ClubCorp Blog

08.04.14.ChicagoSociety.IronChefs1

Congratulations to Greg Carso, Executive Chef at The Metropolitan Club, who recently won the 2014 Battle of the Metal Chefs. The Chicago Community of clubs teamed with House of Blues Chicago for the 10th anniversary of this year’s Battle of the Metal Chefs cooking competition, which was held in the Music Hall at the House of Blues.

Chef Carso had some stiff competition, cooking against Michael Pivoney, Executive Chef at The Mid-America Club, and John Hughs, House of Blues Foundation Room Chef, to create original culinary delights around this year’s mystery ingredient – brie (the French cheese was aptly chosen as the cooking event took place on France’s national holiday Bastille Day). Takashi Yagihashi, of Slurping Turtle and Takashi restaurants and who was featured on Iron Chef America and Top Chef Duels, served as the celebrity guest judge. 

More than 300 attended Battle Brie which featured a French décor, French Champagne tastings, passed hors d’oeuvres throughout the night, live entertainment, a DJ and an emcee and raised more than $4,000 for the House of Blues Foundation. 

Congratulations to Chef Carso and to all involved in the success of this year’s Battle of Metal Chefs.

Congratulations to Santiago "Jimmy" De La Cruz for being named the 2013 Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Texas Chefs Association. Jimmy is the Executive Chef at the Club at Cimarron in Mission, TX, as well as the Texas Chef Association Rio Grande Valley Chapter Director. The award was presented to Jimmy during the Texas Chefs Association Convention in Fort Worth, TX last month.

This award recognizes Jimmy as an outstanding chef who has demonstrated the highest standard of culinary skills and given back to the profession through the development of students and apprentices. With the Texas Chef of the Year title, next year Jimmy will compete for ACF U.S.A. Chef of the Year. We wish you the best of luck, Jimmy!

Name: Michael Miller

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Residing Club: Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Calif.

Background and Career Highlights: Won the Michelin Star Chef award in 2009 and 2010 and the Emerging Maverick Award via Cinequest.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: 
"A wooden spatula"

What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: 
"My father's pizza place."

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: 
"Yuzu juice is my latest favorite."

What is something about you few people know?: 
"I've been a musician longer than I've been a chef."

What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Butter, eggs, stock, beer... the basic essentials."

If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: 
"My grandfather. He put me through culinary school but I never had the chance to cook for him."

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a studio musician in New York."

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "Discernment, amplitude, organization, thoughtfulness and fairness."

What do you like most about working at the Club?: "The ability to use multi-global ingredients."

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "The evolution of classics with modern applications."

Name: Jim Gelzheiser

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Residing Club: Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Background and Career Highlights: Jim graduated from the Pittsburgh Chefs and Cooks Association Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked as a banquet chef and executive sous chef for nine years at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. He assisted Executive Chef Todd Rogers at a James Beard Dinner in New York City and won first place in an ice-carving contest. He's received the ClubCorp Superstar award and this November marks his 15-year anniversary with the company.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: "A truffle slicer"

What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: "Working under excellent chefs and learning from great culinary instructors during my apprenticeship. Additionally, participating in a Dale Carnegie leadership course opened my eyes to the importance of having great people skills."

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: "Fresh ginger. I love the aroma, and it’s not over-used so I am always excited when I need it."

What is something about you few people know?: "My wife Shelli and I just celebrated our 25-year wedding anniversary."

What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: "Mirepoix made with celery, carrot and onion."

If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: "My grandparents. Nothing would be better than having the opportunity to prepare a dinner for them at Rivers Club."

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: "Being a drummer for “The Black Keys”"

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: "A relentless pursuit of excellence, a tremendous work ethic and a great sense of taste. Also, the ability to play well with others, have fun, listen, learn and apply techniques."

What do you like most about working at the Club?: "Trying to live up to the reputation of the Rivers Club kitchen. The fact that everyday, I’m able to work in the same kitchen where great Pittsburgh Chefs practiced for the Culinary Olympics in the 1980s, provides a tremendous sense of pride for me."

