Current Position: Executive Chef, Deal Country Club, Deal, N.J. (2007-Present)
- Owner, Personal Chef Company; Chef Instructor and Freelance Special Events Chef, Restaurant Associates (1997-2006)
- Executive Chef, Restaurant
Associates Corporation, New York; included duties at Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center, The Trustees Dining Room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. (1985-1997)
- Executive Chef, Arthur’s Landing, Weehawken, N.J. (1988-1992)
Education and Apprenticeships:
- St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, N.J.
- The Villa D’Este, Lake Como, Italy
- The Hotel Schwiezerhof, Bern, Switzerland
- The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
- The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
In the 1890s, a wealthy shipping magnate and railroad financier by the name of George Washington Young discovered the Jersey Shore and built an estate near the coastline in Monmouth County, just south of New York City. In 1900, Young added a 6,500-yard golf course to his property, which was thought to be one of the longest in America at the time. So it was that Deal Golf Club, located on Golf Lane in the town of Deal, N.J., was established.
The club had many prominent members in its early days, including Robert Todd Lincoln (son of Abraham Lincoln), Will Durant (founder of General Motors) and two U.S. Presidents,
William McKinley and Benjamin Harrison. As many other activities for members were introduced, the club changed its name to Deal Country Club in the 1940s.
|Deal CC has been a fixture in Monmouth County on New Jersey’s northern shore for nearly 115 years.|
One amenity that Deal is now popularly known for is great dining. In 2007, Deal CC brought Carolyn Flinn, a well-known chef in the New York metropolitan areas, to run the club’s kitchen, and the amount of dinners served at the property has since climbed steadily every year since her arrival.
Before things began to heat up for another season at the Jersey Shore, Chef Flinn was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on keys to success in today’s club dining environments.
Q Chef, you offer high-impact specials each night that really help even out the flow at your club during peak hours and your peak season. Tell us about the perceived-value items you offer that make your busiest nights at the club run smoother.
A Our menu is versatile in both choice selections and price point. The offerings include vegetarian and gluten-free menu items a la carte. The menu is divided evenly between the various stations, sauté, grill, entremetier and garde manger, to ensure a smooth a la carte service.
Q Along the same lines, you have experience in very busy public restaurants, where menu writing was essential to whether you sank or swam. One example was lunch at the Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, where daily lunch and dinner covers could both exceed 200. What tips can you offer chefs and F&B managers to become more streamlined and efficient?
A In busy venues, the kitchen staff generally prepares mise en plus a full day in advance, and having the appropriate prep is imperative. In addition, the staff both front and back must be well-versed on menu descriptions, preparations and presentations. Daily, informative Q&A at pre-meal meetings can set the tone for a successful meal service.
C&RB CLUB RECIPE
Pan-Seared Day-Boat Scallops
with roasted corn and shitake mushroom raguServes Four
|4||medium ears sweet white corn|
|3 tbsp.||olive oil|
|1 clove||mince garlic|
|1 cup||chicken stock|
|1 cup||fish fume|
|16||U-10 dry day-boat scallops|
|2 tbsp.||canola oil|
|1/2 cup||white wine|
|1||medium diced zucchini (no seeds)|
|1/2 lb.||large shitake mushrooms, diced|
|2||roma tomatoes – peeled, seeded and diced|
|3 tbsp.||sweet butter|
- Husk corn, season with salt and pepper, rub with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for ten minutes. Cool.
- Cut corn from cob and set aside.
- In sauce pan, saute shallots and garlic; add roasted cobs, chicken, fish stock and cream. Simmer for thirty minutes to reduce.
- Pan-sear scallops in saute pan with canola oil. Remove scallops and set aside. Deglaze pan with white wine; add to corn broth.
- Saute corn, zucchini, mushroom and tomato. Strain reduced broth into pan, season with salt and pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste. Mount in sweet butter.
- Finish heating seared scallops. Plate ragu and scallops. Garnish with chopped parsley, chives or micro greens.
Submitted by Carolyn Flinn, Executive Chef, Deal Country Club, Deal, N.J.
Q You incorporate change constantly in the menu design process, whether it’s through your use of day-boat seafood from up the street, or brainstorming with sous chefs. How has this aggressive approach improved your cover counts at Deal?
A Our members enjoy their club and spend a fair amount of time here. Thankfully we enjoy the frequency of our member dining. Naturally, variety is what drives the menu design, using seasonal ingredients, available sustainable market seafood and produce. I rely on my purveyors who understand our consistent standards and bring top quality and innovative products to our back door.
Q Carolyn, with the wealth of experience that you have in teaching, high-end catering and restaurants, what’s your take on the private club member and their needs?
A Honestly, one aspect of my job as a club chef that I really enjoy is the wide scope of different culinary activity throughout the year. It has been helpful in recruiting and my staff is always working on different events, which keeps everything new and interesting.
The membership here at Deal is wonderful. I appreciate the opportunity to learn our members’ preferences and special needs, which also tend to drive the menu and our special events.
Q At your club, you are the banquet chef as well as the head chef. Beyond doing this for budgetary purposes, what made you go with that strategy, as opposed to hiring a catering chef and focusing all of your energies on a la carte?
A There is advantage to cross-utilizing kitchen staff and growing a talented per diem staff, which has worked well for us. Directing staff with a variety of different tasks on any given day has created a positive team-building experience for everyone.
Jerry Schreck is a member of the Club & Resort
Business Advisory Board. Know someone you’d like to have Jerry interview for a future “Chef to Chef” conversation? Send your suggestions to [email protected]