Rockwool Culinary Challenge
28 SEP 2018
A wild weather day put its spin on the 21st Rockwool Culinary Challenge as Greystone members and guests helped raised nearly $25,000 for the United Way of Halton and Hamilton.
The two-day foodie and golf extravaganza that has raised nearly $300,000 for local charities over the years opened with a phenomenal five-chef competition featuring executive chefs from ClubLink facilities around the GTA at Greystone on Thursday, September 20. It was followed on Friday, September 21 by an unforgettably windy round of golf and an exquisite five-course tasting dinner prepared by none other than Greystone Executive Chef, Rory Mayne and his team.
“One of our campaign slogans is, “What does local love look like”, and I look around here at the generosity of everyone who donates to the silent auction, supports the tournament and bids on the items and it’s what love is all about,” says Sarah Wolf, Senior Manager, Events & Communications at United Way of Halton and Hamilton. “We can feel the community support in the room tonight. As soon as we explain to people that we’re here for United Way they give very generously.”
The five chefs squaring off in the culinary challenge included - Chef Brad Murphy from DiamondBack GC with a Mexican Menu; Chef Rene Royers from Glencairn featuring a German Menu; Chef Alon Chitiz from The Country Club featuring a Portuguese Menu; Chef Kevin Watson from Glen Abbey GC featuring a Swiss Menu and Chef Derek Everitt from Glendale G&CC featuring a Brazilian Menu.
“I love the way the chefs compete against each other on the Thursday night. The food is simply amazing and it’s always a good time. I voted for Glen Abbey for top spot, everyone was raving about his menu,” said Andy Spyhalski, who flew in from Dallas, Texas as a guest of Rockwool for the event. “The breakfast before golf on Day Two is great and the food truck always has something tasty on the menu. I can’t wait for the closing dinner. It’s a non-stop feast.”
The 120 members and guests spent Thursday evening drinking vintage wines from the Greystone cellar and sampling an appetizer, main dish and dessert from each of the clubs for a total of 15 menu items plus a couple more thrown in for good measure. At the end of the evening, everyone cast their votes, five points for first place, three points for second place and one point for third place. The 2018 Rockwool Culinary Challenge gold medals went to the team from Glen Abbey, followed by The Country Club in second, Glencairn in third, Glendale in fourth with DiamondBack rounding out the group.
“I sent out a note to all of the chefs and let them know that if any of them wanted to do a Swiss Menu I would help them out and Kevin was the first one to get back to me,” says Werner Defilla, Director of Hospitality for ClubLink.
“I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so this was a great way to see all the chefs and their teams in action and have some fun at the same time,” says Defilla, who was born in Switzerland and trained as a chef before coming to Canada as a 21-year-old.
Glen Abbey’s winning menu trio included; Capuns –Swiss Chard Rolls with smoked meats in cream sauce; Beef Tenderloin Medallion placed on crisp rosti potatoes topped with melted raclette cheese and served with pickled gherkins and onions and dessert featured Swiss Chocolate Truffles dipped in Lindt chocolate fondue.
“Capuns are such a popular and trendy dish today, but they were never a delicacy when I grew up in Switzerland, so it was great to share them with everyone tonight,” added Defilla, who has been with ClubLink for 19 years, most of that at RattleSnake Point.
Chef Rene Royers from Glencairn went with his favourite soccer team from the World Cup – Germany - when it came to choose his menu. “This is an absolutely amazing way to be creative with food that we can’t do at our clubs on a regular basis,” said Royers, who prepared Beef Sliders with sauerkraut, Spätzle with Sausage, Bavarian custard tarts and Candy Peach Rings infused with peach schnapps. “It’s great to get together with the other chefs and see what everyone can come up with. Win or lose, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
Thursday evening’s raffle and silent auction was a real winner with all proceeds going to United Way. About 20 Greystone members donated distinctive and sometimes rare bottles of wine to the silent auction.
“Everyone who takes part in the event loves it and it raises great money for United Way. It makes it a real win, win for our community and our members,” says Chris Gorman, a 16-year Greystone member who has supported the event through Milton Toyota for more than a decade.
Friday started with limousine rides to Greystone for all participants, followed by a sizzling breakfast and 12 noon shot gun start with temperatures hovering around 30C plus humidity. The weather will be remembered for years to come as high winds up to 80 kilometres per hour blasted through the course whipping up sand and leaving a haze in the sky.
“The course is spectacular. The views from the escarpment are out of this world,” said first time participant, Ihor Wolochuck. “We started with one of the best breakfasts I have ever had on a golf course and everything went smoothly for the rest of the day. I will do everything in my power to come back to this event. It’s amazing. I had an awesome day.”
The team of Steve Hudson, Jordan Wilton, Justin Howard and Mike Munday posted the low round of the day at 21-under. Second place went to John Stiefelmeyer, Mike Clark and Dave McKeon and Ryan Sly at 14-under, followed by Mike Dwyer, Gord Waited, Ken Lockett and John Dixon at 13-under.
“I have never played in a wind like today. It felt like we were getting sand blasted,” Hudson said. “We hammed and egged it really well. We had two guys count every hole, but after that we were a disaster. It’s a great day and a terrific event for an important community-based charity. We’re just happy to be part of it.”