Learning, Growing, & Creating in the Kitchen
By Holly Houser, Ocean Reef Press Manager
“A great cook knows that no matter what level they reach in their skill, there is always more to learn.” That’s what Vice President of Food & Beverage Erwin Pals told the Ocean Reef Press after his Culinary Team participated in a private Carysfort Kitchen class led by master charcuterie artist Brian Polcyn.
Classes like these are prevalent among Associates over the summer months, with this one particularly noteworthy because of the renowned instructor. Education and training is a hallmark of the Club Associate experience as many embrace the opportunity to expand their knowledge and grow in their crafts.
It is through these trainings that Ocean Reef’s 12 sous chefs, representing each kitchen at The Reef, were able to spend two days with Chef Brian Polcyn as he shared his 35+ years of knowledge in charcuterie and butchery.
“We know how special and inspiring it can be to introduce our chefs to industry masters like Chef Brian,” said Pals, who said this experience also served as a thank you to the chefs for a job well done over the past year. “What came out of this workshop was more than the knowledge on how to properly butcher a hog. Through Chef Brian’s teachings, we were able to excite our chefs into taking their culinary skills a step further. An effort which will in turn propel food and beverage at Ocean Reef to the next level.”
The response from ORC’s attending chefs was wonderful, with the workshop being described as “exceeding expectations,” “intriguing,” “eye opening,” and “inspirational.”
“From the recipes, to protein handling, meat fabrication and not to mention the delicious food we cooked, the experience was incredible,” said Chef Philippe Reynaud, Sr Director of Culinary. “We will all be able to pass these teachings on to new generations of aspiring ORC chefs and apply them to our respective Ocean Reef restaurants.”
Speaking of Ocean Reef restaurants, Members can look forward to experiencing some of these newly learned techniques come season. In particular, Ocean Room Sous Chef Ryan Schmidt said he’s excited to implement Chef Brian’s curing techniques for pork belly, and to introduce rillettes and terrines to the menu when the new Ocean Room opens.
“I hope Members will be able to notice the greater appreciation we have for our craft after this once in a lifetime experience,” he said. “When a Member orders bacon, we will no longer just think, ‘Here’s bacon.’ We will instead appreciate the art of butchering and charcuterie from start to finish. I’m grateful to Ocean Reef for providing the opportunity to enjoy this experience with my fellow ORC chefs by my side.”