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NFL Pigskin: Giuseppe Tentori and the Chicago Bears

Giuseppe Tentori, chef at Chicago’s Boka and an F&W Best New Chef 2008, is originally from Lodi, Italy. A unique set of circumstances led him to become a Bears fan; Tentori explains in his own words below.

slideshow Chicago Bears: Italian Sausage Heroes with Peppers and Onions

How did you become a fan of the Bears?
I became a Bears fan because my ex-wife is a Packers fan. I barely knew anything about football, but to fight like cats and dogs I became a Bears fan. And I fell in love with the Bears.

Do you have any favorite foods you make while you watch or tailgate games?
Sausage, ribs, wings. For the Vikings versus Bears game there are a bunch of chefs that usually come down from Minnesota and they do a more elaborate tailgate—chicken, duck, et cetera. Tailgating isn’t about crazy food, it’s keeping it simple and real. It’s cold out, you just want to drink beer. And you don’t want to be too messy when you eat, you don’t want to use a fork and knife, you just want to use your fingers. Sausages, to me, are more a Lambeau Field thing. In Chicago you see a lot of ribs and wings. Going to the tailgate on Sunday is like going to church at 12:00 at Soldier Field. That’s what people say: “Let’s go to church.”

Favorite football beers?
It’s not fancy: Miller Lite and Budweiser. We also have scotch and whiskey; we usually do a shot or two before going into the stadium.

Any pregame superstitions?
I always wear my Bears hat, which I’ve been wearing for the last four years. And I wear my William “The Refrigerator” Perry #72 jersey (pictured above).

What are your predictions for the team?
I’m trying to be optimistic. I hope they’ll be playing well enough to make the playoffs. It’s going to be tough.

Which matchup are they most looking forward to?
Always Green Bay. I usually try to go when the Bears play at Lambeau.

What’s the greatest game you’ve ever seen?
In 2006 when the Bears went to the Super Bowl XLI, I had the choice to go on a safari in Africa or go to the Super Bowl in Miami. I decided to go to the Super Bowl. The kick return at the beginning of the game, when the Bears ran it in for a touchdown—those were the best 15 seconds of my life.

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