Over the past 12 years, I have been illuminating the exemplary culinary talents in the Top 10% of Private Golf and Country Clubs across the USA and globally. I have been to 48 countries and more clubs than I could list. One thing they all have in common is these clubs were pioneers in the industry. They all recognized that Golf was number one, but they began to understand that they needed to put as much emphasis on the culinary and epicurean development to make a very well-rounded experience for their members and guests.
Colin Burns, General Manager at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York was a supporter of my vision and in 2014, I produced chapter one of Golf Kitchen, a 568 page, 6.5-pound coffee table book featuring the culinary teams of 16 of some of the most prestigious properties in golf. At that time Rhy Waddington was the Executive Chef and he bought the cuisine to a new standard. When I was working on that chapter I was taken aback by a young woman who was very determined to learn her craft with Chef Rhy's encouragement and mentorship. At that time, I knew she was destined to become an Executive Chef.
A few days ago I learned that Chrissie Bennett is now officially the first female Executive Chef in Winged Foot's long history. Her work ethic and fierce dedication to the club and its membership were always apparent to me and I had witnessed Chrissie's leadership first-hand at a large event Golf Kitchen had in conjunction with Punta Mita, Mexico where she was representing Winged Foot.
Here is a question I asked Chrissie in 2014, and it may be more than 5 years, but she is now at the helm of one of the world's prestigious golf properties -
Golf Kitchen: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Chrissie Bennett: Hopefully in an executive position, and most likely in a Sous Chef position. I love Winged Foot so much that I am happy to work my way up here, and have no intentions of leaving. I am a very family-oriented person, and Winged Foot just feels like home, which is why people stay here for 20 years and more. We’re always thankful for members and management acknowledging our performance, and it happens every day! To sum up my feelings, Winged Foot has been great to me, and I, in turn, need to be great for Winged Foot.
It goes to show, that if you believe in yourself and love what you do, the sky is the limit.
~ Diana DeLucia
Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York, USA. Image by Larry Lambrecht, courtesy Winged Foot Golf Club.