| Club Chef's
The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulfur Springs, WV
On October 29, hotel and
country club chefs from across America made their annual pilgrimage
to the 3rd annual Club Chef’s Institute at The Greenbrier
Resort, tucked away in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains.
For two days attendees participated in myriad workshops, focusing
on club restaurant applications as diverse and simple as how
to make a quenelle, the basics
of sous-vide and using hydrocolloids.
StarChefs was thrilled to be invited to the
event, learning much about the specific challenges club chefs
face and remaining eager to participate in the unique and
thriving realm of private club chefs.
To kick-off the CCI festivities, Chef Peter Timmons and the
Greenbrier Culinary Team prepared a beautiful
buffet dinner. The dining room was decorated a monochromatic
white for the occasion and was stunning in its stark simplicity.
Rosendale (Rosendale’s, Columbus)
focused on the delicate balance of flavors necessary to complete
dish. He drew on his medal-winning experience in the Culinary
Olympics to highlight innovative techniques that help enhance
great flavor combinations. One such technique demonstrated
in his Beef
Three Ways involved using lecithin in poaching liquid,
which renders the liquid stable and excellent for plating.
In the Culinary Olympics, participants need to conceive each
dish from the bottom up, as each color, flavor and texture
is important to the final product. Chef Rosendale uses ideas
and flavor combinations from the competitive setting of the
Culinary Olympics to add creativity and luster to the equally
competitive realm of the restaurant kitchen.
John Johnstone (The
Ritz-Carlton, Naples) talked about the chef’s duty
to cook for the guest and not for himself. Which in practice
for Chef Johnstone means that approximately 75% of a menu
should be dedicated to user-friendly dishes, items guests
are familiar with and sure to like. But a small portion should
be treated as a kind of culinary sandbox, where chefs and
guests get to play. Through featuring both traditional and
esoteric dishes a chef can expect to achieve a balanced and
lucrative menu that is pleasing to everyone. Chef Johnstone
Ribs sous-vide with Rosemary Gnocchi and Sunchoke cream
as an example of this kind of chef and crowd pleasing fare.
Olivier Andreini (The
Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park) prepared canapés
and finger foods to illustrate the importance of garde-manager
in increasing revenue. He demonstrated several spoon presentations
and how to make
Buffet Lunch was sensational, simple in its menu of classic
South American fare. The menu featured Feijoada, Salada de
Palmito com Maracuja and Acaraje. Greenbrier chefs worked
with local Brazilian chefs resulting in an authentic and creative
departure from tired and blasé buffets.
lunch, Shirley Corriher (Cookwise)
discussed sous vide, unami and browning through a scientific
lens. She broke each method, flavor and process into its smallest
parts, empirically illustrating why proteins brown, where
flavors come from on the molecular level and why meat tastes
good cooked under vacuum. She added a refreshingly lively
and jovial element to an ostensibly boring subject matter.
Rounding out the afternoon, Arnaud
Berthelier (The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead)
gave a thorough and informative presentation of squab,
cooked sous-vide. He combined the squab breast with coffee
essence and stuffed the leg with foie gras. He showed that
sous-vide is more than fancy, flashy, expensive technique,
because it produces the most succulent, moist and flavorful
To finish a long and informative day filled
with much talk about food, CCI participants relaxed to a great
dinner. The Greenbrier team designed an intense and romantically
red dining room for the occasion, offering a fresh and
dramatic idea for club chefs to take home.
own Antoinette Bruno opened the second day’s
events with a discussion on current American
culinary trends. Where 2005 was known for technological
innovation, 2006 marked a return to an emphasis on flavor.
Across the country and throughout the world there is a renewed
focus on the purity of taste and how to best harness an ingredient’s
innate flavors. Science in the kitchen is still big –
a full quarter of chefs report having experimented with chemicals
– but chefs are focusing on natural and organic techniques
at the same time. They are also experimenting with hydrocolloids
and gums with the aim of altering shape and texture while
leaving flavor intact. Meanwhile, “local” and
“organic” ingredients have led to “sustainable,”
and the number of chefs who actively support local agriculture
continues to grow. At the end of the day, though, revenue
is the bottom line. Small plates and tasting menus continue
to be the two most popular means for boosting revenue in restaurants
across the country.
– (Greenbrier Tavern
Room – White Sulphur Springs) gave an excellent
presentation on various hydrocolloids
and their culinary value. From the relatively commonplace
pectin and gelatin to the more adventurous agar and methylcellulose,
these chemicals can accomplish a whole range of textural feats.
And, perhaps counter intuitively, fortifying sauces, pastas,
sponges and powders with these chemicals allows their natural
flavors to flourish in a whole range of new forms and textures.
We at StarChefs.com had a wonderful and informative
experience at CCI 2006 and look forward to sharing the insights
we gained about club chefs with the world wide web at large.
Our JobFinder is an excellent way to seek employment in the
private club sector and we are excited to publish several
club chef related features in the future.