River Bend G&CC’s Executive Chef, Trever Travis, recently hosted two pumpkin carving demo events for members that sold out immediately, showcased the club’s culinary creativity and members desire to engage.
For years, I’ve been carving pumpkins that we then use to decorate the clubhouse for members to enjoy during Halloween season. My pumpkins aren’t carved like your regular run of the mill jack-o-lantern. They are, dare I say, a touch outrageous.
Members have always loved these creations and I’ve always loved making them. This year, I decided it was time to share some of my pumpkin-carving tips and secrets with the membership. We’re always looking for new and better ways to engage. This seemed like the prime opportunity to do something new, different and safe.
We opened the pumpkin carving class to members and it sold out almost immediately. We decided to open a second date and that also filled up quickly. Each family had a socially distanced table and received one pumpkin that was between six and ten pounds as well as a carving kit. Additional pumpkins were also available.
We started with a quick demo and instruction and then members were encourage to begin carving. Service staff took order while families carved their pumpkins and I made rounds to the tables to offer assistance and advice. Our members had an incredible time creating all sorts of wacky faces—from minions to jailhouses with monsters included.
This will now become an annual event at River Bend Golf & Country Club and its success has us thinking of doing an ice carving demo with hot toddies in December.
We recently also hosted a whiskey & tequila tasting events for our membership. We set a maximum number of guests at 40 per event so that we could keep them safely socially distanced. We set each tasting up with a series of small plates that would complement the different spirits. The small plates menu featured bites of bacon-wrapped brisket, cheddar-stuffed chilies, chocolate covered peanut butter and Nutella bites as well as chicken tamales with a black mole sauce. After the tasting, many member stayed at the club for dinner.
The success of these events has taught us a few key things. Members are eager to get out of the house and do something quick and different. It doesn’t take much for us to pull together an event like this, we just need to make sure we cap it so that we can keep members safe. We are planning to offer more smaller sized, quick events like these to help make up for lost banquet revenue due to COVID-19. We are also trying to add variety back into our membership.