With training that took place all over the world, Sterling Silver® Premium Meats Signature Chef Michael Weisshaupt had a wide range of experiences that he brought to the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, New Jersey in 2012. Today, he’s still wowing the members there with a delicious mix of the classics and new twists on old favorites.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
Creating a balance between what you’d like to prepare and what your guests are demanding is a challenge every chef faces. For Chef Michael, he meets that challenge happily because it puts his creativity to the test. “It’s a great opportunity to reintroduce older recipes and tweak them slightly,” he said. “I mean, I feel better when I eat healthy, too, but I still have a lot of ways to incorporate classic applications, which people also appreciate.”
Like all customers, his members have gotten more knowledgeable about the food they’re eating. Sourcing and food origins are always top-of-mind with his diners, too. “We’re not just going out and buying ingredients, we have to say ‘How does it look?’ ‘What is the pricing?’ ‘Where does it come from?’ ‘Who made it?’ because people will ask.”
When New Jersey’s stay-at-home order was put in place, Chef Michael knew he had to not only adjust his menu and service options, but also his expectations. Through creative ideas — from virtual wine dinners, on-course dining for golfers and pre-packaged meals for celebrations — he’s found ways to keep his members happy and his staff engaged.
“Once or twice a month, we used to do a wine dinner with 30 people,” he explained. “We are now starting virtual ones. When members pick up the meal, they get full instructions on how to cook everything including the appetizer and entrée. Then we meet online and chefs show how to prepare it and plate it — from the appetizer to the dessert — and then we discuss the wine. It’s a great way to keep something that’s been successful going.”
Paring down the menu has also helped manage member expectations and protect his staff. “If you had cooks making the same amount of meals, it would be impossible for them to socially distance,” he explained. “We have more menu rotations to keep it smaller and have fewer staff behind the line. It also helps for our members to see we’re doing what we can to keep them safe.”
STAFF IS FAMILY
Chef Michael believes that in order to deliver consistently great food, he not only counts on tried-and-true products like Sterling Silver, but in retaining his staff. “I really try to get the staff’s passion into the menu. When they do menu writing, they have input and are really creative,” he said. “One of our philosophies here is to retain our staff — our family — for years to come. In other kitchens, we had such high turnover because our staff was just executing. When you give them input and a chance to create, they feel more invested and it’s helped me maintain my core staff.
Learn more about Chef Michael and his experience when you visit his chef profile page.