But if you are preparing the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for 700 to a 1,000, what do you do? Or how about a Christmas celebration for 400 or Chanukah for 600, Mother’s Day for 400 or Easter Sunday for several hundred? We handle all of the Jewish High Holiday Days with specially menus as required by tradition including services of special days such as Easter and Christmas, not forgetting, of course, some of these holiday periods that last more than one day for families and guests.
That’s among the challenges facing Terry Daniels, executive chef at the Club at Boca Pointe…a challenge he faces not just on the holidays but every day to satisfy the pallet of 1,000 plus members.
The answer for Chef Terry is remarkably simple and virtually second hand:
1. Establish strong ties with the best providers of food, not necessarily the biggest. Set the specs for the fresh food whether it is meat, fish, vegetables or any other product.
2. Maintain constant quality control from the time the food reaches the kitchen until the time it hits the member’s plate.
3. Build a team of sous chefs that share the same standards.
4. Provide a front of the house team that knows the members and delivers the final product to their taste buds.
That’s all well and good. This sounds like a recipe for all restaurants and it probably is. This attention to detail is what separates the Club at Boca Pointe from the rest. “Don’t forget most commercial restaurants thrive on turning the table,” Chef Terry adds. “They are driven by volume. Their wait staffs’ earnings are driven by volume. That’s the norm!
“At Boca Pointe, we can end up serving 150 dinners on a weekday night; more than 400 on a typical Friday night during the season and the number escalates with the holiday periods and school breaks. So, it is the personalized attention to our members and their guests that become our critical daily challenge,” he says.
Thanksgiving Day Dinner is the biggest day where we serve between 700 to 1,000 members, families and their guest. The day starts at 2 p.m. and goes well into the early evening. The first taste of turkey or brisket at 2 p.m. is the same taste you get if you are among the last diners of the day.
Again, as Chef Terry explains, “it starts with purchasing the best food products and having a team in place prepared to work not just on the big day, but the days leading up to the Turkey feast. It’s all hands on deck.
“We prepare all week long. We will prepare and cook 35 to 50 turkeys. Each turkey weights about 35 pounds and we maintain the same fresh, juicy taste all day long. It’s all in the preparation by our team.”
Not all is the preparation flawless; the delivery is spectacular when you enter the area where the food is displayed and ready for consumption. The buffet looks full, crisp and fresh all day long. Nothing looks bare. Not even the special dessert area from the pumpkin pies to tarts to fresh fruit.