Part of “walking the walk” when it comes to building clubs of the future is seizing opportunities that benefit the planet, local economies, and member taste buds. We spoke with three McConnell chefs from Providence, Holston Hills, and TPC Wakefield on how — and why — they source local.
JASON NEAL, EXECUTIVE CHEF, PROVIDENCE COUNTRY CLUB
In his first year in the kitchen at Providence, Neal turned the focus to sourcing more ingredients locally. “I want to know where things come from,” he says. “I want to have the servers educated about the ingredients and know where they’re coming from, too.” While the menu at Providence changes every three months — “it’s a big overhaul,” says Neal — expect to find classic American dishes with a Mediterranean twist. “Clean, light flavors,” he says. “There’s some Spanish, Italian, and Middle Eastern influences.”
Neal finds fresh produce and meats from Middle Ground Farm in nearby Monroe, NC.
“We use their living microgreens, which come into the kitchen still alive,” he says. “We cut them to order and use the greens, like basil and arugula, in our salads and garnishes.”
Middle Ground Farm also stocks the Providence kitchen with high-quality meats, from rabbit and turkey to quail and whole hog.
“I’ve been out to the farm and I’ve seen where these animals come from,” he says. “There’s a huge area where they can roam around. They’re not penned in. There are no hormones, no antibiotics, and they’re fed an all-natural diet. The pig is taken from slaughter to my doorstep on the same day. That’s as fresh as it gets.”
AT THE TABLE
The whole hog finds its way on to various club menus: Smoked Boston butts for a member event, cured and smoked hams for Easter, and racks of pork and pork belly dishes for other menus. The club hosted a wild game dinner last fall and served rabbit, and plans are in the works for an August dinner featuring local quail.
“I would love to use even more local- ly sourced products,” says Neal. “Our members are more conscious of where ingredients come from and what’s going into food. We have a lot of competition from restaurants around us, and we gladly accept the challenge to bring something new to the table. Sourcing local isn’t a trend. It’s here to stay.”