When Winged Foot Golf Club opened 93 years ago, membership was by invitation only. From the very beginning members demanded both the very best in golf, food and libation. Some things never change, as through the years, the iconic Mamaroneck, NY’s members will have come to look to the club’s culinary team to provide the very best in menu fare.
When Winged Foot Golf Club General Manager Colin Burns and Executive Chef Rhy Waddington were entrusted to create and execute a vision for the club’s first kitchen upgrade in some 50 years, the pressure was on to satisfy a very demanding constituency.
“The culinary team excelled before the new kitchen and continues to do so now,” commented Burns. “The new kitchen created a more sanitary, safer and more comfortable environment. The members feel a sense of pride and comfort knowing that the kitchen is cleaner, safer and more comfortable for the staff.”
Burns continued: “The vision for the kitchen was the chef’s. I knew that we needed a new kitchen, but all of the design work and conceptualization for the center suite was all Chef Waddington’s idea who selected HAFSCO, known for their fine reputation.”
With the renovations being done at Winged Foot Golf Club, this allowed Chef Waddington to create a kitchen that could really fulfill his needs. Chef Waddington has been with the Winged Foot Golf Club for the past eight years. Chef Waddington and HAFSCO have been working hand in hand to create a more spacious, effective kitchen that can provide the needs for all types of cooking and service.
“We have three clearly defined needs,” Waddington explained. “We offer a daily lunch service that has a ten minute wait time.” Dinner at Winged Foot features a new menu every single week. And the culinary team is also responsible for the Westchester County Club’s lineup of banquets and corporate events.
“So we needed to design a kitchen that could facilitate all those different needs,” Waddington added. “So we moved from what had been a traditional hot line or a cold line, to a kitchen suite. A Jade suite specifically enabled us to create a series of stations that our team could easily work around. It gave us the ability to serve meals on the a la carte side while we’re doing a banquet at the same time,” said Chef Waddington.
Adapting to the new kitchen took a short period of time. The culinary team has been able to reach new levels of productivity. The Jade suite features French cook tops with built in pasta cookers, induction cookers and built in holding cabinets.
Chef Waddington worked with the HAFSCO team to take a fresh new approach to the cold side of the operation. “Our cold storage space was too big. We got rid of any refrigerated doors. Everything is drawers, both hot and cold side. The drawer units give us the ability to maximize our refrigeration space on the line in a smaller footprint. We have reach-in freezer drawers and there’s a walk-in cooler upstairs as well,” said Waddington.
Also in these changes was the addition of capable air conditioning units that were installed to help bring the kitchen temperature down from 130 degrees to 80 degrees on those hot summer days. That’s not all Chef Waddington did for his team– he removed quarry tile and added new non-slip flooring, moved the pastry kitchen downstairs and installed an internal lift so someone didn’t have to bring 500 lobsters up a flight of stairs. Chef Waddington
and HAFSCO continually worked throughout the design of the kitchen to maximize safety and productivity.
Chef Waddington and HAFSCO have created a state-of-the-art kitchen, and everything has been redesigned and improved to last for the next 50 years. The Winged Foot Golf Club kitchen had a complete renovation with a collaborative effort between Chef Waddington, Tom Capobianco and Mario Capobianco from HAFSCO.
“HAFSCO was here at our construction meetings every Wednesday for a year and there was not one thing that wasn’t discussed,” Waddington noted. “It’s like anything, when you build a relationship with somebody, and we have an end goal, communication is very open. The kitchen was designed with the sole purpose of what is going to maximize the club member and guest experience and that is exactly what HAFSCO created,” Chef Waddington concluded.
HAFSCO’s entry at Winged Foot Golf Club came as a result of a somewhat unusual approach. The Connecticut firm was asked their opinion of a design that had been previously proposed by another design consultant. With a portfolio of club specific projects, Tom Capobianco guided the club’s management towards a truly unique and innovative redesign of the space.
As you enter the kitchen, HAFSCO has executed a design that takes into account a pantry that was originally too tight for the entrance door. “We were able to reposition cold pan storage while working around a column, so I was able to open it up a lot more, and give them a much deeper area between the door and the pick-up cabinet. I showed them where they could keep the rail and get rid of a bottleneck and maximize flow by moving a counter,” said Tom Capobianco.
Among HAFSCO’s trademarks in their legendary club kitchen designs is the proper housing of dishwashing operations. “The drop off on the dishwasher area, was coming East to West and I repositioned it to flow North to South. We opened that up and created a large drop off which they utilize tremendously,” noted Tom Capobianco.
The next challenge for Chef Waddington and HAFSCO was to position the Jade suite to be able to easily meet the high volume demands of the club’s “10 Minute Lunch”. “I looked at the burners and sauté stations and flipped some of them in the design to get them more refrigeration,” Tom Capobianco explained.
Chef Waddington wanted to be able to handle a catering function without slowing down the a la carte operation. “I knew right away that if I could give Chef Waddington and his team access to the backside of the suite, that they could easily handle both. So I could see that we had to turn the suite in the opposite direction. It flows beautifully, they are able to cook, plate and serve,” Tom Capobianco noted.
Waddington and Tom Capobianco also teamed to bring the kitchen’s basement to life. With an eye towards Colin Burns’ edict to maximize safety, HAFSCO started by widening a stairwell. HAFSCO then created an easy to navigate hallway of walk-in space for Winged Foot. The downstairs space was also outfitted with a pastry suite that enables the club’s pastry and baked goods team to maximize their creativity.
In addition to Chef Waddington and Tom Capobianco’s vision, Mario Capobianco played an integral role in the completion of the project, as Tom had to deal with some challenging medical issues towards the end of the design phase. “Once I had the flow and design of the kitchen set with Chef Waddington, Mario was able to carry the project through to completion. He attended the weekly job meetings, coordinated the release of the custom shop drawings with Chef Waddington, and worked closely with the factories, install team, General Contractor, and the club Architect on all aspects of the project,” said Tom Capobianco.
Mario’s move into a position of overseeing the completion of the project enabled the firm’s second generation to show its unique capabilities.
“We were really under the gun with getting everything up and operational for Chef Waddington. He wanted the kitchen ready to go a few weeks in advance of the actual club opening. Chef Waddington had a whole new culinary staff coming in and needed the time to get his team comfortable with the menu and kitchen design,” concluded Mario Capobianco.
Mario Capobianco proved to be a highly capable leader as he coordinated with the General Contractor around key target dates for getting equipment in place for the others trades to begin making final connections.
Once again, the HAFSCO team and Capobianco family delivered the Winged Foot kitchen on time and as promised. “As a family business, we treat every project as an extension of who we are. Every project is unique in its own way, and we try to take a personal approach to each and every one. It’s our passion,” Mario concluded.