Michael Mina & Levi’s Stadium

Michael Mina is an award winning celebrity chef who has truly left his mark on the world of fine dining. The accomplished culinary craftsman is also a huge sports fan and especially loves the game of football. Mina will be merging his two passions when the new home of the San Francisco 49ers opens for the 2014 NFL season. Levi’s Stadium, located in the Santa Clara area, is an innovative facility that will set the standard for all sports’ grounds that follow. Part of the stadiums’ allure will be tied to the exciting eating opportunities it will offer fans.

Bourbon Steak & Pub is Mina’s newest restaurant concept and it will be placed prominently in Levi’s Stadium. Mina has created close to 20 upscale restaurants in his career, but Bourbon Steak & Pub holds a special place in his heart. Mina has been a San Francisco 49ers’ season ticket holder for over 20 years and naturally being a part of his favorite teams’ new stadium is a real treat for him. On game days, Bourbon Steak & Pub will be called Michael Mina’s Tailgate. Tailgate will offer seat holders an exclusive dining experience that is meant to serve as an upgrade to the traditional game day barbecues that friends and families have. On non-game days Bourbon Steak & Pub will be a lavish destination for those who seek the finest food and dining experience available.

We spoke to Michael Mina about his passion for cooking, his love for the 49ers, and why he believes food and football is a match made in heaven.

When did you realize you wanted to be a chef?

I grew up in a small town and started working in a restaurant when I was 15. I loved the restaurant business and loved cooking—but I had no idea you could make a profession out of being a chef—this was long before the Food Network and all of that. I was watching the old Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous television show with my parents and they were showing this chef in his restaurant. It was an epiphany for me…it occurred to me that there was a profession there. I started researching cooking schools and that was that.

Can you talk a little bit about what fans can expect from your contributions to Levi’s Stadium?

It’s a dream come true for me to be a part of Levi’s Stadium. My two big passions are cooking and football. I’ve been a 49ers’ fan since I was 10 years old. I’ve always had these great tailgate parties with some friends of mine who happen to be chefs also. When I was asked to do something for Levi’s Stadium I started thinking about taking those tailgate parties and making them a part of the stadium. When I think of tailgating I think of grills, cooking over fires and boiling big pots. I thought of things I did with friends and wanted to incorporate those things into the stadium’s dining.

Why are food and football such a perfect match?

First of all, it’s a natural thing because you need to eat during the 3-hour commitment of a game. The whole ceremonial aspect of tailgating is about being with friends, talking trash and eating a lot of good food. When you say “tailgating”— people think of food.

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