Susan Lacz and her Maryland-based company, Ridgewells Catering, are busy this week, serving 40,000 meals over the seven-day run of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — Take 5,900 pounds of beef, 5,900 pounds of poultry, mix in copious amounts of salmon, cod, crab, shrimp and a boatload of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Put it all together in fun, creative ways in a 3,500-square-foot kitchen in the middle of a vast golf course, and deliver it — in the middle of the night — to 41 locations around that course.
Don’t forget to come up with 120,000 pounds of ice. And, of course, 300 cases of wine.
That’s what’s keeping Susan Lacz and her Maryland-based company, Ridgewells Catering, busy this week, serving 40,000 meals over the seven-day run of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. And it’s why the company has worked nearly every U.S. Open since 1993.
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“It’s the excitement,” she said. “The adrenaline kicks in when you see this.”
Her company doesn’t run the course concession stands but serves more upscale offerings to corporate guests, course officials, players and their families, premium-level ticket holders, USGA employees and the media.
This is the culmination of a year-long process, with planning that began as soon as last year’s U.S. Open ended in Pinehurst, N.C. Lacz came out to the Puget Sound area in October to present offerings to major groups coming to the Open and tailored menus to the individual groups’ preferences.
One thing she heard is that Puget Sounders are into healthy cuisine. So yes, she does offer eggs and bacon at breakfast — but there’s also oatmeal, too, with fresh raspberries to put on top.
She’s serving salmon done in at least a half-dozen ways, grilled with a curry glaze, seasoned and baked, in teriyaki, even as jerky. Salad options are plentiful and include line-caught albacore tuna in a salade nicoise.
Lacz is loving this week’s Puget Sound weather. Last year’s oppressive heat in North Carolina had her burning a lot of fuel keeping her coolers going — and trying to supply guests as much bottled water as possible. The previous year, the U.S. Open got hit with a rainstorm at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia, and Lacz had some trucks get stuck in the mud.
She doesn’t offer any secrets about what the golfers eat, other than to say a good number like healthy and light offerings, or grab-and-go items they can take with them. Some travel with their own chefs or make their own arrangements for meals.
Even amid the healthful fare, there still is room for good old hot dogs, and Lacz takes pride in supplying whatever a group wants to slather on its dogs. A new one for her this year: cream cheese.