The lineup of top chefs feeding the crowds at this year’s US Open, which begins on Monday, rivals the tennis stars — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams, among them — competing for top prizes. But no matter who wins on the court, the fans are sure to be winners when it comes to eats at the annual fest in Flushing.
James Beard Award-winning chef Wiley Dufresne — who makes quirky flavored treats at Du’s Donuts in Williamsburg — has created special US Open red, white and blue doughnut confections that will be available at David Chang’s Fuku pop-up in Food Village.
Slices of strawberry and blueberry doughnuts sandwich a vanilla-ice-cream center, and baked bits of the doughnuts are rolled along the outside of the sandwich, “to feel like the old Good Humor bar,” says Dufresne.
Dufresne has history with the Open, having worked the overnight shift in 1993. “I came to work at 11 p.m. and left at 7 a.m. I worked in one of the commissary kitchens,” he tells The Post. “I was making, like, 500 pounds of tomato sauce and peeling 200 pounds of potatoes, but the coolest thing was back then, you’d get a break at 3 in the morning. I had a pass, and security was different in 1993, and you could go anywhere on the grounds. So I would go to center court and lie on my back and just look up. It was a very cool thing that you could never do these days.”
Chang, of Momofuku fame, is back at the Open for his second time. “I was not prepared for the ravenous appetite of tennis fans,” he says of his rookie year.
This time, he’s debuting a burger that he calls a “nice contrast” to his beloved spicy fried-chicken sandwich (which will also be available).
The “simple” patty comes on a specially made bing (Chinese flatbread) bun from Harlem-based Hot Bread Kitchen, and is served with an umami-rich fermented-chickpea “hozon” sauce.
Harlem hotshot Marcus Samuelsson is making his Open debut, taking over Mojito Restaurant & Bar outside the Arthur Ashe stadium and serving fare like red snapper with coconut-crab fritters and ropa-vieja-styleshort ribs.
Chef Ed Brown, a two-decade Open veteran, is helming the Aces restaurants on the grounds. In addition to hosting “Iron Chef” and sushi master Masaharu Morimoto, Aces (in Arthur Ashe) will serve classic seafood favorites, including its best-seller, crabcakes. But Brown says he’s excited to introduce a potato-chip-crusted cod — and a new sustainable salad.
“Something really interesting we did this year with the tomato-buffalo mozzarella salad: We’re using a local farm in New Jersey, and we’re buying imperfectly delicious produce,” he says. “This is produce that often gets wasted or turned under. We’re signing on to take on that product so that it’s not wasted, which is great for the farmers, but it’s great for the environment as well.”
For chef David Burke, whose BLT Steakhouse at Champions Bar & Grill in the stadium is preparing clothesline bacon, the pressure at the US Open isn’t just on the tennis players.
“When you’re only open for two weeks, you don’t have time to make up for your mistakes,” Burke says. “You have to get it right Day 1.” And you’ve also got to offer something original.
— Catherine Kast
Making a racket
Tennis players won’t be the only ones with the hits at this weekend’s US Open. Musicians both young and seasoned will have fans bouncing to the beat in their seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Shania Twain headlines the tournament Monday night, serving up pop-country numbers from her “That Don’t Impress Me Much” heyday, along with songs from her upcoming album, “Now.”
But first, on Saturday, a new generation of hit-makers will perform at the annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. YouTube sensation Alex Aiono, 21, will make his third appearance here, performing his latest single, “Does It Feel Like Falling.”
“Every time I’ve been there there’s been this great, fun energy,” says the Arizona native, who’s famous for his soulful covers. “I see tennis inspiring children and giving them great mentors and great inspiration growing up, and I think music is the same.”
Other Kids’ Day performers include pop-rap duo Jack and Jack, Disney actress/singer Sofia Carson and the bands Why Don’t We, New Hope Club and Saving Forever, along with the young winners of the 2017 US Open Anthem competition, who’ll sing patriotic songs for the crowd.
‘I see tennis inspiring children and giving them great mentors and great inspiration growing up, and I think music is the same.’
There are a dozen in all, chosen from 200 hopefuls from around the country. This year’s performers range from 9 to 14 years old.
Yonkers resident Brandon Hernandez, 13, who’s sung here twice before, is looking forward to his third appearance.
“There are very few kids who have been able to do this event, so you just gotta hope the right person at the right time will be there,” Brandon says. “But I’m a ‘dream big’ type of guy. I want to be an actor, professional singer, play major-league baseball. Dream big or don’t dream.”
Long Island’s Vivienne Coletta, 10, says she can’t wait to sing “America the Beautiful” and other songs in front of the biggest crowd she’s ever faced.
“Whenever I’m belting out a song for my brothers, they always say, ‘Can you stop singing for one day?’ ” says Vivienne, who hopes to make it one day to Broadway. “But when you love doing something, you don’t stop.”
— Lauren Steussy
Tee’d up for tennis
This isn’t your standard souvenir tee.
Ralph Lauren’s shop on the grounds of the US Open is providing tennis fans with the ability to put their own spins on the brand’s classic polo shirts, printing the designs on-site in minutes.
Customers use touch screens to choose their prints, colors and name or initials customization. There are nice main graphics, ranging from whimsical (a delightful Polo Bear clad in the official ball person uni) to classic (crossed retro rackets at the chest).
Prices start at $59.50 for kids and $98.50 for men and women.
— Catherine Kast
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