Executive Chef Michael Ponzio, Medinah CC
Michael Ponzio and Medinah Country Club joined our CLUBBUY program in May of 2019.
Our company specializes in storytelling and we knew Mike and Medinah made for a great story. We met Mike at the 2019 Chef-2-Chef conference in New Orleans. Our Golf Advisor Living host, Kira Kazantsev, was the celebrity judge and she convinced us Mike had a great story and we needed to tell it. As we got to know Mike, it became clear to him and his team, our procurement solution was a great fit for Medinah Country Club. We recently featured Mike throughout the 2019 BMW Championship week at Medinah and today, we continue to serve Mike and his team the best buying options in golf.
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Aug 22, 2019
While fans at last week’s BMW Championship kept a close watch on the FedExCup leaderboard, they probably paid little notice to the show being staged by the culinary staff at Medinah Country Club – a performance that proved just as compelling as the action on the course.
As the host golf course, Medinah’s culinary operation, led by Executive Chef Michael Ponzio, efficiently and seamlessly planned and served more than 33,000 meals throughout the week at the Chicago-area club. While the best golfers in the world competed for the win and a top position in this week’s season-ending TOUR Championship, Ponzio’s team catered to their every culinary need, while doing the same for their club members, and a large contingent of news media.
The sheer volume of just the food prep, alone, for the week was mind boggling. This included making more than 5,000 bagels from scratch, smoking more than 2,000 pounds of meat in their on-site smokers and hard-boiling more than 6,000 eggs. The team worked in multiple shifts around the clock.
“We had an incredible week and I learned how far our team could be pushed, especially considering many of the curveballs thrown our way,” Ponzio said. “To produce that kind of volume from scratch was quite an accomplishment. Food is such a big part of major golf events, and we truly executed a showcase of what we call the ‘Medinah experience.’”
Ponzio’s prep for the week was captured by GOLF Channel cameras and he was interviewed by Morning Drive co-host Gary Williams during the show’s Wednesday telecast on location at Medinah. The Chef also provided a look inside the Medinah F&B operation as part of the original GOLFPASS series, My Daily Routine, which is currently available as part of a vast video library accessible to anyone with a GOLFPASS membership.
Ponzio is keenly aware how golf course culinary operations – both big and small – can benefit from a group-buying program to help them succeed, like the Ride serviced offered by GOLF Business Solutions. The source of Ride as a procurement difference-maker is the immense purchasing power of Comcast, the $84 billion company that owns Xfinity, Universal Studios and the NBC networks, including GOLF Channel. Currently, more than 700 golf courses use Ride to save anywhere from 6 to 35 percent annually on agronomy, food-and-beverage and business supplies.
Medinah joined the Ride program in May and leaned on the service to help the club prepare for its big week. “US Foods was very helpful and accommodating,” Ponzio said. “Their online ordering system made things very simple and gave us the time-saving power to search and order on our own, without having to call a rep and wait for options. For example, if I wanted a snack mix, I could go online and search multiple options and just pick what I wanted.”
“We really did our homework leading into the week,” Ponzio said. “We talked with other chefs who have hosted big golf events before and worked with local farmers to bring in some really cool food options that created special, unexpected moments.
“It definitely had an impact,” he said, “I’ve never seen food talked about so much before during a golf telecast.”
To learn more about the GOLF Business Solutions food and beverage group purchasing programs, CLICK HERE.
Golf Channel Spotlights Medinah CC’s Culinary Operation
By Joanna DeChellis | August 14, 2019
Medinah CC’s Executive Chef Michael Ponzio chatted with NBC’s Gary Williams during the Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” about the club’s many culinary initiatives.
While Medinah (Ill.) Country Club is enjoying the limelight as host of the BMW Championship, the club’s culinary operation, led by Executive Chef Michael Ponzio, is also enjoying some well-deserved media exposure.
During the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive edition, NBC’s Gary Williams talked with Chef Ponzio about some of the featured dishes and culinary initiatives at the club.
“This guy might be the most important person on this property, not only this week, but all fifty-two weeks of the year,” said Williams during his introduction.
Since his arrival at Medinah, Ponzio has not only helped construct and run a garden with 25 raised beds but also built a 240-sq. ft. chicken coop that houses over 40 chickens. (See Cultivating a Culinary Garden.) During that time, he and his team have successfully shifted the culinary culture of the club to focus on high-quality, fresh ingredients that help to create outstanding dishes. In fact, Ponzio presented at the 2019 Chef to Chef Conference in New Orleans on the topic of hyper-local cuisine and member wellness.