A Taste of Things To Come
Some of golf royalty’s biggest names have passed through the gates of New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Fuzzy Zoehler. Inside the club’s impressive kitchen, you’ll find another superstar, Executive Chef Rhy Waddington, who blends his native Australian cooking philosophy with local seasonal ingredients to create award-winning cuisine for members and guests.
Rhy got his love of cooking from his mother at a very early age and it was further fueled by his parents’ love of traveling. “When I was young, my parents packed up the family and we travelled around the world in ten months. It was an amazing experience,” he recalls.
Travel and cooking were a good combination for Rhy who came to respect not only the many different cultures, but also appreciate the exotic flavors and wide variety of food dishes that were available for the tasting. He loved the notion of being able to take simple ingredients from a garden and make something with them.
Rhy worked at his parents’ restaurant during school holidays. What started out as just a job turned into something more. “I loved the rush. It was an experience for me.” Before he was 16, he was already apprenticing.
He spent time traveling up the east coast of Australia then returned to Melbourne, reconnecting with a mentor, Noelle Quinn. Together, they began working on solving an issue facing many chefs: food logistics. “Everyone wants to do farm to table, but it’s not that easy. Fresh, local and natural are what we – as chefs – aspire to but we know that accessing that can be a challenge.”
Fresh, local and natural are still important to Rhy. Living in New York means he is, to some degree, at the mercy of the seasons. He changes the a la carte menu every week, maintaining popular items but switching out another 20 dishes. “This gives me the flexibility to adapt to what the local suppliers have on hand. Whatever’s in season and whatever’s the best, that’s what goes on the menu.”
At the golf club, where corporate events can run from 150 to 400 people, Rhy depends on all four of his Crown Verity grills to help him do the job. He notes one of the greatest features about a Crown Verity grill is its ability to get to a very high heat that lets him get a nice crust on whatever he’s cooking. One of Rhy’s favorites on the Crown Verity grill: Roasted Long Island Duck Breast.
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