Holding Court!

by Matt McConnell

 Mar 08, 2018 at 12:47 AM

Game, set, dinner!

Exhibition matches have long been a celebrated occasion across the tennis facilities of McConnell Golf; however starting last year, a new twist was added — members can enjoy great food, service, and entertainment right on the court.

“What can be better than dining under the stars while watching local collegiate and professional tennis players compete?” asks Kyle Thortsen, director of tennis operations. “These Dining on the Courts events are a night for the entire family to enjoy.”

Likely the most competitive tennis-and-dinner combo took place in Knoxville. The main event included the University of Tennessee tennis teams playing, which brought a large crowd of Volunteer fans – including the most excited person to be there, Rachel Waddell’s son Corbin, who got to be the ball boy.

“The dinner on the courts was a very fun evening,” says Waddell. “The food and decor was wonderful, and watching the teams play was a highlight of the night. Corbin was so excited to be the ball boy — he just had tennis camp at the club a few weeks before! He really enjoyed the camp, and watching the University of Tennessee tennis teams made him want to play more.”

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Straight from the Source

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Aug 08, 2017 at 6:44 PM

Part of McConnell Golf's future-focus is seizing opportunities that benefit the planet, local economies, and member taste buds. We spoke with Executive Chef Patrick Budniewski on how - and why - he incorporates local ingredients into the menu at Holston Hills.

“Farm-to-table” is an overused culinary phrase, but for Patrick Budniewski, it’s the only thing he’s ever known.

“I grew up with a garden in my backyard,” he says. “We canned our own tomato sauce and made our own jams and jellies. I never ate the store-bought stuff. That upbringing was very influential in my career.”

So it’s only natural that Budniewski employs that same practice in the Holston Hills kitchen. The Johnson & Wales grad identifies his culinary style as simplistic: “I use really good ingredients and let them speak for themselves.”

The Ingredients 

Budniewski has a lengthy list of local purveyors. Among the favorites? Sweetwater Valley Farm cheese is a staple on his menu, whether it’s smoked cheddar on the charcuterie board or sharp cheddar in macaroni and cheese. Swaggerty’s Farm sausage is used for biscuits and gravy. Hickory-smoked bacon from Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams is another favorite.

“The whole kitchen smells like hickory when we get that bacon in,” says Budniewski. “We get it in slabs, wrapped in old-school deli paper, and cut it ourselves.”

At the Table

This isn’t your typical bacon. Benton’s high-end bacon finds its way into several dishes, from Budniewski’s twist on chicken cordon bleu - pan-seared chicken with Benton’s bacon and a Swiss cheese sauce - to fried-green tomatoes with poblano pepper and bacon jam. You’ll find many of these ingredients on Holston Hills’ daily menus. The club’s spring social featured a big display of Sweetwater Valley Farm cheese - buttermilk cheddar, gouda, and roasted garlic and pepper cheddar.

As for the future? Expect even more events and menus with a local focus. “We’ll keep trying to source the best ingredients, and those are usually found in our own backyard,” says Budniewski.

     

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