House-made pastries are undeniably seductive and for Chevy Chase Club these items bring that “special something” to the table and the operation.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always liked to feed people. Food makes people happy. It’s a commonality we all share—especially in country clubs where dining is often the one thing that touches every member.
As the Executive Pastry Chef of Chevy Chase (Md.) Club, I’m always thinking about how we can improve the member experience through the pastry shop. Small tweaks, like making more in-house items, are not only noticed by our members but applauded. The feedback we continue to receive is almost always positive. But not all clubs have pastry shops. So beyond making people happy, what value is there for clubs in having an in-house pastry staff?
1. Ask and you shall receive.
We can react to member requests almost immediately as we are staffed six days a week from sun up to sun down. Members can—and do!—request everything from specially decorated sugar cookies to birthday cakes and even unbaked cookie dough to take and bake at home. Because we’re here and our goal is to make our members happy, we rarely say no to these requests. In turn, members feel pampered when we can accommodate their requests quickly. Some members have caught on to our schedule and call the shop directly to speak with us regarding their specific pastry needs!
2. Nothing says “home” or “love” more than the smell of fresh baked cookies.
Everyone loves the smell of baking cookies, right? Because we bake fresh every day that aroma is now the norm and expectation at Chevy Chase. It connects us to our members in a way words and activities can’t. When they smell fresh baked cookies outside the club, they think of us. Plus, we have access to the highest quality ingredients, so the quality of what we provide to our members is second to none. We’re able to connect our members with their local community by featuring local products in our baked goods when we are able to. Our favorite local item right now is this honey we are getting from Waynesboro, VA called Bubba’s Sweet Nectar.
We’re able to connect our members with their local community, too, by featuring local products in our baked goods when we are able to. Our favorite local item right now is this honey we are getting from Waynesboro, VA called Bubba’s Sweet Nectar. It’s primarily clover and wildflower varietals and—OH MY—is it amazing. (I kinda wish we could use it in everything!)
3. It saves money and increases variety
We can’t forget about the financial advantages of making items in-house. Making cookies costs CCC approximately 6¢ per cookie while purchasing pucks costs closer to 70¢ per cookie. We also offer a large variety of cookies that change seasonally and enhance the member experience.
It’s not just cookies either. We do the same with cakes, buttercream, brownies, blondies, muffins, and so much more. Not only do these items taste fresher, but they’re generally more fiscally responsible.
All that said, I understand that some clubs simply don’t have the budget or space for a pastry chef or shop. Clubs with a pastry staff are fortunate. At Chevy Chase, we have a lot to offer and our members take notice. The pastry program is part of the big picture and it adds value and it improves the member experience in a unique way.