With a talented fisherman on staff at Blackhawk CC, the club created the “Fishing With the Chef” outing, which included feasting on the day’s catch.
Todd Weisenbeck, Executive Chef at Blackhawk Country Club, Madison, Wis., is a dynamite fisherman. In his spare time, he trolls nearby Lake Mendota for perch. Whatever he catches, he freezes at the club and uses as part of an annual fish fry for members at the end of the season.
Having such a high-profile hobby with abundant and delicious results, it’s not surprising that a number of members expressed interest in going fishing with Weisenbeck.
“Chef didn’t want to play favorites, but he didn’t have the time to go out with each and every person,” says Paul Anthony, formerly Blackhawk’s General Manager (he is now on the other side of Lake Mendota in Middleton, Wis., as General Manager of Bishop’s Bay Country Club). “So we got together and decided that we should host a fishing trip where as many members who wanted to participate could.”
And so, “Fishing With the Chef” was born.
Anthony and Weisenbeck chartered three boats as well as guides and set up the event for an early Saturday morning in the late spring/early summer. Nine members signed up. After Bloody Marys and some fresh pastries on the shore, the members were divided into three groups of three, led by either Weisenbeck, Anthony, or the club’s Assistant Manager, Thomas Kunick (who has since been promoted to Club Manager).
“We made it slightly competitive,” says Anthony, whose team caught a meager three fish. “Fortunately, the other two teams were far more successful than my boat.”
The team led by Weisenbeck caught 50 fish, while the team led by Kunick caught 30. After their afternoon on the lake, the three teams met back at the shore where Weisenbeck cleaned, breaded and fried the fish, serving it with housemade coleslaw and cornbread.
“The trip gave the members a chance to interact with the staff on a very personal level,” says Anthony, “We plan on doing something very similar here [at Bishop’s Bay] this summer—and since we have a dock, the logistics will be a little simpler.”
Bishop’s Bay CC will also do a kid-friendly spin off Blackhawk’s idea at the club’s upcoming summer camp. Kids will have an opportunity to go fishing off the docks with the chef as part of their activity calendar.
“Fishing is a popular hobby with the membership at both clubs,” says Anthony, who notes that Blackhawk did a winterized version of “Fishing With the Chef” last year, where members went ice fishing. “It’s a fun, inexpensive and personal activity that always yields delicious results.”