As a chef I strive to do what is best for our members’ culinary experience, keeping both the food and presentations creative and innovative. As everyone in the industry knows, there is no bigger event at a Country Club than the Member-Guest tournament. This is an opportunity for our members to show off their club, to impress potential new members, and a time for the Food & Beverage department to shine.
The last several years have given us the chance to think even further outside the box to be able to handle all that was and is being asked of us—often under strenuous circumstances. Operating within COVID restrictions—and all of its ensuing challenges—has taught us to stay positive, be nimble and expand our creativity. Why would 2022 be any different?
Two weeks before the start of our Member-Guest, the decision was made to shift the format from a shotgun start to tee times. For those that need the cliff note version of this switch: Instead of all 250 golfers starting (and essentially ending) at the same time, the groups were spread out all day long. As you can imagine, this added a logistical nightmare to an already high-pressure event. To top it off, Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club boasts two Nicklas Designed golf courses, which were both in use for this event. That meant we also needed to provide food on both of our 10th tee boxes for two straight days.
After locking myself in the office for 2 hours to try to figure out all the moving pieces, I decided that we needed to use the 10th tee boxes to create an extra special, lasting memory for the players. The challenge was how to provide a memorable food experience on the golf course, from 9 AM to 5 PM on both days. We determined that chef-manned action stations were the way to go.
Day one featured fresh fruit cups and Maine Lobster rolls made to order. On day two we pulled out all the stops with Whole Roasted Pigs for pulled pork sandwiches. We wanted that ‘wow’ factor to set in as members and guests pulled up to the tee box—and we got it.
We started the pigs in a brine of salt, sugar, juniper berries, cinnamon sticks, clove, bay leaf, and peppercorn. The 48-hour brine helped ensure the pigs would be nice and tender. Our breakfast crew put both pigs in the oven by 5:30 AM (at 225° F) to make sure they were ready to be transported to the course by 8:30 AM. Once on the golf course, the chefs carved the back half of the pig for pulled pork sandwiches.
A little pesto slaw, Carolina BBQ sauce, and a fresh roll rounded out the on-course dining experience. After the first hour, we kept the pulled pork fresh and transported it to the stations as needed. But, we left the whole pigs on display for maximum impact with our on-course presentation. I say we achieved our ‘wow’ moment because the most amazing thing happened during the course of the day—we saw grown men taking selfies with a cooked pig.
Watching the members and their guests get so excited about a roasted pig made it all worthwhile. It was a nice reminder that these small, special moments make a great impact and help us build lasting relationships with our members.