Andrew Brosten came to ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., just last year from the prestigious Sanctuary on Camelback Resort in nearby Paradise Valley. Karsten, directly across the street from Arizona State University, is the home course for the highly successful Sun Devils golf teams, and is also promoted aggressively to the public by its operator, OB Sports, the Scottsdale-based management firm.
After arriving at Karsten, Andrew didn’t waste any time setting out to accomplish the goals he set for himself in his first Executive Chef position: to create an innovative menu that was not the “same old” golf club food, and to use his catering chef experience at Sanctuary to drive banquet sales at Karsten through Andrew Brosten his style of customizing each event.
By introducing hard-to-ignore signature items like the “Boss Burger” (see recipe, opposite page), he has already made an immediate impact, and it’s easy to sense the excitement in “the Valley” that’s been created by Chef Brosten and his young and ambitious culinary team.
Q Chef, what were some of the first things you wanted to tackle upon arriving at Karsten?
A I wanted to change the perception of what golf “fare” could be and provide the public with an opportunity to see that eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a golf club doesn’t necessarily limit oneself to a turkey sandwich or a quesadilla. My team and I have shifted the previous focus on processed goods to sourcing seasonal and local ingredients for our guests. Our focus at Karsten now revolves around working with local companies, with a strong emphasis on making almost everything we offer in-house. (To view the Trophy Room’s new lunch menu, see the online version of this article at clubandresortbusiness.com.)
Q. In your first year as Executive Chef, what’s been the most challenging aspect?
A. Changing the culture of the back-of-the-house and implementing new standards of food quality. The cooks I inherited averaged eight or more years of employment at Karsten, and while extremely efficient in their day-to-day responsibilities, were rote in their routine and hesitant to change. Slowly introducing new ideas and ingredients, while showing and explaining how and why we are doing the things we’re now doing, helped facilitate the growth of food knowledge and quality I now see in my kitchen. I couldn’t have done it alone, and my sous chefs, Danny Bailey and Kyle Roehrenbeck, have been instrumental in fortifying and growing the culture I first established.
Q. At one time or another, all of us have had an item or dish that has a funny origin or story behind it. Is the “Boss Burger” yours?
A. Yes, the “Boss Burger” is an original concept I came up with out of a need for sustenance—my sous chefs were hungry and wanted a burger. So I looked through the walk-in and line prep that we had available, and came up with the burger off the cuff. I gave them to my sous chefs, and one stated that it was “boss” and almost put him to sleep immediately after eating it. So when overhauling the lunch menu, I figured we might as well put it on the menu.
It has been warmly received by our guests, as I’ve seen a few pupils dilate once the burger arrives at their table. I’ve had the privilege to eat some of the best burgers the Valley has to offer, and have seen first-hand how having a flagship menu item elevates the exposure and word-ofmouth advertising. I believe the Boss Burger can be that signature item for Karsten, elevating our exposure not only in golf circles but across the Valley.
Under Chef Brosten’s direction, the Trophy Room restaurant at
the ASU Karsten Golf Course now features “seasonal and local
ingredients, with a strong emphasis on making almost everything
we offer in-house.”
Q What have you implemented on the party-menu side at Karsten that reflects your experience as Catering Chef at Sanctuary?
A I think it’s reflected through the thought process that’s now behind each element of a menu, as well as how my team and I now have the creative control to further enhance our guests’ experience at the drop of a hat. During my tenure at Sanctuary, I never liked the idea of having a static catering menu where there was no room for creative impulses to dictate where a dish could lead, and I think our catering packet at Karsten now reflects that attitude.
Q How much of an impact did working with Beau MacMillan at Sanctuary have on your career, and what stands out most in your mind as far as his teaching style?
A I consider Beau a friend and my culinary mentor. His seemingly limitless passion for food and his unwavering standards helped me realize just how special our industry is, and through hard work and perseverance, the sky is the limit. While culinary school provides a foundation, working in the field builds the house, and working with someone as talented and as driven as Beau has given me perspective on what I think food should and could be. What stands out most regarding his teaching style is his patience when making something for the first time, and the reasoning behind why and how we are using one technique, such as braising or roasting, over another.
Q Finally, Chef, what can you tell us about the OB Sports Operations Manual and how it gets tailored to themes that fit the many different regions where the company’s properties are located?
A The OB Sports Operations Manual encompasses standardized procedures, from payroll to employee relations programs. It combines basic information for employees regarding benefits and training assistance, while also providing policies and quality standards for OB Management to adhere to. As this manual is dispersed throughout all OB-managed properties, one can expect the same high level of customer service, from Oregon to Florida.
Jerry Schreck: is a member of the Club & Resort Business Advisory Board. Know someone you’d like to have Jerry interview for a future “Chef to Chef” conversation? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org