Any long time follower of this blog knows that while 99% of the time I blog about food, and lots of it, I also love to write about adventures we have as a family; and fun things we find to do in our hometown. And many of you, especially if you live around here, know from a young age one of little man's favorite places to visit is our very own Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, which has been voted one of the best in the country time and time again.
Last summer we were invited out to enjoy a day at the zoo and then share that day with all of you. This summer we were once again invited out to enjoy a fun day, but with an exciting new twist! We were able to try some of the menu options at the zoo, and learn more how they feed all us visitors every day.
First off, if you haven't visited the zoo lately, you might be surprised to see all of the new options they have to feed you. With the remodel of the Australian Adventure, there is a brand new patio area with plenty of seating, and two new places to find something yummy to eat, Ray's Barefoot Grill and Matilda's. This happens to be our new favorite spot in the zoo, so we were excited to have lunch from Ray's.
|Such a beautiful spot, with plenty of tables!|
|Ray's has delicious grilled options from burgers to chicken.|
We quickly found what we wanted to try. For me? A grilled chicken breast sandwich and little man wanted the fried chicken tenders. Both came with delicious french fries, which appeared to be hand cut and fresh. The chicken was juicy and flavorful; both of us went on and on about just how tasty the whole meal was. It was the perfect portion too, for a light lunch while exploring the zoo.
|Every bite was yummier than the last.|
|Chef Matt and Alex! Foodies unite!|
What questions you might ask? Well, we had a few for Chef Matt, and here is what he had to say!
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a chef? And more specifically, a zoo chef?
I started washing dishes in a restaurant when I was 14. At that point I knew I liked the kitchen. I continued to work in restaurants as I went to school for marketing. Ultimately, I decided to go to culinary school and strived to be the best chef I could be. Working in zoos did not cross my mind, but a friend of mine became a chef at a different zoo and asked me to work with him. At that point I was hooked.2. What are some of your responsibilities as the head zoo chef? How does the menu get created?
Some of my responsibilities are client relations, sanitation, proper food handling, ordering, cost of goods, scheduling, menu design, and new concept development. Menus tend to get created in our off season. These reflect what guests want, what food is trending, and what we see works in other locations.3. What is the most popular food item at the zoo? What's your favorite?
As of now chicken tenders and fries are number one. My favorite would have to be the deep-fried peanut butter and jelly with candied bacon and powdered sugar. It’s a special we run from time to time at Matilda’s.4. What new things would like to bring to the zoo menu?
I would like to bring BBQ to the zoo, and possibly lemonade shake-ups.5. Are you able to provide foods for people with special dietary needs?
Yes, we do have vegetarian options and can typically take care of vegan needs. We’re looking into providing more gluten-free options.The other really cool (pun intended) new addition to the zoo we discovered was the Icee Station located in the Indonesian Rainforest! Yep, you can build your own Icee from one of the delicious flavor choices like Mango, Pina Colada, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry Lemonade and more! My little dude was super excited about this one!
If you are planning a trip to the zoo this summer, be sure to take the time to explore all of the delicious, and in my opinion rather affordable food options they have. There are so many amazing things to see, why not include a tasty treat too? For a list of menu options and prices, click here.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary day at the zoo in exchange for this feature. Plus tickets for a giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
To Enter: Leave me a comment telling me your favorite animal to visit at the zoo! Be sure to leave an email address so I can find you.
(1) Winner will receive (1) Family 4 pack of tickets for the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.
Contest Ends: July 30, 2015