Beyond his role as Executive Chef at the Platinum-ranked Myers Park Country Club (Charlotte, N.C.)—a position he’s held for the past five years—Scott Craig is also a Certified Master Chef through the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS).
Before discovering his love of culinary, Craig studied psychology at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.). He then trained at two top private clubs—Baltimore Country Club (Lutherville-Timonium, Md.) and the Chevy Chase (Md.) Club.
His resume is packed with gastronomic accomplishments, but most notably he is the 2012 Culinary Olympic gold medalist and his blog, www.ifyoucanstandtheheat.com, has reached over 36,000 readers in 82 countries.
Achievements aside, food is his focus. Craig and his team develop MPCC’s menus around seasonally driven contemporary American cuisine, while highlighting many locally sourced ingredients.
1. You would be surprised to learn that I did not attend culinary school. Outside of some extensive continuing education later in my career, I learned the fundamentals from mentors. Competition and certification also provided excellent opportunities for refinement and benchmarking.
2. One of my most memorable meals was in Erfurt, Germany, at the end of the 2012 International Culinary Olympics. A group of chefs from different countries celebrated together at a Czech restaurant after we finished competing. The food, drinks and atmosphere were great, and we all shared the elation of having reached the finish line of a very, very long race.
3. My go-to drink is Captain and Coke with a squeeze of lime.
4. My last meal would be a dry-aged, prime New York strip with pommes frites and béarnaise served with a big Cabernet.
5. My worst culinary creations were my early attempts at Pad Thai.
6. If I could change one thing about my club, we would have more space for a garden, to accommodate composting and to maintain a beehive.
7. My favorite junk food is fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
8. If I weren’t a chef, I would be a writer or photographer.
9. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was cooking my way through college at Virginia Tech. During my years as a psychology major, I grew to enjoy the creativity and camaraderie of the kitchen over the calm and predictable environment of academia.
10. You’ll never see sautéed shad roe on the menu at MPCC. (I spent enough evenings anxiously waiting for them to explode in my sauté pan during my youth; I wouldn’t subject our cooks to that stress.)
11. I love being a club chef because of the variety of experiences and challenges that are available.
12. When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m with my kids, who are four and five. I thoroughly enjoy revisiting that age with them, watching them discover the world around them.
13. The biggest challenge for me as a chef is striving for excellence while trying to support a work-life balance for the staff and foster an environment that supports professional growth and creativity.
14. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want these five foods with me: salami, cheese, warm baguette, grain mustard, and olives.
15. If I could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, it would be my great-grandmother. The time I spent with her as a child, in the kitchen and in the garden shaped my love of food and cooking.
16. The most valuable piece of advice I’ve ever received was, “Behave in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no one would believe it.”
17. My favorite celebrity chef is Amanda Cohen. I thought her cookbook, Dirt Candy, which was done in the style of a comic book, was unique and brilliant. I really appreciate the visual appeal and the complexity of her vegetarian cuisine, as well as the humor and insight of her blog.
18. My favorite ingredient is bacon. I think lobster is overrated. I think lemon is undervalued. I hate fresh sea urchin. And I can’t live without chocolate.
19. The rules of contact in my kitchen are: Treat each other with dignity and respect, taste everything, share knowledge, and clean as you go.
20. My most embarrassing moment in the kitchen was when I grossly mispronounced the term “garde manger” in the first professional kitchen I’d ever worked in. Up to that point, I’d only read the term.
21. I’d like to see clubs maintain some element of formal dining. Clubs in general are trending toward a more casual atmosphere, and I hope that the loss of this element doesn’t become a casualty of this shift in philosophy.