The 16 culinary teams featured in Diana DeLucia’s Golf Kitchen demonstrate the level of craftsmanship and artistry in club dining.
On November 10, 2016, Golf Kitchen, a 568-page coffee table book featuring recipes, photos, and interviews from the kitchens and fairways of 16 golf destinations worldwide, officially debuted at a Friends of James Beard Benefit dinner at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
During the event, Rhy Waddington, Executive Chef of Winged Foot GC, Doug Blair, Executive Chef of Cassique at Kiawah Island Club (Kiawah Island, S.C.), Nicholas Cuomo, Executive Chef of Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, UAE and Anthony Giacoponello, Executive Chef of Sebonack Golf Club (Southampton, N.Y.) prepared an array of dishes for the nearly 200 members in attendance. The event included both passed hor d’oeuvres as well as action stations featuring the following dishes from each club:
Winged Foot Golf Club:
- Foie Gras–Crab Apple Lollipops (hors d’Oeuvres)
- Veal Sweetbread Cornets with Red Onion Jam (hors d’Oeuvres)
- Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Cured Duck Eggs (hors d’Oeuvres)
- Ahi Tuna with Crispy Sushi Rice and Serranos (hors d’Oeuvres)
- Carpet Bag Oysters (hors d’Oeuvres)
- Applewood-Smoked Bacon Farrotto with Kombu Butter, One-Hour Egg, and Puffed Wheat
- Pan-Roasted East Coast Halibut with Spiced Carrot Purée, Roasted Guanciale, and Trumpet Mushroom Ragù
- House-Cured Hamachi with Citrus, Pickled Vegetables, Crème Fraîche, and Upland Cress
- Braised Rabbit Ravioli with Swiss Chard and Shaved White Truffle
- Chocolate Oysters with Assorted Mignonettes
- Speakeasy Chocolate Truffles
Emirates Golf Club
- Oysters on Bloody Mary–Yuzu Pearls
- Hudson Valley Duck Shawarma with Pickles, Date Tahini, and Pommes Allumettes
- Foie Gras Sliders with Assorted Artisanal Chutneys on Seasoned Brioche
Kiawah Island Club
- Pickled Shrimp with Fall Vegetables
- Caramelized Cauliflower with Truffle Vinaigrette and Country Ham
- Octopus Carpaccio with Lardons and Butternut Squash Romesco
- Hand-Churned Huckleberry Gelato
Sebonack Golf Club
- Braised Beef Short Rib with Truffle Root Purée
- Miniature South Hampton Lobster Rolls
- Sebonack Napoleon
“These chefs and their teams have inspired me with their love and passion for their craft and their dedication to changing the way golf and club kitchens are viewed,” says DeLucia, the book’s author who initially introduced the concept of Golf Kitchen in 2013 through her top selling book Golf Club World, Behind the Gates. “They are paving the way for change and setting the bar high. They are influencing other private clubs and staff to improve their culinary culture—and they are making their members very proud.”
DeLucia spent more than two years crisscrossing the globe to collect interviews and photography for the book, which is now available for purchase. Just before the event at Winged Foot, DeLucia was gracious enough to share a little about her journey with C&RB’s Chef to Chef.
C2C: How did you decide which clubs to include in Golf Kitchen?
DD: I started with Winged Foot as [Executive Chef] Rhy [Waddington] is a good friend. He was so excited to show what this industry is doing and more than willing to collaborate on the project. He and [General Manager] Colin Burns led me to Tradition Golf Club in La Quinta, Calif. From there the book snowballed. There are so many amazing clubs doing incredible things within their culinary programs. Limiting the book to 16 was a challenge!
C2C: What surprised you most as you learned about golf and country club culinary operations?
DD: Tom Colicchio, who is a consulting chef for The Kiawah Island Club, affirmed the shift I think we’re all seeing in clubs. He said it’s not enough to have a great golf course. You have to have great food, too.
At each club I worked with, I was blown away by the level of talent in their kitchens. I wasn’t expecting to see so much skill and ability. And the food club culinarians create—it’s outstanding. It’s easily at the same level of—if not better than—some of the best restaurants in the world.
C2C: You said the business side of club dining surprised you. Tell us why.
DD: Unlike restaurants, club dining isn’t typically for profit. It’s focused on usage and member satisfaction. That was the main message every chef stressed to me throughout this process—the dining experience at the club is for the members.
C2C: Did you notice any commonalities about club dining as you met with chefs from across the world?
DD: Because they aren’t as focused on the bottom line, club chefs source the best quality products, which allow them to serve members the best quality dishes—even if it’s just a taco. I also noticed that nearly all the general managers give their chefs the freedom to be creative. And that each chef is not only a skilled culinarian, but a savvy business person, too.
C2C: What was the biggest challenge for you as you created Golf Kitchen?
DD: Some of the clubs we feature have never had their food photographed and they’ve never been interviewed. So we had to be patient and make sure they weren’t nervous. It took time, plus there were some language barriers to overcome, but in the end everyone did a great job.
C2C: Why is this the perfect time to publish Golf Kitchen?
DD: After I finished my first book, I was at the PGA Show talking with general managers and others in the industry about this project. I asked them if they thought a book about club food would be interesting. Almost everyone was enthusiastic about it, saying that while they want members to play golf or tennis or another sport, food is the one thing that touches every single member. They said that they are seeing more members join their clubs for the food and not the golf. That’s a big shift from a decade ago.
So as more clubs move in the same direction and shift their focus to building and bettering their dining programs, Golf Kitchen steps in and showcases just how amazing the talent within this industry is. It’s inspiring.
C2C: What’s next for Golf Kitchen?
DD: This industry is a force. We’d like to build it into a series focusing on regions.
C2C: So Golf Kitchen: America?
DD: That’s the goal!