Freedom from Fear

By | June 8th, 2017

Woodland GC’s banquet line no longer gets slowed by special last-minute requests from diners requesting substitutes.

The culinary team at Woodland Golf Club completely retooled banquet menus and prep to be completely gluten-free.

It happens all the time: In the middle of a busy banquet service, a server rushes into the kitchen to alert the chef that a gluten-free (GF) meal is needed for a guest with an allergy or intolerance. In some kitchens, this can slow down everything as the chef has to stop what he or she is doing to clean knives, grab a new board, make up a new plate and send it out with the others. But for Woodland Golf Club, Auburndale, Mass., it’s no longer an issue—ever.

That’s because Executive Chef Andrew LaHaye and his culinary team have completely retooled all of the club’s banquet menus and preparations so that everything offered—from buffets and hors d’oeuvres, to plated dinners and luncheons—is now completely gluten-free.

“We were always getting these last-minute requests,” says LaHaye. “It was happening at just about every event. We needed to create balance and find a better way to respond.

THE GOAL: To offer banquet menus written completely without gluten at Woodland GC.

THE PLAN: Executive Chef Andrew LaHaye and his team began eliminating gluten-containing items on the club’s standard banquet menus by reworking each recipe until they were all as good as—if not better than—the originals.

THE PAYOFF: Members and guests are always comfortable dining or holding events at the club, no matter their special dietary requirements. And the club always has something for everyone.

“Allergies are more at the forefront now,” he adds. “As chefs, we deal with this on a daily basis, and banquets are no exception. We decided this was the best way to make it safer for members and guests, and easier for those on the line.”

LaHaye and his cooks spent the better part of a month reworking banquet recipes to eliminate gluten. Sauces were switched to straight reductions and alternative thickeners were used. If an item was traditionally dusted in flour, rice flour was substituted.

Executive Chef Andrew LaHaye and his cooks spent the better part of a month reworking banquet recipes to eliminate gluten, through steps such as switching sauces to straight reductions, using alternative thickeners, and substituting rice flour for dusting. 

“Once we started changing how we prepare some of our items and we understood the process and method behind it, it was really very simple,” says LaHaye. “Members feel comfortable and safe dining with us now, and their guests are shocked at events when we tell them they can eat everything except the bread—but we do offer a gluten-free roll if they’d like.”

The most popular gluten-free banquet options at Woodland GC now include:
• Seared Diver Scallop, Orange Leeks, Sesame
• Grilled Salmon Filet with Baby Maine Shrimp, Asparagus & Lemon Risotto, Herb Butter Sauce
• Pan-Seared Angus Filet, Parmesan Potato Gratin, Roasted Baby Vegetables, Bordelaise Sauce
• Braised Short Ribs, Cabernet Reduction, Smoked Fingerlings, Baby Carrots & Haricot Vert, Gremolata

“If you’re offering a GF substitute,” warns LaHaye, “it’s important to make sure it tastes as good as the original. Part of our process is to constantly try new products and listen to our members and vendors to find new options. We talk to our GF members frequently to learn more about the products they use. This also helps to breed creativity within our staff and keep us on top of our game.”


Woodland Golf Club’s gluten-free banquet menu now includes:

One Response to Freedom from Fear

  1. Edye Scheier says:

    Congratulations! You are ON it! Great ideas and creativity while getting ahead of the curve!

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