12 July 18  |  Dining   |  

Preparing Country Club Food Menus

The Complexities of Country Club Food MenusTuna

Creating food menus like those you receive at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club’s Raspberry’s, Knickers and Café on the Green does not simply happen. It takes planning and insight based on members’ expectations and dietary restrictions, with room for today’s interest in gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan alternatives. It requires a balance between common items and signature dishes, as well as seasonal and local components, that prompt members and guests alike to compliment Executive Chef Rick Alabaugh and his flair-filled kitchen staff. Even so, those same members and guests may inquire about where certain items came from and where they ultimately disappeared to. And at the end of the day, there is a science to these ever-progressing menus.



“All-hands-on-deck” menu development ensures quality, fresh and cost-effective items fit for a high-end country club like Golden Ocala. Food that is fresh, full of flavor and cross-utilized stems from the fruits of a flexible staff, as well as the diversification of items to minimize boredom of the palate.

Following the seasons, Chef Rick sets a standard of three to four menu changes per year, with the template remaining the same — in-season, staple/signature items in the form of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, steak, poultry, seafood and desserts. For Golden Ocala members, this means passion fruit and raspberry vinaigrettes, in-house dry-aged New York strip, and praline tulip dessert. However, it is not unusual to witness a menu shift in the middle of a given season, based on demand. So, if an item is not selling, it will likely be replaced with something else. But, if enough members start to ask for that replaced item, it might be returned accordingly.


Menu Visibility

Be it at Golden Ocala or any given country club or standalone restaurant, Chef Rick recommends menu items that are identifiable and easy to read. While creative names are embraced when applicable, it is important for customers to become familiar with ordering options and the ingredients within each dish, as aforementioned dietary needs take precedence above cleverness. Only then will renowned menus have an appealing edge.


Global and Local Opportunistic Menus

When creating food menus in Ocala or elsewhere, it’s always a good idea to support local businesses as a twofold way of obtaining fresh and flavorful fruits, vegetables, farm-raised beef and poultry. But Golden Ocala does not forget about the global food opportunities that have arisen from internet access, improved cooling and freezing methods, and mass transit. That is why you’ll find items like salmon from Faroe Islands, Denmark and beef from Kobe, Japan on Chef Rick’s menus.

Regardless of the possibilities at hand, the kitchen crew sticks to outlet-based labels for membership to grow accustomed to. Examples include finger-friendly items by the pool, light refreshments at the spa, and varying lunch and dinner entrees in the main dining area.

As you begin to see menus in a whole new light, now is the time to resample food at Golden Ocala to determine what we’re cooking up with your family’s palate in mind. Questions or observations? Call your chef, Rick Alabaugh, at (352) 402-4347.