12 February 15  |  Dining   |  

LPGA Players Rave About Golden Ocala’s Cuisine during Coates Golf Championship

Good food can be the mark of a great event by many standards. It goes without saying that people will often talk about certain aspects of food – good or bad – long after an event is over. This is why the goal during the LPGA opener at Golden Ocala was to have the LPGA players spread the word about Golden Ocala’s fantastic cuisine.

The rave reviews began to come early for the food served throughout the recent LPGA Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers at Golden Ocala the week of Jan. 26-31, 2015. As members of the dining wait staff circulated to accommodate the golfers and their guests, they were often met with good comments from golfers like “this is the best food we’ve had in two years.”

Many of the compliments ranged from accolades about the overall variety to the small details like the use of a Peruvian pepper.

The Buffet Line

In addition to providing breakfast and lunch daily at the main dining facility in the Golden Ocala Clubhouse, the staff was also responsible for providing food to the VIP tent and 19th Hole tent at the grand stands. The dining staff also catered the black tie gala prior to the start of the tournament.

Rick Alabaugh, Executive Chef at Golden Ocala, said preparation began months in advance to handle the logistics of the sheer quantity of food needed during the week.

A refrigerated truck from a food distribution center based in the area was brought on site to provide additional space for food storage. During the week of the LPGA Coates Golf Championship the Golden Ocala dining facility prepared an average of:

–       1,200 meals for breakfast

–       1,800 meals for lunch

–       70 meals VIP lunch

“This is the largest event we’ve ever done,” Chef Rick said. “And now we start getting ready for next year.”

gala setup3

A Black Tie Affair

Hosting the Pro-Am Black Tie Gala on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 started the fast paced week with approximately 400 attending the event.

The Asian-themed event was attended by John Travolta and Kelly Preston who make their home in Ocala. Proceeds from the event benefited several charities including the Jett Travolta Foundation and The Morgan Pressel Foundation in honor of the LPGA golfer’s mother who lost her battle with breast cancer.

gala setup2

Paying Attention to Detail

The diet restrictions of serving large groups of people also come into play for events like this. There are 40 golfers on the LPGA tour who are gluten free. The chef said special attention was given to educating the kitchen and serving staff to make sure food items were void of gluten.

While some enjoy healthier choices of meal options, others prefer a heartier cuisine so the daily menus included items for all palates.

Chef Rick said, “My goal at the end of the week was that I wanted the players to vote for us for best food.”

Things in the culinary department will go back to normal to include a full calendar full of delicious meals and elegant events for the remainder of the year. The LPGA presented Golden Ocala with the chance to showcase the facility on a worldwide stage.

Dining options vary at Golden Ocala Golf &Equestrian Club to fit the occasion. Also follow our dining blog.