Bowl Party

When it comes to game-day, there isn’t a place fans rather be than in the stands.  But for some, getting a ticket to big games like Super Bowl Sunday are just ever so slightly out of reach.  Before you crawl into a fetal position and mourn the loss of game-day fun, Marc Payero, Executive Chef, Restaurant Associates  at NFL League Headquarters  can give you a few suggestions on how to have an authentic celebration from the comfort of your own home. The answer:  homegating.

“The great thing about hosting your own NFL homegating party is that you are really able to bring the excitement of the stadium into your home with fun team-spirited items and home décor,” says chef Payero. “It’s a great way to turn your home into NFL headquarters, and show off your mouth-watering menu items at the same time.”

From the menu to the décor, there are countless ways your can bring stadium feel right to your living room. And if you lack the naturally competitive edge, don’t stress.  Chef Payero has plenty of tips from your menu to your hostess gift to make sure your game-day party is a touchdown!

What foods absolutely must be on the homegating table?

You’re definitely going to want to have a variation of chips and dip, wings and some hot finger foods like tacos or sliders. In addition to delicious food, another “must” is the presentation of the food which is a very easy way to impress your guests. Be sure you show off your team spirit with some stylish and functional NFL homegating products. You can find everything from, chip and dip platters and bowls to salt and pepper shakers and high heel shoe bottle holders at nflshop.com/homegating.

What are your suggestions for actually planning the menu?

Keep is simple! You want to select items that your guests will love, but are also easy to make. You’ll want to join your homegating party and watch the game, not spend all of your time in the kitchen. Just because it’s easy to make, doesn’t mean it has to skimp on taste.  

What are ways to avoid a cliché menu?

While planning your homegate, think of classic items that you normally see on the table during a party, and give them a little twist. For example, swap out a traditional salsa for a Corn and Fire Roasted Peppers Salsa. It’s just as easy to make as regular salsa, but adds a little bit of flare and uniqueness to your menu.

Take it a step further and incorporate recipes or flare from the teams or cities that are playing which will make you party more personal and unique.

What is the best thing you can bring to someone who is hosting? A dish and a gift, please.

Never, show up to a homegating party empty handed! If possible, check with the host/hostess to see if they need help with a certain category of food (ie: deserts, dips, healthy snacks). But, if you’re famous for a certain dish, bring it on over!

What are ways you can make watching the game at home feel like you’re at a live game?

Some people go to great lengths to bring the excitement and spirit of the game to their homegating parties. An easy way is to have everyone come over in their favorite team apparel and accessories. In the more extreme cases, I’ve heard of some people opening all the windows and doors of their home so that their guests can really bundle up in front of the big screen and feel like they’re right there at the stadium.

How can you make the table family friendly?

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood come from when my whole family would watch the football together on the weekends. It’s important to involve your kids in the process, and make some kid-friendly options on your menu; chicken fingers and mac and cheese are great options.  I would also maybe swap out your team glassware with some plastic options to minimize the potential for accidents.

How can you keep kids occupied during the game without missing a play?

This is a great opportunity to bond with your kids and teach them about the game. Let them know that they are an essential part of the homegating party. This helps to form traditions and create lasting memories.

How can hosts or hostesses set themselves up for an easier clean-up?

When baking, I normally use a sheet of tin foil at the bottom of the glassware so that I don’t have to spend time soaking and scrubbing everything after the game. I also normally try to throw at least one load of dishes into the dishwasher during half-time. But it’s important to not spend too much time cleaning while guests are there! Just try and do a little at a time as you go.

Do you have any must have desserts that need to be on the table?

At my homgates, it’s my Irish Cream and Coconut Bread Pudding, you can find this recipe on the NFL Homegating App. The App is free and can be found in the iTunes or GooglePlay store.

What is the biggest mistake a homegater can make?

The biggest mistake that some first-time homegaters make is taking on too much at once. Like I said earlier, you have to keep is simple. You want to enjoy the game and spend time with family and friends. Focus your time and energy on making a few great things.