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Taste of the Wild: New foods, old favs for 2022-23 season

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Executive Chef Kyle Bowles knows his job is a balancing act, keeping up with trends and tastes while staying true to the old school hockey fan.

ST PAUL, Minn. — There will be butterflies in the locker room Thursday night as the Minnesota Wild open its season against the New York Rangers. Even wily vets like Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Goligosky will feel some nerves as the hometown hockey club begins another push for the Stanley Cup.

Believe it or not, there will be nervous excitement in the kitchens, clubs and concession stands as well, as chefs, cooks, servers and customer service pros prep to feed a hungry crowd approaching 19,000. As he does before each season, Wild Executive Chef Kyle Bowles has prepared a new menu with the aim of balancing trendy and popular offerings with tried-and-true standards favored by the old school hockey fan.

“It’s kind of a new world, even compared to five years ago, everybody wants an experience, which is what we try to provide,” Bowles explains. “There’s people who just want a hot dog, I personally love a hot dog, but there’s also people at a normal Wild game who want caviar. So we do everything in between, try and stay fresh and fun, do cool things and try to stay above the competition.”

Here are some of the new offerings Chef Kyle has whipped up, with plenty of help from his loyal crew.

Swedish Meatball Sliders: Complete with Grandma’s gravy, homemade pickles and lingonberry jam – Suite level, The Reserve

BBQ Corn Ribs: Chef Kyle giggles a bit while admitting he saw this on TikTok. Sectioned corn on the cob dipped in melted butter and coated with barbeque dry rub – Suite level, The Reserve

Hand Carved Reuben Sandwich: Corned beef, Russian dressing and sauerkraut on thick-cut marble rye. Club-level.

Homemade Mac and Cheese: White cheddar and finished with seasoned toasted bread crumbs. Club-level

Spicy Cauliflower: With coconut curry mayo, red chili and fresh cilantro. Herbies on the Park.

Smoked Bone-In Pork Chop: Smothered in Peach Chutney, served with sharp cheddar poblano grits and crispy brussels sprouts. Herbies on the Park

Signature Bone-In Wings: Chef Kyle is “Super Stoked” about the reopening of the Taphouse, the X’s sports bar themed spot that has been closed for two years following the COVID outbreak. There are five flavors including: classic Buffalo, St. Paul Smoked BBQ and three that are brand new creations.

Peanut butter and jelly wings: Brushed with raspberry jelly and rolled in freshly crushed peanuts.

Pickles: Coated with a dill rub and vinegar. Chef Kyle says, “Think of a pickle chip…”

Street Corn: Brushed in mayo and coated with roasted corn and seasonings

Wings can be found at The Taphouse, along with Pepper Jack Mac Bites. Think spicy mac and cheese stuffed into a tater tot.

At the concession level, fans can find the hand-pattied City Burger and hand-cut fries, products that Chef Kyle says are a step above conventional fare. Also new are Street Corn Bites, White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookie Dough, giant T-Rex Cookies and classic Chicken Tendies with Wild sauce.

Chef Kyle says the Wild will continue its partnership with honored St. Paul restaurant Revival, but can’t reveal specifics yet. There is also a new all-inclusive food and beverage package that is served family style, and includes appetizers, salads, entrees and side dishes, with a first-intermission charcuterie board and second intermission desert.

It will be heavy lifting, especially during the first few weeks, but Bowles and his entire food staff are counting the hours until fans come streaming through the gates, hungry both for a win and for food that make for a memorable game experience.

“That’s what I’m here for,” he says with conviction. “I’m here for them. All of our guests, all of our season ticket holders, all of our family and friends to get back in here.”

Watch the latest recipes featured on KARE 11 News in our Youtube playlist: