Meet the Chefs of Sodexo Live!: Chef Javier Rosa

Published on : 7/13/22
  • Javier Rosa: Executive Chef at T-Mobile Park

    Javier Rosa, the new executive chef at T-Mobile Park, may be a relative newcomer to the Seattle area, but he’s quickly grown to love his new home. The chef, who was with Ritz-Carlton for 17 years in various locations including Europe, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., Miami and Orlando, is relishing his position at the baseball stadium, where he gets to flex his culinary skills using the plentiful seasonal ingredients he has access to. We caught up with the chef to talk about his early influences and where he gets his food inspiration these days.

    Interviewer: How long have you been in Seattle?

    Chef Javier Rosa: I’ve been in this position with Sodexo Live! for about five months now, and I’ve been with the company for three years. I’ve lived in different areas in the country — the East Coast, the West Coast, the South — but this is the first time I’ve lived in the Northwest. I’ve been able to explore Seattle and Portland, Oregon, and all they have to offer. The variation is amazing.

    Interviewer: What got you interested in the culinary field?

    Chef Javier Rosa: Since I was a kid, I was working in the kitchen with my mom and my dad. We have a big family and we do big events all the time. I was probably 4 or 5 years old, and I’d pull up a stool right beside my mom in the kitchen. I was always helping her cook. My grandmother has a big farm[in Puerto Rico] and I remember all the produce we used in our kitchen were from there. That definitely helped me understand more about product and freshness and working with quality produce. And I always knew I wanted to be a chef. After school, I took a job right away working in a small restaurant in Puerto Rico, making my skills better. Today, I love what I do and come to work excited every day.

    Interviewer: Other than from your family, where else do you get your culinary inspiration?

    Chef Javier Rosa: Every place I live, I look for the fresh market to see what they have. Here in Seattle, Pike's Market is amazing because it’s not just open on the weekends, it’s open the whole week, and you can see the rotation of farmers every day and you see all that fresh produce. You talk to them about seasonal ingredients and I adapt some of my menus based on that. That helps me a lot, because I have to come up with at least 85 different menus throughout the year. I need to go every week to get my brain just thinking about how can I use the ingredients in different ways. I also love being close to the water and knowing what kind of fish we have coming, or the crab legs coming from Alaska and Canada. The quality of the seafood, the color and the freshness, is amazing.

    Interviewer: How many people do you cook for at T-Mobile Park?

    Chef Javier Rosa: We have a lot of different clubs. The All-Star Club in the street level serves 250 fans every game. We have our Diamond Club, which is in the bottom baseline, behind the home-play field, where we serve 450 people. The suites, which are always sold out, have 1,000 people. We serve all the media and broadcasters, and everyone who comes to televise the game. When we don’t have a game, we serve around 150 people, all employees of the stadium. And the players are one of our most important audiences — we serve them breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-game dinner, serving them healthy food pretty much all day long.

    Interviewer: What are some of the more popular menu items you've created?

    Chef Javier Rosa: There is definitely a lot of seafood involved, like this amazing crab sandwich that’s selling a lot. We do smoking here as well. I've been I bring my own recipes and we smoke pretty much all the meats. We don't buy it premade. We have a dish here we call the long bone short rib that takes almost 18 hours to smoke and falls right off the bone. People love it. It's one of the items that we added to the menu at the barbecue stand here. I've also been bringing a lot of my Latin roots here and I’ve been trying to incorporate a lot of Latin flavors. It’s a combination of a lot of herbs. It’s not spicy but it's a lot of seeds that are employed to enhance the flavor profile.

    Interviewer: Have you worked in other types of venues before?

    Chef Javier Rosa: I've done collegiate and professional basketball, tennis tournaments. I’ve also done a football stadium with the Miami Dolphins. And now I’m doing baseball, so that means I’ve pretty much done all the sports! I've also been able to serve fans at a Super Bowl. The only one that I haven't done is the All-Star Game, and I believe that I put myself here because I'm looking forward to having that here in 2023. It fulfills me as a chef knowing that people will walk in the door and you will be able to serve them and provide food for them.

    Interviewer: It sounds like Sodexo Live! is a good fit for you.

    Chef Javier Rosa: Absolutely. I love Sodexo Live! I’ve had so many opportunities to work and travel around with the company. I have become more adventurous with working with other chefs and working toward one goal together: to be the best.