Halfway house delights
Trentham's caterers Larissa Ojansuu and Karen Kenton-Barnes have featured in an article in the January 2017 Golf Australia magazine by Brendan Moloney entitled "Halfway House Delights".
Larissa and Karen of Trentham's Birdie Kitchen
The 'Birdie Kitchen' is open every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as during tournaments. They can open on other days for groups by arrangement. Please call the club booking line on 5424 1046 if you wish to enquire about catering for your group. Alternatively contact the club through the "Contact Us" link above.
Larissa and Karen also manage the club's green fee bookings (including social club bookings), golf cart hire and the bar on Sundays.
One of the great joys of golf is that you don't have to stop playing to eat.
Lawn bowls has appeal also because you can get a drink at each end but after nine holes it is hard to beat an Australian classic, the cold lamb sandwich made from the leftovers of the previous night's roast and seasoned with an unhealthy amount of salt and tomato sauce!
If you are playing well it gives a lift and if not, the strength to carry on.
This important aspect of the game has been lifted to new heights at Trentham Golf Club, 97 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, by Larissa Ojansuu and Karen Kenton-Barnes, who have taken over the kitchen.
Instead of proprietary brands of pies, pasties and sausage rolls that have been in the freezer and/or warmer far too long, their Birdie Kitchen offers a range of home-cooked meals and snacks that are so good there has been an increase in the number of green fee players attracted to the course.
Instead of sitting behind the counter and waiting for business to come to them, they've put a blackboard menu on the 10th tee which informs hungry golfers that orders can be sent by SMS message over the phone and will be ready at the appointed time. Some opt to sit down and eat in the clubhouse and others collect it from the kitchen back door in the course of their round.
A sample blackboard menu on the 10th tee
This brings to mind Ansett and TAA airline pilots who were members of Northern Golf Club in the city who used to order their a medium rareT-bone steak with mushroom sauce and the time they wanted it over the radio to the control tower at Essendon Airport. From there the order was phoned to the club, a short drive away, and life was sweet.
The two 40-year-old school mums decided to try their luck when the club advertised in the local paper for someone to run its commercial kitchen 18 months ago. Perhaps luck is the wrong word. Ojansuu is a formally trained chef whose job before motherhood was in the five-star Canberra Hyatt Hotel and Kenton-Barnes has won awards for customer service in the insurance industry.
The secret, they say, is to keep the food simple. Golfers know what they want and it isn't the stuff that comes out of five-star kitchens. Delicious, freshly made pies, pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches and cakes are their preference and it helps if they can be eaten one-handed and do not drip jus or gravy onto the grips of their clubs.
The Trentham duo has also restored much marital harmony in the district. Men who found themselves in the doghouse for coming home late from golf and smelling like a brewery have been transformed into model husbands by the Birdie Kitchen's takeaway meal packs. They phone their spouses to tell them what's on the menu and arrive home as heroes with dinner. On the day I called the vegetable lasagne had sold out and they were starting on a big batch of chicken fried rice.
Despite the fine country fare, both women are from Melbourne. They grew up at Point Cook, near the Greg Norman and Bob Harrison-designed Sanctuary Lakes course, but did not meet until they moved to Trentham five years ago.