Just about every type of cuisine can feature something skewered, spiked or speared.
Plenty of dishes—from salads to desserts—are stick-food friendly.
At Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., Executive Chef Daniel Chagolla features skewers of Andouille and chicken; feta with spicy lamb sausage; chicken satays, and even halibut on a stick.
“Skewers do really well as appetizers,” says Chagolla, whose club does $1.8 million in F&B. “They also work well for banquets.”
At a recent wedding, the bride and groom requested a menu made up exclusively of stick foods. Chagolla, who loves a challenge, came up with an inspired and interesting lineup that wow’d guests.
“For the salad course, we offered watermelon and jalapeno, drizzled with a light vinaigrette,” he says. “We also offered a traditional tomato and mozzarella skewer. For the entrée, guests could choose between chicken or prime strip loin, which was grilled at a live action station.”
For dessert, Chagolla and Desert Highlands’ Pastry Chef, John Kottmann, came up with a clever way to serve s’mores on a stick (see photo, above).
“[Kottmann] made homemade marshmallows that we skewered between two pieces of dark chocolate and two graham crackers,” says Chagolla. “We then dipped them in melted chocolate and let them set before drizzling them with more chocolate. They were both beautiful and delicious.”
The biggest challenge for Chagolla when it comes to food on a stick is keeping costs in line.
“We end up using more product than we think we’re going to need,” says Chagolla who runs a 46% overall food cost at Desert Highlands. “We’re able to balance out our costs, but it’s something we have to pay close attention to with skewers.”
For Raymond Carpenter, CEC, Executive Chef of Laurel Creek Country Club in Mount Laurel, N.J., skewers are money-makers.
“They generally contain less protein by weight than our other entrees, and the portions look huge,” says Carpenter.
Members enjoy kabob entrees especially in the summer months at Laurel Creek, which does $2.2 million in annual F&B.
“We skewer beef, chicken, shrimp or scallops with vegetables, grill them with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and serve them with many different dipping sauces,” says Carpenter. “Our members appreciate the healthy preparation and big flavors.”
The club sells ethnic variations, too. “We sell curried kebabs, Brazilian with chimichurri, Italian with pesto, and Mexican with adobo rub,” says Carpenter.
These items are always cooked a la minute and served immediately. To prevent burns, Laurel Creek’s servers remove the skewers at the table.
“They provide a great perceived value for our members,” says Carpenter. “And our team enjoys the opportunity to create new dishes with relative ease.”