When did chef Celina Tio - who opened her second restaurant, Collection, in May - find time to create a new menu for the Woodside Health & Tennis Club? The same question might be posed to barkeep Ryan Maybee, who operates Manifesto in the Crossroads and the Kill Devil Club in the P&L District.
It's not unusual for local private clubs to hire high-profile chefs: The exclusive River Club snapped up chef Linda Duerr after she left the restaurant formerly known as Zest (it's now the Tavern at Mission Farms).
The food served at the Woodside club had been traditional dishes that could be served poolside: club sandwiches, burgers, and chicken tenders. "It was a menu that didn't just need to be refreshed," says a club spokesperson, "but with more emphasis on healthy and palate-pleasing dishes."
Tio had designed the menu for Woodside last season and updated it for this summer, adding farm-raised salmon ("It can be added to salads, our Asian chilled noodle salad, and stir-fries," she said) and a burger very much like the Julian burger served at her popular Brookside restaurant. Creating the club's menu, she said, took a bit longer than expected because she hosted several tastings for the staff. "I like to keep busy," she says.
The club's kitchen staff faithfully executes her recipes, Tio says, and she pops in from time to time to make sure they're following her standards.
Ryan Maybee said he had never been asked by a members-only club to design a cocktail program before, and there were distinctive challenges to face: "It's an outdoor bar, near a pool," he says, "so we couldn't use real glassware. That really was a challenge having to create really nice cocktails that could be served in disposable cups. The bar at Woodside also does really high volume, so we needed to create drinks that could be made and served fast."
One of Maybee's ideas for a tropical cocktail required a little advance prep: "We're serving a drink that's served in a real pineapple. In order to do that, we're hollowing out fresh pineapples in advance and freezing them, so the bartenders can just pull a pineapple out of the freezer and fill it up. We also created two cocktails that can be prepared in advance and served from a tap."