Climate Pledge Arena ‘cook’ up novel ideas


Climate Pledge Arena selects Delaware North Image: Climate Pledge Arena

Climate Pledge Arena (US), the future home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) Seattle Kraken, four-time Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) champions Seattle Storm and premier live music and entertainment, announced recently that it has selected global hospitality and entertainment company Delaware North to manage its onsite food and beverage services.

The 17,459-capacity Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington (US) is a complete redevelopment of a historic landmark on the Seattle Center campus. Upon completion in October 2021, it will be the first-ever net Zero Carbon certified arena in the world. The development is led by the Oak View Group, the largest sports and entertainment developer in the world. It will serve as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.

The Climate Pledge, which was founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019, is a commitment from companies globally to be net zero carbon by 2040. The complete redevelopment of this historic landmark, originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, will be an industry first.

The ‘Climate Pledge Arena’ stated that Delaware North will play a significant part in building ‘The Climate Collective,’ the arena’s unique food and beverage program featuring curated vendors, local ingredients and partners that capture the spirit of the Pacific Northwest.

Buffalo (New York)-based Delaware North is a global hospitality and entertainment company founded in 1915 and owned by the Jacobs family for more than 100 years. Delaware North operates at high-profile places such as sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, cultural landmarks, destination resorts and restaurants, airports, and regional casinos. Delaware North associates are dedicated to delighting guests by creating the world’s best experiences. Delaware North serves millions of guests each year in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurant and catering, lodging, gaming, and specialty retail industries.

The ‘Climate Pledge Arena’ quoted Steve Mattson, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Climate Pledge Arena, as stating, “‘The Climate Collective’ will be an innovative, sustainable, fan-focused food and beverage program that brings all of the flavors of the Pacific Northwest to life. I’ve worked with Delaware North for many years and know firsthand how invested they are in our success at Climate Pledge Arena. They will help us never lose track of what’s most important – our fans.”

Delaware North CEO Charlie Jacobs put in, “Climate Pledge Arena is a glimpse into the future, in terms of fan experience and sustainable venue operations. This type of forward thinking perfectly aligns with our core values, and we are excited to deliver our innovation and distinct brand of hospitality. Our partners at Oak View Group and the Seattle Kraken are setting a new standard, and we are thrilled to be part of the team.”

In addition to owning and operating the 19,580-capacity TD Garden in Boston (US) – home of the NHL team Boston Bruins and NBA team Boston Celtics – Delaware North operates concessions, premium dining, event catering, and year-round restaurants and retail at more than 50 venues across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Asia.

Said Ken Gaber, Vice-President, Strategic Operations, Delaware North Sportservice, “We’re working hard behind the scenes as we speak to bring together an arena food and beverage experience unlike any in the industry at present. Climate Pledge Arena will have abundant local flavors and brands, and it’ll feature conveniences never before seen at this scale.”

Pick of the lot

The team has already brought on Steve Dominguez as General Manager and Molly D. De Mers as Executive Chef. De Mers -the first female executive chef for a new major professional sports venue at opening – and Dominguez both bring significant regional experience to a food and beverage program anchored in local flavors.

Dominguez most recently served as a District Manager for Centerplate, overseeing operations at the 47,943-capacity T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Seattle Aquarium, Washington State Ferries (Government agency that operates automobile and passenger ferry service), and the Yakima Convention Center in Washington. He came to Seattle in 2010 as General Manager of then-Safeco Field, which earned consistent accolades under his leadership – including for local craft beer selection and earning Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 overall ranking for both food safety and offering.

Dominguez also spent 10 years in leadership roles for Aramark at sports venues such as the 50,398-capacity Coors Field in Denver, 9,334-capacity Cashman Field Complex in Las Vegas and the 45,050-capacity Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California. He earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder and holds professional hospitality accreditations from the National Restaurant Association and Cornell University.

De Mers, who studied molecular gastronomy and earned a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts’ Scottsdale campus, comes to Climate Pledge Arena after three years as executive chef at Seattle Aquarium. While in that role, her focus on sustainability helped the property become Leadership Status-certified through the James Beard Foundation.

De Mers launched her culinary career in Las Vegas in 2006 and has since held executive sous chef or executive chef roles at high-volume destinations such as the 125,000-capacity San Diego Convention Center and the 5,000-capacity Denver Convention Center. Among other professional accolades, in 2016 she earned the prestigious San Diego County YWCA ‘Tribute to Women & Industry’ Award, which honors women who have made significant contributions to industry in managerial, executive, supervisory and/or professional roles.

Stated De Mers, “Our culinary team is focused on creating a quintessentially Pacific Northwest culinary experience that’s sure to leave guests feeling a strong sense of hometown pride.”

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