Mohamed Azhar, Corporate Executive Chef for PGA TOUR and TPC Golf Properties, shares his vision and the reasons why livecookintable® is a long-term investment for them.
Mohamed Azhar, Corporate Executive Chef for PGA TOUR and TPC Golf Properties, shares his vision and reasons why livecookintable® is an investment in long-term efficiency, employee satisfaction, and in-person guest encounters for player tournaments at TPC Sawgrass.
Nineteen is the restaurant of The Players – the world’s golf elite. What makes preparing food for elite sports different
Chef Azhar: Nineteen differs in many aspects. We get the players, members, resort guests, and executives of the PGA TOUR. All well traveled and expect a high quality menu. We must make sure that the menu is designed in a way that caters to all their needs – clean, healthy, tasty, innovative and enough options to eat here several nights a week.
Does each player have a very special food plan/requirement? How do you meet all these different expectations?
Chef Azhar: This may come as a surprise, but a lot of guys and guests don’t order special meals. I am honored to say that most guests enjoy the creations of our menu, and sometimes there are some changes they ask for, which we are happy to take care of.
The menu selection in the “nineteen” seems to be unlimited. What is your favorite food on the menu and why?
Chef Azhar: There are a lot of menu items that I personally like, but I think the superfood bowl is one of our highlights and I personally love this dish. Also, we have butter chicken on the menu, which impresses the guests, and also speaks volumes about my roots. At TPC Sawgrass we receive guests from all over the world which is why our menu was created with so much influence of international cuisine.
India is a continent full of different tastes and colours. How does this affect the menu in “The Players” and how does that determine the choice of livecookintable®?
Chef Azhar: Not only India but all of Asia plays a major role in the process of designing the player’s tournament roster. We do curries, noodles, bahn mi, sushi, dumplings, etc. Once we knew livecookintable® would be here before the tournament, I designed the menu based on the cooking units we were getting. This gave me the freedom to be very creative with the menu design and do a lot of live cooking in the room, in front of the guests. We’d cook noodles, stir fry, and cook curries and fried rice at the stations. It was awesome!
In many Asian cuisines, food has a lot to do with preparing the food in front of the guests. Do you see live cooking as a trend that is coming up more in Western kitchens – especially. Luxury Real Estate – Also, what makes Livecookintable® so special here?
Chef Azhar: Absolutely. There are plenty of applications for this even in Western cuisine. We were burning meat and seafood at the stations. Making live pasta, grilling steaks, and searing scallops, the possibilities are endless. Once you know what all units can do, this becomes a chef’s playground.
While working on this project, we noticed that you are following a comprehensive concept and that you are very focused on details. Can you describe how livecookintable® facilitated this approach?
Chef Azhar: The entire team from livecookintable® was very helpful in selecting the equipment, color scheme, design and units. The fact that we were able to see what the products would look like in our club space before even signing the contract, was very helpful. Your team guided us through our list and needs. It felt like a partnership versus a bargain. Getting into it, we mostly knew what we wanted, and with the help of the livecookintable® team, we were able to create a banquet show that no one in the area had. We have given us an edge over our competitors in the region.
How and when did you first learn about Livecookintable®?
Chef Azhar: While searching for new banquet tables, workstations and presentations, we found the livecookintable® method. We wanted something modular and modern. When we looked at the livecookintable® site, we liked it.
What convinced you to buy it?
Chef Azhar: Quality product, properties in the Middle East and Europe where it really is. Also, it was easy to work with the team on this project.
What industry trends have prompted the need to choose our equipment?
Chef Azhar: We want to be the banquet industry leader in the region. Also looking for modular banqueting tables that give us versatility and freedom to do a variety of live things for guests.
What excites you about using Livecookintable® Equipment?
Chef Azhar: All the different units you can use and play with. It gives you the freedom to do more live cooking in front of guests versus traditional party equipment.
As a chef, would you recommend Livecookintable® to your former colleagues/current clients? If so why?
Chef Azhar: Absolutely. It looks great and can be customized to fit your space. It gives you the freedom to be more creative with banquet menus or pop-up kitchens. They just have to keep in mind the electrical requirements of the equipment, other than that it’s pretty cool.
What is your favorite job on our tables?
Chef Azhar: Mobility, ingenuity like Lego
What is your favorite device?
Chef Azhar: Inductive Wok
What is your favorite supplement?
Chef Azhar: Pasta / Noodles
How has the guest experience with Livecookintable® changed?
Chef Azhar: We used it at the Players Club this year and the guests love it. Just feeling like seeing food being cooked right in front of their eyes is already a winning strategy. Airwall makes sure that there is no smoke or a lot of food smell in the room
How do you improve the satisfaction of your employees?
Chef Azhar: We still have to get our staff to use the equipment. So far, they’ve loved what we’ve done and once they get used to it, I think they’ll love it.
What solution were you looking for?
Chef Azhar: We were looking for modern, customizable banquet equipment that would fit our rooms. Also, live cooking was very important to us as well.
What makes our devices stand out from the others you’ve researched?
Chef Azhar: Quality, design, versatility and ease of working with the same team.
Was there anything that struck you positively about our equipment?
Chef Azhar: We are still exploring the possibilities and trying out the things we can do with these units. Wok and Airwall were the two most surprising things. They work really well.
Did our devices save you money and/or increase productivity?
Chef Azhar: It’s too early to say definitively but I’m excited about the opportunity and I believe in the long run, once the staff is trained and work on the kinks, it will save us money and increase productivity from the banquette team.
In March, TPC Sawgrass Restaurant Nineteen demonstrated equipment for the first time at the 2022 Players Championship. Guests were happy and the team had smiles all day long with the new gear. Livecookintable® did what it was supposed to do; Enhance efficiency, increase employee satisfaction and enable operations to successfully complete another major event with happy guests.