The Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., now offers a weekly dinner for which 75-100% of everything on the plate is locally sourced.
The farm-to-table concept has been embraced by eateries across the country, as consumers demand local, healthful food offerings. But rather than organize a few events throughout the year to support the concept, the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., now offers a weekly dinner for which 75-100% of everything on the plate is locally sourced.
Shortly after Executive Chef Olivier Andreini, CMC, joined the property about a year ago, he and his culinary staff developed “Triple F” dinners (Farm Fresh Fridays), to build on members’ love of local foods.
“Some Fridays we struggle more than others,” Andreini admits. “It’s easier to find things in the summer than it is right now.”
Meals are planned by the kitchen on a weekly basis, using what is made available by local purveyors (Andreini receives weekly e-mails from established local sources, explaining what they have and at what price). This practice challenges the staff to improvise with the ingredients that are available. Andreini typically selects and receives his proteins a few days before the dinner.
“It takes about three days to come together—by Friday morning, we usually know what we’re doing,” Andreini laughs, adding that there are a few staples, such as yellow grits and sweet potatoes, that the kitchen can always fall back on.
To promote the weekly dinner, members receive an e-mail detailing what the menu consists of, and which farms or purveyors produced each element. The dinners are served in the club’s tavern (a casual venue), and the kitchen produces between 20 and 30 portions, typically selling out each week. “We usually run out around 8:30, and when we run out, I’m happy,” Andreini says.
For clubs that are considering weekly local dinners, Andreini recommends hunting down protein sources first. Farmers’ markets provide excellent networking opportunities, he notes.
Constantly developing a new local dish can be a challenge, so Andreini suggests that chefs focus on what their states do best. In North Carolina, where there are more pigs than people, pork tenderloin is the most popular protein among members. But when Andreini worked at Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, Pa., a “great local lamb farm” often provided inspiration for the menu.
(Editor’s Note: Olivier Andreini will demonstrate “Using Sous Vide Safely and Effectively to Improve Daily Operations and Food Quality” at the 2015 Chef to Chef Conference, to be held in Savannah, Ga., on March 1-3. Visit www.CheftoChefConference.com for more information.)