Dean Bales, Chef De Cuisine of Sawgrass Country Club (Pointe Vedra Beach, Fla.), says a great dish—one that a chef is proud to serve—requires vision, execution and flavor. As all chefs know, not every idea hits the mark.
“There have been times where I thought I had the best dish in world,” Bales says, “and as soon it hits the plate, I can’t even believe what I’m looking at.”
His street corn salad, however, exceeded expectations. His vision, execution and flavor—every detail, from fresh catch to garnish—came together to bring this dish to life.
“The dish looked sexy—and tasted even better,” Bales says.
Club + Resort Chef (C+RC): Tell us about the inspiration behind this dish.
Dean Bales (DB): The Street Corn Salad dish was inspired by one of my favorite Mexican street corn eats. Here in Florida, the weather has a lot to do with how I pick and choose dishes for my menu. I felt like Sawgrass Country Club’s membership needed something light and refreshing, but still packed with flavor, while looking great on the plate.
C+RC: How would you describe the flavors?
DB: This dish takes you on a trip to Mexico with hints of lime, cumin aioli, paprika, cotija cheese, and not to mention fire roasted corn. It adds the perfect amount of char and sweetness needed to make this dish really pop. We top the Street Corn Salad with our daily catch and serve it blackened. Our Mayport shrimp is a go-to with this dish as well.
C+RC: What do you think makes this a successful dish?
DB: As we revamped our Beach Club menu, we wanted to go with dishes that were light and fresh. This plate quickly became a favorite with our membership. It’s always nice for our members to relate to the menu, as well as the fresh ingredients. I think this is one reason our Street Corn Salad dish with the fresh catch has quickly become a favorite at the Beach Club. Sawgrass Country Club also strives to have the best local fish fresh from our own backyard’s day boats.
C+RC: Do you think other chefs might be inspired by your street corn salad?
DB: I think most chefs are always looking for inspiration and creative ways to let good food do the work for them. That is exactly what I was able to accomplish here: simple yet great! I think most chefs can be inspired to make great food without using too much to make their vision come to life.