By Peter Mumford
ClubLink Members will be seeing a new section on the menu next time they stop in for a bite.
It’s part of a new initiative launched this week to highlight locally grown foods – that means ingredients grown, harvested or produced right here in Ontario.
According to Steve Wilson, Executive Chef at The Club at Bond Head, the program grew out of a pair of food conferences that he and the ClubLink Chef Committee attended this past winter. The events were held at Niagara College and Centennial College and sponsored by Gordon Food Services, one of the largest food suppliers in the province. Attendees included suppliers, farmers, marketing boards and foodservice operators – all determined to find ways to increase the use of local food and produce.
Wilson says it’s the right thing to do. “Local is a new watchword these days. Buying local means we’re being environmentally responsible by reducing our carbon footprint but it’s more than that. It’s all about being good corporate neighbours and supporting local businesses. Best of all, we’re discovering some amazing foods and ingredients that are grown and produced right here in Ontario too.”
The new program will run throughout the golf season and have four periods: June, July, August and September/October. At each Club, the menu will have a special insert to highlight the local options, where the majority of ingredients are produced or grown in Ontario. They’ll change from month to month depending on the availability and seasonality of local ingredients and they will differ from Club to Club at the discretion of the chef.
The Local menu will also come with a “story” explaining each dish and the source of the local components. Over the course of the season, the Chefs Committee will develop a library of menu options that can be shared, providing every chef with additional ideas to be creative.
Wilson is excited about a new local dish he’ll be offering in June – a wild mushroom and asparagus risotto.
“It’s got wild mushrooms that I sourced at the local farmers market and locally grown asparagus. And instead of parmesan cheese, I’ve substituted a local Brie that’s amazing.”
ClubLink Members should also expect to see some of these stories on various social media platforms. Images of menu items and explanations will be shared on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and it’s hoped that Members will see a dish at one Club and decide that’s something they want to try. Or maybe they’ll ask their own chef to add it to his or her menu.
The Social Media campaign will also be shared with local suppliers creating some branding opportunities across multiple platforms that make Members more aware of where their food is coming from and drive home the concept of sourcing local produce.
Based on Steve Wilson’s enthusiasm, I think ClubLink Members are in for a treat this season with lots of new dishes to tantalize their palates.
“It’s fun for us”, says Wilson. “We have some amazing chefs and each of them wants to give their clientele something new and different. The local option allows us to showcase our skills and passion, while working with the best ingredients in the world.”
Peter Mumford is the Editor of Fairways Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @FairwaysMag