With a kitchen renovation still a few years out, Kelly Green G&CC’s Executive Chef Drew Tait is looking for new ways to motivate his team and please his members.
As club chefs, one of our biggest challenges is not becoming stale, comfortable or burned out. We push every day to do something different, even when we’re tired, and even at the tail end of an 80-hour week. Because this is who we are and this is what we do best.
Staying current on trends, thinking outside of the box and working through challenges are skill sets every chef needs to continually evolve. Three years ago here at Kelly Greens, a full kitchen renovation and expansion seemed imminent. It was exciting meeting with designers and contractors, researching new equipment and planning out how we could improve the overall flow of the kitchen so that we could better take on the next ten years of growth at the club. Unfortunately, three years later we are still at least two years away from breaking ground on a new kitchen.
For my first two years here at Kelly Greens most of my long term thoughts and plans were for what we would be pursuing after the kitchen was updated. The first step would be creating and building a new outside dining facility that would be serviced by the main kitchen. But I also had thoughts about reintroducing home catering for members, introducing block parties in each of our separate communities, rolling out a rotating menu of pre-made meals that would add convenience for some of our members who do not frequent the club that often. I’ve had thoughts of selling a quart of soup, house-made trail mixes, branding our unique spaces, expanding our garden and creating brand new things for our members to enjoy. Many of these plans hinge on having more production space, cold storage space and equipment. But now that the kitchen has been wrapped into a larger, multi-phase campus upgrade, a lot of these plans will be placed on hold until we have the capacity to bring them to reality.
After two years of getting everything on track with our basic operation, improving consistency, enhancing variety, improving quality and bringing pride and excitement back to Kelly Greens’s culinary program I must take my focus from big bold plans down to what we can accomplish in the next 2 years while still planning for the new kitchen.
But how do we avoid becoming stagnated while working out of our current space and waiting for the opportunity to unleash all of these big plans bouncing around in my head?
Our goal this next year is to do every single event better and introduce new ideas to enhance past successes. We are also planning to introduce new fun events for our members to enjoy. From the space the function happens in to the types of menus we will produce, everything will be different. This is the best way for us to bring a breath of fresh air to our F&B operation while still working out of our current kitchen.
We will have to push the boundaries while dealing with inadequate storage spaces, old equipment and all of the frustrations we have been working through the last few years. This is my new challenge and it will be my focus for the next year to keep things fresh for our members and to keep them interested and happy.
I still have lots of big ideas that I want work on, think about and plan for. But for now, to keep our team motivated, we are going to be stepping out of our comfort zone to try to do things differently. Some things won’t work out how we plan but we will use those opportunities to learn and grow so we can be ready for future challenges. These changes are exciting and invigorating. They will force us to keep it moving here until we have our new kitchen. And once we do, we will turn up the heat and launch some massive changes that will introduce new and even more exciting things for our members to enjoy.