Interview With PGA Resort's Chef Gordon Maybury, Part 2
Clean Plate Charlie: How many people can you serve at the PGA in one evening?
Chef Gordon Maybury: In the main ballroom, we can do 750 to 800 people. This Saturday, we have a wedding for 100 and a wedding for 200, plus some other functions, so it's close to 600 meals in four completely different menus and times. Some are plates; some are buffet. We'll also have a busy night at the members club, and it's a busy night at Ironwood.
How on Earth do you plan all that?
Every Tuesday, I sit with all the chefs, and we do a scheduling meeting. So, for example, this Saturday, everyone works, and we borrow people at critical times. We plate up salads ahead of time; a buffet can be put up a little ahead of time. One wedding is at 7 and one is at 8.
We can plate 100 places in about eight minutes. One person puts the potato on, one person puts the vegetable, one person wipes the plates, it gets transported and then served. From start to finish, everything down, everything plated, in 15 minutes. When we get a lot of parties together, it gets a little more challenging. We split up the staff, and we'll plate two different meals at the same time.
That's just crazy.
It's a good crazy, though.
Do you prefer to plan restaurant or catering menus?
I prefer restaurant menus. That's the food I like to do because it can be more intricate, it can be prettier on the plate. You're using more farm stuff; you're using more seasonal ingredients. At a restaurant, if something comes into season like Florida crab claws or ramps, you can do something specific as a special for a few nights.
Do you use local produce?
As much as we can. I certainly think local ingredients are a plus. Not necessarily organic, but if it's local and in season, it will be a better flavor profile.
What's your favorite dish?
It changes all the time. It changes with the season, but we took Florida stone crab claws out of the shell, we reduced blood orange juice and a salad of the crab with some watermelon avocado and white anchovies arugula and sea salt. The amazing meat from the crab and the avocado and the fruitiness from the watermelon. It's just interesting, and it's visually pleasing.
People eat with their eyes. It's something we're playing around with.
That sounds like a modern take on the classic stuffed avocado salad.
I like to do that a lot. Taking something old or a classic and adding some great Florida fruit in it. I like taking something like tuna and adding watermelon as a tuna tartar. It's the same color, and it looks alike. I'm trying to do as little as I can with the food.
What do you do on the "offseason"?
It will be busy the next couple of weeks, and the good thing is that we have many members, so it stays busy. We can just keep things going and current. We may close Ironwood on a Monday night and close Bear Trap on Tuesday.
Yeah, we'll relook at menus and budget and staffing. We look at amenities; we relook at the menus and look at recosting.
From where you've lived, which city did you like the best?
Everywhere was a little bit different. I love New York. The energy is great, but taxes are high, and you live in a small place. Miami was fun. I lived five minutes from work on West Avenue. I think the food scene in New York is better. The Miami food scene is great but still more of a club atmosphere.
What's next? What city or property would you like to work at?
It's always at the back of my mind. I got a tour of the back of house at the Wynn in Las Vegas. That's a challenge.
Stay tuned for a recipe from Chef Maybury, coming soon.