Annually, over the past 14 years, regional vice presidents have nominated exemplary chefs from their area to travel to Napa Valley, California on a vendor-sponsored incentive trip to learn from the best at the Culinary Institute of America.
The trips focus on culinary and wine education for the chefs, who attend classes for seven to eight hours daily during the week and visit different wineries in the evenings. Fifteen of ClubCorp’s best chefs took part in this year’s trip in August.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone in St. Helena, California was formerly an old winery owned by the Christian Brothers before being transformed into a CIA campus offering culinary arts continuing education. Both the exterior and interior of the facility are breathtaking. And since vendors donate their equipment to be used by some of the best chefs in the country, it is home to the most up-to-date and advanced equipment.
This year’s agenda covered some of the new hot topics in the world of culinary arts. One day was dedicated to learning about sous-vide cooking, a method of cooking in plastic bags, and two whole days were spent on charcuterie, a specific preparation of meat. Another popular topic covered was the farm-to-table approach of utilizing local sources for ingredients in the kitchen.
Classes were taught by the senior culinary instructor at Greystone in a private classroom. The chefs were also able to visit many beautiful Napa Valley farms, everything from pig and cattle farms to vegetable and olive farms.
For Jeff Zimmerman, ClubCorp’s director of culinary development, the trip and the opportunity to interact with all the other chefs is always a wonderful experience.
“It’s great to watch the chefs grow and be educated in ways they don’t even know until they return to their clubs,”said Zimmerman. “Every day, everything was about cooking.”
Last Friday, August 24, 2012, La Cima Club in Irving, Texas participated in the sixth annual ClubCorp Charity Classic with “A Night in Tuscany”, a fun-filled philanthropic night of auctions and wine-tasting that raised more than $40,000 for three different charities.
Twenty-six floors above the historic Mustangs of Las Colinas, with a stunning panoramic view of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, La Cima Club was bustling during the event, which was open to the public and welcomed more than 300 attendees.
“We’re thrilled to be able to open our club to the community during this exciting event,” said Mike Goff, general manager at the Club. “It is an honor to be a part of this ClubCorp tradition.”
After the elevator doors opened, attendees were given a passport to fill with stamps from the six tasting stations. Each station had two Italian wines from different regions, one red and one white, and once your passport was filled, your name was entered into a raffle.
According to Lauren Waddell, member relations director for La Cima, the chefs who prepared the hor d’oeuvres were given the wines in advance and paired them with the various dishes to be served that evening, such as flat-breads, seafood and cheeses.
Another element of the event was the silent and live auction, which Waddell said was extremely successful and competitive, with a very animated auctioneer and participants outbidding each other up until the very last second. Included in the items up for auction were all-inclusive trips to resorts and vacation destinations.
But it wasn't all wine and vacations, gourmet cake, a sweet addition to the tasting, was also up for auction. Nothing Bundt Cakes, a bakery with locations nationwide was at the event, letting attendees taste their cakes and donating a year of monthly cakes as an item for the auction.
As part of ClubCorp’s Charity Classic, the money raised during the event was donated to three charities: the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Augie’s Quest, ClubCorp’s Employee Partners Care Foundation and the local charity SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center.
SpiritHorse, out of Corinth, Texas, is the only center in the nation providing free private horseback-riding therapy to hundreds of people in need, namely those diagnosed with autism. However, their services, which make an impacting difference in the lives of over 400 families weekly, depend solely on donations like the ones made by "A Night in Tuscany" attendees.
Since its inception in 2007, ClubCorp’s Charity Classic has raised close to $8 million for multiple charities. This year’s Charity Classic combines the efforts of more than 125 of our golf, country, business and sports clubs nationwide for a wonderful variety of philanthropic events like “A Night in Tuscany”.