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: "Global-infused comfort food."

Name: Matthew Crum

Chef Matt Crum

Residing Club: River Creek Club in Leesbug, Va.

Career highlights
I attended culinary school in Pittsburgh, Pa. before working for small luxury hotels in the Northeast. I joined ClubCorp at Treesdale Country Club in Gibsonia, Pa. before moving to Virginia to help open River Creek Club. There, I started out as a Sous Chef before being promoted to Executive Chef in 2007.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: The Club’s Rational Combi Oven. It’s a game changer!

Who had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: My high school art teacher, Mr. Johnson. He taught me about focal points and how the human eye looks at things. I still use his advice about drawing and painting everyday, I just apply it when it comes to plates and platters.

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: Fennel Pollen

What is something about you few people know?: I hand-make custom hardwood furniture in my garage...it’s a great stress reliever for me.

What is the the one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: Pickles, from my family's recipe from Germany.

If you could cook dinner for anyone past, present or future, who would it be?: Matt Trolson, our former Food and Beverage director who passed away in early March of this year. He was a great friend and I think of him almost every day.

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: To make artisan cheeses for a living.

What character traits/qualifications/skills makes a good chef?: I don’t take things too seriously. I tell my staff it’s not food or drink that we sell, it’s an experience that we provide our Members.

What do you like most about working at the Club?: The six minute car ride to and from work...Gas is expensive!

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: I really don’t know, that’s a good question. I keep seeing food that reminds me of my childhood, but that has an adult twist to it.

Name: Brian Ayers

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Residing ClubCorp Club: City Club on Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, Calif.

Career Highlights: I won the Julia Child Scholarship to attend Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. I did my externship at the The Greenbrier in West Virginia, and then afterwards I spent many years at Lespinasse in New York City.

Other than your chef knife, what is your favorite kitchen tool?: I am a big fan of the tilting brazier.

What had the greatest influence on your culinary career?: Working for Guy Savoy at his flagship restaurant in Paris showed me what was possible if you truly dedicate yourself to excellence.

What is your single favorite ingredient to cook with?: I would say that I get very excited when I am braising lamb shoulder.

What is something about you few people know?: Don’t tell anyone, but I enjoy playing the banjo.

What is one thing that can always be found in your home refrigerator?: Fresh Kimchee. I love the spicy, sour flavor.

If you could cook dinner for anyone, past, present or future, who would it be?: If I could go back in time, I think it would be awesome to cook a huge multi-course meal for Led Zeppelin in their heyday- what a party that would be!

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy?: I picture myself as a weathered adventurer who travels way off the beaten path exploring uncharted country with the unique ability to capture and forage for all necessary provisions and produce world-class cuisine from a camp fire.

What character traits/qualifications/skills make a good chef?: The unwavering ability to strive for improvement in all areas.

What do you like most about working at the City Club on Bunker Hill?: I love the fact that we truly get to know all of our members’ likes and dislikes, it makes it so much easier to hit home-run meals when you truly know your guests.

What do you see as the next big trend in food?: I believe the era of the upscale burger is coming to a close and I can’t wait for the trend in food to swing back to true fine dining, where the bar is raised and every detail is scrutinized.

Congratulations to Greg Carso, Executive Chef at The Metropolitan Club in Chicago and winner of the Chicago Society’s 8th Annual Metal Chef competition. The competing chefs were given a basket of three mystery ingredients including ponzu for the appetizer course, pork belly for the entrée and mangoes for dessert.
 
 On hand to assist with judging this year was celebrity judge, Victoria Ordoñez of Jorge Ordoñez Wines in Spain. Ordoñez introduced a "twist" to the competition by providing – midway through the competition - her 2007 vintage dessert wine, "Victoria," for the Chefs to use in their dessert course.
 
 The event was a great success with more than 175 Members and Guests attending and raised more than $1,100 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and a flat-bed cart of non-perishable food donations.

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