Executive Chef Brian Lord, CEC, elevated the quality of ingredients and created a series of food-focused events.
Collier’s Reserve Country Club in North Naples, Fla. has seen a significant improvement in its food-and-beverage program over the past few years. As the club begins the first phase of the three-year project that will introduce a new fitness and activities center, two pickle ball courts, three new tennis courts, and renovations to the golf operations building—dining will continue to play an important role in the life of the club.
Executive Chef Brian Lord, CEC, is at the helm of the culinary operation. He continually focuses on not only furthering his own education in both food and wine, but also those of the young culinarians who surround him. He uses the freshest ingredients to create innovative recipes in member dining. He even has his own garden on site where he grows fresh herbs that the club uses in the dishes they prepares.
Q: What’s your background?
BL: I’m finishing my fifth season at Collier’s Reserve. Prior to coming here I was the Executive Chef at Reynolds Lake Oconee [formerly Reynolds Plantation] in Greensboro, Ga. and before that I was Executive Chef at The Summit Club in Birmingham, Ala.
Q: How big is Collier’s Reserve CC? What is your annual F&B revenue?
BL: We are capped at 300 members and we do $1.3 million—an increase of almost 40% over the past three years—which is especially impressive since our season is only 6 months long.
Q: That’s quite an increase. How did you achieve that growth?
BL: We began to offer a lot more specialty events surrounding food and wine. The membership really took to it and the numbers have been climbing ever since. We’ve also focused on sourcing high quality ingredients and crafting the menus to better meet members’ needs and watns.
Q: How often do you change the menu at Collier’s Reserve?
BL: We change the main menu every two weeks but we run new specials each week, so the menu is really always changing and evolving.
Q: How often do your members dine with you?
BL: About a quarter of our membership dines with us five times or more a week. Our goal is to make the club an extension of their kitchen. That’s why we change the menus so frequently. It encourages them to eat with us because they know they’ll always get something fresh, new and delicious.
Q: Growth seems to be a trend at Collier’s Reserve. You just broke ground on a $13.8 million enhancement plan. How will F&B be enhanced?
BL: In phase two of the plan, our boathouse will nearly double in size. It will go from a 72-seat restaurant to a 168-seat restaurant and it will house all of our a la carte dining. The building is just down the driveway from the main clubhouse, so it’s not far from where we are currently, but the renovation will make the operation much more efficient and create a better experience for our members.
BL: Currently, if we have a big even in the clubhouse, we divert a la carte to the boathouse anyway. Once we expand that building, we’ll never have to divert member dining. It will be a year-round operation dedicated to a la carte with its own kitchen.
Q: When will it be finished?
BL: We are expected to open for the 2017-2018 season.
Q: What will happen to dining in the clubhouse?
BL: We’ll be focused solely on banquets and events. I’ll oversee both operations but I plan to have an executive sous chef run the majority of the banquets and a chef de cuisine who will run a la carte.