When Jack Nicklaus asked Brian J. Sode, CMC, AAC, Executive Chef of The Bear’s Club, to create this dish, Sode knew he had his work cut out for him.
Club chefs rarely say no. Instead, they go out of their way to accommodate member requests, no matter how tall the task.
When Jack Nicklaus asked Brian J. Sode, CMC, AAC, Executive Chef of The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., to create a low-carb gumbo, Sode knew he had his work cut out for him.
“I’ve come to be known for my traditional gumbo,” says Sode, who has been with The Bear’s Club for 15 years, but developed his gumbo recipe while on the Culinary Olympic Team, working with John Folse and Paul Prudhomme. “It has a dark roux, shrimp and colossal crab meat. It is not low-carb.”
A member wants what a member wants, though—especially a member who’s a golf legend and the namesake founder of the club. So it was that Sode and Nicklaus worked side-by-side for two weeks, tasting, tinkering and adjusting a variation on gumbo until they agreed on a final dish that features big flavors and only four net carbs.
Now, Nicklaus and all of The Bear’s Club members can choose between Sode’s traditional gumbo and the reinvented “Jack Gumbo,” which omits the traditional roux and instead centers on caramelized vegetables to add depth, complexity and flavor.
“This recipe represents what it means to be a club chef,” says Sode. “We please our members while upholding the standards we’ve set for our food.”
Five years later, Nicklaus is still the primary taster of Jack Gumbo—and happy to tell Sode when it’s too spicy or watered down.