Concessions are similar to food trucks, says chef Garrett Schack, and it’s part of the growing appeal of the guest chef event at Carnarvon Park.
“Ballpark or concession food has been gaining in popularity like food trucks have,” said Schack, executive chef and food and beverage manager at Vista 18. “People in the neighbouring areas head out to the concession now for a hot dog or hamburger.”
Schack makes his third appearance Saturday as guest chef for the Grand Slam Gourmet, a Carnarvon Ball fundraiser to benefit both a ball team to represent at provincials and KidSport Greater Victoria.
Saturday afternoon he’ll bring his brand of ballpark gourmet to the Oak Bay ballpark.
“He jazzes it up. He does his own take on it,” said organizer Shannon Stead of the Carnarvon Ball Club, outlining last year’s bahn mi hotdog featuring spicy pickled veg and Sriracha. “We still have the regular hot dogs for the kids who don’t like the other stuff.”
Sometimes residents are also drawn to the chef himself, known for his Cookin’ on the Coast, a half-hour television series on Chek TV.
“You get neighbourhood people, the people there to see a game and those to specifically see him and eat his food,” said Stead.
Schack will offer a gourmet menu featuring a twist on the traditional hotdog, hamburger and sandwich.
“It’s still ballpark food with a bit of gourmet or chef twist on it,” Schack said.
Past ballpark upgrades include a Hawaiian dog with pineapple relish, maui sauce and fresh cilantro.
“We might do a three-cheese burger on a brioche bun or something. We did a barbecue burger with an onion ring one year,” he said.
This year he plans to serve a smoked meat sandwich with sauerkraut and ballpark mustard; balsamic onion and sweet red pepper dog with melted havarti; applewood cheddar burger with crispy onions and back bacon and poutine.
It’s the fifth year of the fundraiser, the fourth funding KidSport, which has provided $40,997 for children to play baseball, softball and fastball in the region over the past three years.
KidSport has funded 35 kids $5,940 through Carnarvon Ball.
“We fund children into over 200 sports in the CRD and every donation goes towards paying a registration fee into over 70 different sports for children from low-income families,” said Patti Hunter, general manager at KidSport Greater Victoria. “Sport registration fees paid provides opportunity for children to learn teamwork, fair play, dedication and commitment. Kids learn how to set goals and work to achieve them, all while having fun as they acquire important lifelong social and fundamental movement skills.”
Since starting grants in 2002, they’ve funded 1,045 children $133,609 into baseball in general.
“Kids increase their sense of self-confidence through sport and live happier, healthier lifestyles now and later on in life,” Hunter said.
KidSport often gets responses, confirming the good their work does. For example, Jenny wrote: “If it wasn’t for your program my child wouldn’t be able to participate in baseball, a sport he truly loves. I wish you could see the joy in his face when he is playing this sport. Thank you so very much and my child thanks you as well. I appreciate the generosity of strangers so my son can participate in something he loves.”
Schack returns for his third year as guest chef with Stead and meeting and greeting with the neighbourhood to support Carnarvon Ball and KidSport.
“It’s fun I get to give back to KidSport. I have a couple kids myself so it’s nice to give back. I’d like to see more kids playing sports and less on computers myself,” he said.
With an even split to the causes – the other half helps send a qualifying team to provincials – about $600 went to KidSport last year.
“As a citizen of Oak Bay you see the fun and energy that the kids have playing the game. There are always the children who don’t have that opportunity,” Stead said. “You want everyone to be on the same level. Sports are important to kids and their development and how they grow. I think everybody should be able to play and if we can help a few kids that’s awesome.”
Those headed for the park can expect to see some great ball on the field, as teams have regularly scheduled games that afternoon, and maybe hear a little singing from the kitchen, according to Schack.
“It’s just fun being in a different kitchen and working with Shannon down there,” he said. “It really is just about having fun. My pressures of being in my own kitchen are a lot different than being there cooking with those guys.”
Grand Slam Gourmet is at Carnarvon Park with guest chef Schack to support a local team and KidSport on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 4 p.m.
“It’s an easy fundraiser because people want to go there and eat,” Stead said. “It’s not that expensive but it’s really good. ”