Clubhouse Cuisine: Spotlight on Our Executive Chefs

Francis Turck, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards


The wholehearted passion amongst the culinary teams at The Cliffs is aplenty. To these individuals, the kitchen is not just a job but a familiar memory-provoking calling. These chefs have inspired menus, bringing satisfaction to the appetite of members with not only meals but also an enriching experience. We had the opportunity to sit down with the communities’ seven Executive Chefs to find out what led them to our clubs. 


What inspired you to pursue a career in culinary arts?

My mother worked in the restaurant industry and I grew up around restaurants at a very young age. I love the creative outlet of food. I feel you can travel through food by studying different cuisines and practicing recipes. Even though I may have never been to certain countries, I feel like I have by cooking their food.


How do you approach creating new dishes or menus that cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of the club’s members? 

 I love to follow the seasons of the food and work with local products. As a chef, you begin to learn the preferences of the people you cook for, and you look for opportunities to do special things. I also enjoy the collaboration component of working with my team on menu development. When you get to bounce ideas off of so many creative people, the good stuff starts developing and evolving.


Do you have a favorite dish to cook? What makes it your favorite–familiarity, tradition, new and exciting, or simply your favorite thing to eat?

I love the ocean very much and the bountiful harvest it produces for us. Fresh seafood is by far my favorite thing to cook and eat, from paella to shrimp scampi, it is all good to me. One of the first sauces I learned to make was the classic French beurre blanc. It is a fairly simple sauce that once you understand the principles of how it is made, you can do so many variations from the base sauce (i.e. passion fruit beurre blanc, smoked tomato beurre blanc, black garlic miso beurre blanc.) You can be as creative as you want, and beurre blancs pair extremely well with seafood.


 What do you consider your “signature dish” at your club?

Tuna-tini is a dish that I have had off and on my menus for over 20 years. It is sushi-grade tuna that is seasoned with togarashi spice and black and white sesame seeds. It is seared rare and served over a soba noodle, seaweed, and calamari salad. It has a ginger aioli and soy reduction and is served in a stemless martini glass; it is always a crowd-pleaser.


What are the member favorites?

Members always seem to enjoy the classics with a kicked-up flare. For example, beef stroganoff with braised beef short rib, wild mushrooms, homemade pasta, cabernet demi-glace, and truffle-infused creme fraiche—a dish they probably grew up with an added spin.


Outside of work, what are some of your favorite foods or cuisines to cook or explore?

I love to eat and cook almost all cuisines because I enjoy learning the story behind the food. If I had to pick two favorites, it would be Italian and Asian cuisine.



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