Holding Court!

by Matt McConnell

 Mar 09, 2018 at 12:35 AM

Game, set, dinner!

Exhibition matches have long been a celebrated occasion across the tennis facilities of McConnell Golf; however starting last year, a new twist was added — members can enjoy great food, service, and entertainment right on the court.

“What can be better than dining under the stars while watching local collegiate and professional tennis players compete?” asks Kyle Thortsen, director of tennis operations. “These Dining on the Courts events are a night for the entire family to enjoy.”

Wakefield Plantation launched the Dining on the Courts event in Fall 2016. At the most recent event, Wakefield members enjoyed a raffle for door prizes, and the Wakefield Juniors were cheered on during their matches before local tennis pros, including Pierce Hoover, Brian Rosenthal, Ben Hunter, and Matt Nicholson, competed in the main event. 


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Straight from the Source

by Martha - Page Althaus

 Aug 24, 2017 at 6:32 PM

Part of “walking the walk” when it comes to building clubs of the future is seizing opportunities that benefit the planet, local economies, and member taste buds. We spoke with three McConnell chefs from Providence, Holston Hills, and Wakefield Plantation on how — and why — they source local.

Todd Jackson has been in the kitchen at Wakefield Plantation for 13 years, and you can bet he’s seen things change.

“Finding local ingredients becomes more of a focus every day,” says the Executive Chef. “The challenge before was those products weren’t readily available. But the purveyors are more focused on it now. It’s just a good way to plan the menu. What’s coming in? What’s going to be local? What’s going to be fresh?”

Jackson, who grew up in eastern North Carolina, maintains Southern culinary traditions but with a twist. His menu changes often but may include dishes such as braised pork belly with green apple kimchee and miso caramel.

The Ingredients 

Jackson sources ingredients from across the state — fresh seafood from the coast; cheese from Goat Lady Dairy; produce from Wise Farms, Scott Farms, and Sunny Creek Farms; tomatoes from Sunburst Tomatoes; and eggs from Parker & Reichman. But one of his strongest local connections is with Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork in Seven Springs, near his hometown.

“I went to school with the manager of Heritage Farms,” he says. “They send their pork to restaurants up and down the East Coast, even to the James Beard House. We’re so lucky we’re just right down the road. It’s better pork because it’s purebred, all natural, and has great marbling and intramuscular fat, which makes it very tender and flavorful.”

At The Table

Jackson uses all parts of the pig — ears, bellies, cheeks — for his ever-changing menu in dishes such as grilled pork chop with Carolina Gold hoppin’ John and green tomato chow chow; smoked spare ribs with apple cider mop; and local watermelon salad with jalapenos, crispy pigs ear, NC peanuts, and hon- ey-black pepper vinaigrette.

As to be expected, some diners weren’t sure what to think when they saw pork cheek on the menu.

“When we first started serving pork cheek and belly, we sent out sample plates for people to try,” says Jackson. “That helped a lot. Now we’ve taught members to enjoy it. People have become more adventurous and are trusting chefs.”

Last fall, the club hosted an outdoor five-course beer dinner.

“We had a makeshift kitchen outside off the putting green,” says Jackson. “One course was a Heritage Farm pork cheek, ragu-style with pasta.”

But you don’t have to wait for a special event to taste for yourself. Heritage Farms pork has a near-constant presence on Jackson’s banquet, Reserve, and daily dinner menus.

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