Club chefs usually have tons of helpful hacks to make service, prep or chef life a little bit easier. These tips can range from advanced to simple, from entertaining to exceedingly practical. Here are eight great tips from top club chefs.
- “I use two sour cream lids on top of one another to slice grapes or olives in half—well, most of them anyway.”—Marshall Violante, Executive Chef, Saddle and Cycle Club, Chicago
- “We have a pressure braiser that has really helped our efficiency—when it used to take 90 minutes, we can now make a cranberry sauce in seven, or short ribs in 25 minutes.”—Scott Craig, CEC, CCA, WCMC, Director of Culinary Operations, Myers Park Country Club, Charlotte, N.C.
- “I use the microwave to make crispy herb chips. You take a plate, cover it with plastic wrap, brush it with oil, lay out the herbs, brush them again, lay another piece of plastic, then microwave for a minute. You get a much better product doing it this way instead of frying them.”—Matthew O’Connor, CEC, Executive Chef, Bonnie Briar Country Club, Larchmont, N.Y
- “Drop grape tomatoes into the fryolator for 15 seconds, then put them in ice water and the skin will pop right off.”—Mark Mathurin, Executive Chef, Nashawtuc Country Club, Concord, Mass.
- “To fill a squeeze bottle, take a big piece of plastic wrap and spread it out on a table or inside of a large bowl. Put whatever sauce you are trying to fill the bottle with on the wrap, then gather up all the edges so it’s like a bladder. Hold it over your squeeze bottle and pop a hole in the bladder with a pairing knife. It’ll fill it right up, and there’s zero mess.”—David Vlach, Executive Chef, Woodhill Country Club, Wayzata, Minn.
- “I like to put a cork on my knives when I’m traveling, to protect them.”—Carolyn King, Executive Chef, Edgartown (Mass.) Yacht Club
- “My Executive Sous Chef will take a piece of thread, tie one end to a button on his chef’s coat. and then tie the other end to a pole on the prep table and use it as an egg slicer.”—Penelope Wong, Former Executive Chef, Glenmoor Country Club, Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
- “I use fleur de sel as the finishing touch on almost every dish.”—Vincent Horville, Executive Chef, The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C.)