For over 24 years, Tim McCarty was the executive chef there, producing extraordinary cuisine while paying close attention to diet restrictions, food allergies, likes and dislikes.
But because of the spread of COVID, “We served our last meal there March 5, 2020,” he said.
Lamb chops. Contributed / Tim McCarty
What next? McCarty was deployed to Charter House for several months, on two different occasions.
“How they handled the situation was incredible — it was a true lockdown that required extraordinary effort from the kitchen,” he said.
Then he was reassigned to Saint Marys, where he was responsible for three meals a day for 900 rooms from a massive menu, all coming out of one kitchen.
“There were many restrictions, but we made it all work,” he said. “I was really stretched, and ended up losing 18 pounds the three months I was there. I was happy when I would have a 12-hour day.”
Other assignments followed, including a stint at the employee cafeteria. But as conditions began to improve and food services slowly returned, he was informed he would be replaced at the Foundation House.
Brighter days, however, were just around the corner.
Grilled apricot. Contributed / Tim McCarty
This past spring, the executive chef position at the Rochester Golf and Country Club became available, and McCarty was hired immediately.
McCarty is a chef’s chef, as many who have dined at the Foundation House over the years can attest. In fact, in just a few weeks at the country club, his mark was already being felt, both in the quality of the food, and in the presentation.
Assisting him are two new sous chefs, Derrick Olgren and Aaron Skogland (Olgren is returning after having left a year ago). Change seems to come in waves, as the club also has a new general manager, Kevin Ehlert, who also brings a wealth of experience.
“Our goal is to be the premier dining venue in the area,” Ehlert said at a recent meeting I had with the two.
Lox and chips. Contributed / Tim McCarty
So what are some changes members can look forward to? A new menu is in the works, with an emphasis on fresh, fresh, fresh. Wine dinners and theme dinners will return. Ehlert mentioned a new concept called “Feast on the Fairway” (stay tuned for details). Specials are taking on a more contemporary look.
Clearly, everything is a work in progress right now, but one thing is obvious: Mayo’s loss is the County Club’s gain.
Duck breast. Contributed / Tim McCarty
McCarty’s culinary reputation extends way beyond Rochester. He has done cooking demonstrations on “Twin Cities Live” (Channel 5, ABC), and won awards in many cookoffs. He was a Minnesota Taste of Elegance winner in 2020, and has won competitions at the burger fest and brat fest in La Crosse.
On a final note: Those of us who have been fortunate to dine at the Foundation House over the years lusted for his popovers, a signature item there. Will he be making them here, too? He only smiled when I asked.
Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.