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NFL Pigskin: Gavin Kaysen and the San Diego Chargers

While he was the chef at El Bizcocho in San Diego, Gavin Kaysen not only was named an F&W Best New Chef 2007, but he was also invited to cook for the San Diego Chargers football team. Though he has since moved on to head up the kitchen at Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud in New York, he remains a committed Chargers fan.

slideshow San Diego Chargers: Family-Style Pork Tacos

When did you become a Chargers fan?
I was never a huge football fan until all of my cooks and I would be eating family meal together and the Chargers were all they would talk about. I figured if I wanted to be in on the conversation, I better figure out what’s going on in football. That was about 3 years ago.

Do you have any favorite foods you make while you watch games?
Anything that’s simple to clean up. I had a bunch of my cooks over once and I did three different kinds of flatbreads and a big batch of nachos. All easy clean-up.

Do you know of any unique tailgating or food traditions connected to the Chargers?
I only had the time to go to one game and it was special, that was when L.T. [running back LaDainian Tomlinson] broke all the records. I do know that [guard] Mike Goff likes to cook for the boys when the game is over.

Favorite San Diego brews?
This is easy: Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co. They are a local beer company and great guys. We did a beer versus wine dinner with them at El Bizcocho. Beer won by 2 points!

Any pregame superstitions?
None.

If you could be any player on the current roster, who would you be?
L.T. (pictured, above) I would love to know what it feels like to be able to run that fast. He is an amazing athlete to watch.

Got any predictions for the team? Final season record, or how they’ll do against their rival?
The rival is the Raiders, and that game they will win, no question. Final record will be 4 losses total.

Which matchup are you most looking forward to?
Usually the Raiders, because there is always great energy during those games.

F&W paired the Chargers with Pork Tacos. Do you agree? Disagree?
I agree. Tacos are a big thing in San Diego. We do them with fish but can see how the pork is in there. The only problem is they have a huge appetite and they could eat a lot of tacos.

Philip Rivers and L.T.: Love/Hate or Love/Love?
Love/Love, baby. They are a good team together and this year is going to be a great one to watch.

So you’re still a Chargers fan, even though you now work in the city that’s home to the NFL Super Bowl Champions?
I am still a big Charger fan even though I am in NYC now. Once you cook with one of those big guys, you are afraid to not cheer for them.

Being a Chargers fan in NYC: Head high, head low?
Head high.

Plus:

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