Robert L. Daugherty
Executive Chef | The Peninsula Golf & Country Club | Millsboro, DE
How do you describe the personality of your cooking
I’m heavily focused on American regional cuisine with
dietary needs. ;ose who are conscious of carbs love the
cauli;ower mash and the “no-carb breakfast.”
Are you able to fully showcase your culinary creativity
at a country club environment, or are there certain
guidelines to stay inside of?
;is is my ;rst country club experience and it’s all new
to me. I feel as though I have free rein to cook whatever
I like and that’s enjoyable. I try to keep it versatile and
fun, because members are coming several times a week.
A handful of items on the menu change every ;ursday,
and on Wednesdays, we have our Iron Chef Night. ;is is
a three-course, prix-;xe menu where two of our cooks get
a common ingredient and go head-to-head. We also have
wine and beer dinners (that sell out fast). Mainly, I try to
cook great food at a good price point.
What was it that drew you into the country club
Now that my wife and I are empty nesters, we decided
to return to the area where we dated 30 years ago. In a twist
of fate, this job opened up, and less than a year later— we’re
settled in our newly built dream home and loving the beach
life and warm climate.
Does a lot of your influence come from the local/
regional area where you reside? And if so, what inspires
I’m in a learning phase because I was in the New England
setting for three decades. I was used to lobsters, clams, and a
Portuguese in;uence on the food around me. ;is area is a
refreshing change. It’s the heartland of America, and this was
my ;rst full season watching the ;elds grow. We planted a
community garden right on the club’s property and are able
to source our herbs and vegetables from the backyard.
When you cook at home vs. at work, what’s different
about your food’s personality?
;e kitchen that my wife and I are in now is the best
I’ve ever had, so I’m having a lot of fun. My cooking style
is pretty much the same in my personal life. We enjoy
scratchmade food and o;en prepare dishes like quiche with
good gruyere cheese from Switzerland, pastas, and seasonal
salads. Last night I made my ;rst peach pie at home!
What’s your favorite comfort dish to make for yourself?
My kids love my “Impossible Cheeseburger Pie” (cooked
ground beef with cheese and mushroom soup baked in a
casserole dish) so much that when my boys come home, we
have to make two. My wife is also a great cook and is happy
to help out in the kitchen when I come home tired.
For those home cooks who are intimidated by the
kitchen but still want to attempt an impressive meal,
what’s your best advice?
Don’t over-reach your ability, keep it simple, break it
down, plan, take your time, and have fun. Whenever we do
cooking classes, I always ask people, “Have you ever heard
of the expression “mise en place?” I explain that it’s a philosophy in the kitchen. Have all of the ingredients, chop,
prep, etc. ;is helps a lot of people organize.