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Possible plates coming to the Whitecaps menu Opening Day

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WYOMING, Mich. – It’s that tasty time of year again when we can fast forward to spring and get ready for baseball season, as the West Michigan Whitecaps taste-test dozens of possible plates to add to their stadium menu.

Tuesday morning marked the Annual Whitecaps Food Show, where vendors at Gordon Food Service headquarters in Wyoming hoped to give a winning pitch to sell their product to the Whitecaps’ stadium menu this April.

Some corporate chefs said they started creating their plates as early as November, cooking outside-of-the-box eats that are a play on some of the typical ballpark menu items; but the trick is making the dish easy to put together at a ballpark.

“When you go to a ballpark, you think of pretzels, so we wanted to bring a twist to that: pretzel breading at the ballpark,” said Kevin VanderMeer, Michaels & Associates Corporate Chef. “We breaded the Italian sausage, put it on a nice gourmet club roll, and spicy mustard goes on it as well.”

Whitecaps officials said in addition to being tasty, the dish has to be portable and relatively easy to make at the ballpark in order to be voted onto this season’s menu. And believe it or not, some taste-testers thought this year’s options are healthier than in previous food shows.

“There’s not as much bacon on items, maybe some smaller portions,” said Mickey Graham, Whitecaps director of marketing and media.

“I think people are trying to get the healthier aspect of it, without really going to the salad: being healthy without really knowing you’re being healthy.”

Fans also submitted some of top picks they wanted to see brought into the ballpark menu. Graham said beginning Feb. 26, fans will vote on what is going to be on the menu, between the top choices from Tuesday’s vendors as well as what the fans said they wanted to start eating come opening day, April 9.

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