18 Oct Latest Feature: Reimagining Country Club Chef’s Tables
Inviting members to participate in one-of-a-kind dining experiences can not only give them greater appreciation for their club, but also for their chef.
It used to be that a seat at the chef’s table was an exclusive and upscale affair. But in recent months, club chefs have taken the chef’s table concept to a whole new level, by serving in out-of-the-box dining destinations, featuring unique themes, and working with unscripted menus.
The Best Meal Unplanned
Mizner Country Club, Delray Beach, Fla.
According to Orlin McLendon, Executive Chef of Mizner Country Club, Delray Beach, Fla., the theme of each of his new chef’s table dinners is “unscripted.”
Hosted every fourteen days, six members are invited into the club’s kitchen for a dining experience unlike any other.
“I want members to see behind the curtain to experience what it’s like to be in the kitchen—with the heat, the sounds, and the smells,” says McLendon, who has been with Mizner CC for nearly one year.
On the night of the event, McLendon instructs members to meet in the club bar at 5:45 for a cocktail. Once everyone has arrived, he invites the group to follow him back into the kitchen, where the entire culinary team begins beating on pots and pans to welcome them.
Seven glasses of champagne are poured, a toast is made, and the dinner is officially underway. Meanwhile, the kitchen continues to crank out a la carte and to-go orders, while Clubhouse Manager Daniel Salgado (see photo, above) offers wine pairings to the kitchen’s new guests.
“The reason we call these dinners ‘unscripted’ is because the menu changes at the drop of a hat, like when the dining room seats a party of twelve,” says McLendon. “We need the flexibility to change and take the members on a true culinary adventure with us.”
The first event was supposed to be a five-course dinner, but it turned into nine. “Not only was it a magical experience for the members, it was also an opportunity to challenge myself and my staff,” says McLendon. “We had to think on the fly and be especially creative to not only serve members in the dining room but also those in the kitchen.”
At the end, members left the club enlightened and energized.
“There is no better way to create culinary ambassadors than to bring them into your kitchen and show them how you do what you do on a daily basis,” says McLendon.