What aromatics do you suggest folks to use at home to
incorporate flavors, sauces, etc.?
I’m a big fan of toasted seeds like cardamom and
coriander and I love to crush them to make rubs and
marinades. I also enjoy using fruitier oils (like grapeseed)
that bring out the flavors in proteins. For lighter proteins
like fish, I go light and mild with ingredients like dill,
lemon zest, or other types of citrus rubs. For meats
or heavier items, I like robust herbs and flavors like
rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
When we spoke a year ago, you mentioned this was
your first country club experience and was all new to
you. What have been your biggest learning curves that
have helped you to grow in this position?
It’s all about continuing to learn what our members
want and what style of cuisine they’re enjoying. I
want to feel like I’m taking them on my path of my
experience with cooking. I want to introduce them to
things from my past and my history of food. Learning
our membership and getting them to trust us and have
confidence in us and our events is important to me. It’s
certainly blossomed because many of our events now sell
The personal preferences of members is also very
important to us. There are quite a number of people who
are gluten-free and conscious of what they’re eating so
for us—yes is always the answer. If they want something
off of the menu, we never say no. That’s our attitude.
Our biggest learning curve right now is managing
reservations and the dining room. We need to make sure
we’re maximizing our numbers, but also making sure
that the flow into the kitchen is executed properly. It’s all
about restaurant 101 and making sure the dining room
floor is managed effectively. If you’re doing 220 to 230
covers on a weekend night, you gotta be on point!
How do you get feedback from your members on what’s
working for them and what they’d like to see improve?
We have a notes section called 4 Ts (which is the
Open Table of the club house world) and customers can
comment on what they like or want. We’re doing an in-house baking program now because we’ve had so many
requests for celebration cakes. Folks also put down their
dietary needs and table requests, so all of this helps us
customize members’ experiences in the dining room.
You were in a New England setting for three decades
and used to lobsters, clams, and a Portuguese influence on the food. Last year was your first full season
watching the fields grow. What regional ingredients
have you really grown to love?
Crab season is coming around so I’m definitely enjoying
working with the local crabs. I also have a guy working
with us whose dad has a farm, and this year we’re buying
his tomatoes and corn. We’ve developed this menu item
called “3-hour Corn” where the idea is that the corn is
picked and on your table in just three hours. Its will be
in the form of a fresh corn salad, street corn, etc. The
tomatoes are also coming in and they’re just simple,
beautiful, vine-ripened tomatoes that are sweet and deep
red in color. Nothing compares to them!