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Celebrity chefs, player serve tasty dishes

Chefs gather for a photo at the US Open Food Tasting Preview at ACES restaurant in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 3 of qualifying.
By Liz Kobak
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Star chefs and a top WTA player introduced some of the US Open’s newest culinary options in ACES lounge on Thursday afternoon.

Celebrity chef regulars Masaharu Morimoto, Tony Mantuano, David Burke and new addition Richard Sandoval unveiled specialty dishes 11 months in the making for the two-week tennis event. From candied-bacon hung on clips to truffle-infused grilled cheese, unique dishes cater to every fan and player’s palette. Before the tasting began, the Open’s No. 2 seed Simona Halep learned from her sushi coach how to make salmon rolls. The 2014 Roland Garros singles finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist giggled while Morimoto taught her proper rice-kneading technique.

“We’re trying to bring our game much higher,” said Levy Restaurants’ Regional Chef Jim Abbey, who oversees all culinary operations at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The USTA and official US Open restaurant partner Levy Restaurants sponsored the tasting event, which showcased familiar flavors from around the world – and new ones, too. For the first time ever, a food truck will be on site. Just outside Court 17, Morris Grilled Cheese Truck will serve the ever-delicious "delicate cheese" sandwich, creating a perfect match of truffle cheese, truffle butter, caramelized onions and shallots.

Also, “Street eats” mastermind Richard Sandoval of Maya fame brings his famous tacos to the Food Village. The Mexico City native had always dreamed of serving a ball at the Open but is content with only serving food. He’s especially excited about the opportunity of bringing his hometown flavors to another part of New York.

“I wish I were here as a player,” said Sandoval, who hung up his racquets in 1984 to pursue cooking full time. “But I’m happy to be here as a chef. My favorite is the first week because all of the players are here.”

More than 700,000 fans attend the US Open from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8, making it the world’s highest-attended annual sporting event. Serving guests at 60 concession stands, five restaurants, 100 luxury suites and the Player’s Lounge are 250 staff. ACES will feature Morimoto's sushi while Champions Bar & Grill is home to David Burke's American cuisine. The Food Village features Maya and Mantuano's Wine Bar Food, among other vendors such as Hill County Barbecue.

“The effort that goes into producing this event is amazing,” Burke said.

Engage in the food conversation on social media using the hashtag #FlavoroftheOpen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.