The Bay Head (N.J.) Yacht Club created its own “Periodic Table of Ice Cream, Toppings and Sauces” to give its action station a “science-y” twist. Also, The Country Club of Virginia purchased a large tower infuser and invited its lead bartender to create custom recipes for drinks the new equipment would be used to prepare.
(As featured in C+RB’s 14th Annual Ideas Issue, June 2020.)
When Rich Heimbuch, Executive Chef of Bay Head (N.J.) Yacht Club, was dreaming up a new action-station concept, he knew just what would make members “scream”—ice cream with dozens of toppings, sauces and personalized choices.
But he wanted to give the sundae bar a science-y twist that went beyond the typical liquid nitrogen, churn-to-order stations others have used. He decided to riff on the Periodic Table of Elements and create Bay Head’s very own “Periodic Table of Ice Cream, Toppings and Sauces.”
Heimbuch enlisted one of his team members, Richard Bilotti, to help fill out the table, which was broken into nine categories, including volume, flavor, candy, alcohol, fruit, powder, nuts, sauces and other. It includes everything from Cracker Jack and coconut to gummy bears and Kool-Aid.
To bring the station to life, the club replicated the look and feel of a real science laboratory, using beakers and test tubes of all shapes and sizes to display the many “elements” on the table. Liquid nitrogen was used for effect and to actually churn the vanilla and chocolate ice cream to order. The culinary staff also dressed the part in long white lab coats, bowties and employee ID badges that read “C.I.C.” (Chemistry of Ice Cream).
As members moved through the station—also dubbed “The Chemistry of Ice Cream”—they could pick and choose what they wanted on their sundae.
“Most members were overwhelmed by the choices and kept it simple,” says Heimbuch. “The kids were a different story. They didn’t want the ice cream, just the candy.”
In the end, everyone had an absolute blast and was overwhelmed by the vast number of colorful choices available for creating their own perfect sundae. The club now plans to use the same action station for an upcoming kids’ science class, and also make it part of its action-station banquet options.
The Goal: Bay Head (N.J.) Yacht Club wanted to create a specialty action station that would entice members while showcasing the ingenuity of the team.
The Plan: Executive Chef Rich Heimbuch and one of his cooks, Richard Bilotti, created a periodic table featuring ice cream, toppings and sauces. The action station was set up so members could work their way through the table, choosing one of the two homemade bases and then customizing their sundae with dozens of toppings and sauces.
The Payoff: Members reported feeling “like kids in a candy store”; the club now plans to use the station for a kid’s science class, as well as an option for weddings and events.
The Country Club of Virginia (CCV) “infused” its upscale dining room with a simple and exciting way to entice members to try new cocktails, after it purchased a large tower infuser and invited its lead bartender to create custom recipes for drinks the new equipment would be used to prepare.
The infuser was placed in a prominent location that was impossible for members to miss when entering the restaurant, and the raw ingredients used with each infusion were also prominently visible, to help display the quality and authenticity of each infused cocktail.
The infuser combines one bottle of a spirit and fresh ingredients, and the small-batch production allows for many rotating flavors, promotes seasonality, and has prompted members to ask what recipe is being made each night.