PM360 spoke to Jim Lefevere, Director, Global Digital Marketing at Roche Diagnostics, about how he took his love of food and football to another level.
PM360: We hear that food and football has become a family “sport.” Tell us a bit about that.
Lefevere: Yes, I am an unabashed foodie. I love to cook and barbeque, and I am a huge sports fan. Each year I combine my love of food and football by traveling with my brother and brother-in-law to an NFL game in a different U.S. city to soak in the local flavors and pigskin action.
What cities have you been to and what are your favorite spots in those cities?
There are 32 teams in the NFL, so there has been no shortage of opportunities to visit cities with great food. A few places I’ve enjoyed so far include Tennessee where we had some famous Prince’s Hot Chicken—it was definitely hot. Kansas City, of course, means barbeque. I love good barbeque and there are some great places to try in Kansas City. I recommend Arthur Bryant’s and Fiorella’s Jack Stack down in the Meat Packing District. We’ve traveled to Green Bay for a game on the frozen tundra in mid-December and of course sampled some bratwursts and cold beer. Cleveland brought steaks and hanging out in The Flats. We’ve been to Pittsburgh and headed to the legendary Primanti Brothers down in the Strip District for their “Almost Famous” sandwich that puts the fries and coleslaw right on top. Then there was Dallas for some great Texas barbeque, just to name a few.
How did you get into this as a hobby?
I grew up in South Bend, IN, which is home to Notre Dame. Every fall was filled with going out to the games, selling programs, tailgating and watching the Irish win a big game. So the love of football has always been there. The love of food came later in life, but putting the two together was quite natural for all of us since my brother-in-law is a freelance writer and often writes about food and my brother enjoys many of the same things I do.
There have been a few years when one or more of us misses a game or two, but we always know when April comes around and the NFL releases their schedule for the year that we’ll be discussing the merits and potential destinations based on the quality of the food and, to a much lesser extent, the quality of football.
I love this type of tradition that involves getting together and enjoying the common bonds of family and life—food and football.
That sounds fun. What U.S. cities have you not visited that you are looking forward to visiting?
We have discussed other destinations including Baltimore for crab cakes and seafood. We are also looking at going to Boston and we need to do a West Coast swing at some point.
The NFL has played a couple of games internationally in the past couple of years. Name a few international cities on your wish list, and tell us why.
I think the NFL has only played in London so far. I’ve been before and you wouldn’t need to ask me twice to go back. I’d love to go back to Ireland at some point and maybe, just maybe the NFL will stage a game in Italy some time. That would be perfect.