Houston Dynamo Football Club announced today a multi-year agreement with James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega, who will collaborate with Levy, hospitality partner of the Club. Together they will elevate the food and beverage experience at Shell Energy Stadium and feature local restaurants, purveyors, and eclectic flavors from Houston’s culinary community.
“We are thrilled to work with Hugo Ortega to reimagine the culinary experience that fans will enjoy this season and for years to come,” Club majority owner and chairman, Ted Segal said. “It’s vital that we bring the diverse and rich flavors of Houston into Shell Energy Stadium and this partnership provides us a tremendous opportunity to do so.”
Ortega is an avid fan of the Club and has been supporting the Dynamo and Dash since the franchise relocated in 2006. Through his deep roots and passion for sharing the vibrant Houston culinary community, Ortega will work with Levy to curate a collection of food and beverage destinations throughout the stadium that feature diverse local businesses. Fans will feel that passion in the form of Houston’s favorite and up-and-coming restaurants across the concourse, as well as new signature menus in club and suite areas influenced by Ortega’s own favorite flavors. A full list of local vendors will be announced in the coming weeks and the revamped menu will debut on March 18 for the Dynamo home opener against Austin FC.
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“As a lifelong soccer fan – with a childhood dream of being a professional player – I am thrilled to join Houston Dynamo Football Club by doing what I do best: serving the food and drink of my homeland of Mexico,” says Ortega. “There are so many wonderful changes happening at Shell Energy Stadium to enhance the fans’ experience, and we know that the authentic Mexican cuisine that we will offer will be an exciting new part of cheering on our hometown team. We encourage people to come see and enjoy all the new changes in support of our club.”
Ortega is the executive chef and co-owner of H Town Restaurant Group which operates Backstreet Cafe, Caracol, Hugo’s, URBE and Xochi. The Houston-based, family-owned and operated hospitality group was founded by Ortega and his wife, Tracy Vaught. The Mexico City native immigrated to Houston in 1984 and transformed the culinary scene in the Bayou City for the last three decades. Ortega is renowned for his hospitality offerings that champion the traditional foods and culture of his native country. His culinary career began at Backstreet Cafe in the late 1980s when he began as a dishwasher, then attended and graduated from the Culinary Arts Program at Houston Community College and became the restaurant’s executive chef.
Ortega is the first Mexican-born chef to win a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef. He received the honor in 2017, his sixth consecutive nomination as a finalist. His list of honors includes the Chef of the Year award in 2002 and 2012 from the Houston Culinary Awards. Additionally, he was bestowed the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 from the Southern Foodways Alliance.
“As we continue to prioritize the fan experience, this is another impactful project that has been in the works for months,” Club chief operating officer, Jessica O’Neill said. “With feedback from our supporters and stakeholders, we will work with chef Hugo to curate a more authentic and uniquely-Houston approach to match day.”
Shell Energy Stadium will open to the public for the first time to Dynamo fans on March 18 and for the first time to Dash fans on March 26 for each team’s respective home openers. These matches will be the first opportunity for fans to enjoy the all-inclusive air-conditioned club on the east concourse. Additional renovation projects include all-new mesh seats throughout the seating bowl. The multi-million-dollar renovations began in November 2022.