Chef Connie Patmalnee
New Chef, New Menu, New Taste of Peninsula
When you arrive at Peninsula Golf Club, you know what to expect. You know that your day is going to be one of luxury. The course conditions are pristine, the level of customer service is incomparable. You basically pull up and feel like a celebrity for the day.
So why should you expect anything less from our restaurant?
We’ve recently hired Connie Patmalnee as the Sous Chef at Peninsula, and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on board. Born and raised in Chicago, Connie moved to Sarasota, Florida, when she was 14. She started working in a fresh seafood restaurant before she made her way to Alabama at 20. In 1990, she was hired at Shoal Creek Country Club, where she has been for the last 28 years.
At Shoal Creek, Connie developed her skills under an extremely talented and trained European chef, Ken McNeely. She says it was probably the best schooling one could have.
“He taught me everything,” said Chef Connie. “He taught me to do everything from scratch, and that’s what we’re going to do at Peninsula. I feel very strongly about this, because it just means more when you can do something from scratch. It comes from your heart.”
Connie is reviving our restauarant by creating her own bread, pastries, pies and biscuits. You can taste the time, energy and love she puts behind her work. She wants to bring people into the Clubhouse, especially our members and Peninsula residents.
“When you work for a golf club, you’re able to know your clientele really well. You’re able to try things and be creative, while giving your customers what they want. Eventually, I want everything to be from scratch. These little things make everything taste so much better. If you’re going to call yourself a chef, you shouldn’t be opening a box all the time. I think a true chef should know how to do everything.”
And Chef Connie knows.
Connie says one of her biggest motivations to become a chef were the amount of people that told her she couldn’t do it. Shouldn’t do it. Because women aren’t chefs.
“All the other chefs were men, and they would tell me I don’t need to be doing this, because women aren’t chefs. Because I couldn’t handle the job. It’s too much. That just made me want to do it even more.”
She’s been doing it for 36 years now.
Connie has spent most of her life working six to seven days with 80 to 90 hour weeks. She welcomes the change of pace in Gulf Shores, and the opportunity found at Peninsula.
“I love being at Peninsula. I just want to make it great, because it has so much potential. I’m excited to be a part of it. I want to bring people back to the restaurant. If they give me a chance, they won’t be dispappointed.”
With a new chef in town, it was time for a new menu too. We recently launched our new menu, featuring some of the techniques Connie is (literally) bringing to the table. With fresh breads made from scratch, every sandwich has been taken up a notch. Members and guests alike are noticing the difference.
Members since 2009, Joe and Nancy Lapinsky have been coming in to the restaurant more frequently. They even stopped in the kitchen to welcome Chef Connie.“After happy hour, we enjoyed her specials so much that we went to the kitchen to congratulate her. We welcomed her to Peninsula and told her we enjoyed the food and liked what she was doing,” said Nancy Lapinsky.
They’re not alone. Tom and Sue Davis, members for three years, said they always ask if Chef Connie is in the kitchen when they come in. “The first time we tried Connie’s food, we asked our server if she would bring the Chef to our table,” said Sue Davis. “We personally wanted to thank her and tell her how great it was.”
We’ve added a local shrimp po-boy to our menu baked with fresh in house bread. We added a deli style hero sandwich with Italian fixin’s like salami, capocolla, provolone, ham, and of course, fresh baked bread. We now have a chicken bacon ranch wrap, fresh grouper sandwich, and summer berry salad as well.
We’re excited about the energy in the Clubhouse these days, and we invite you to join in. We’re open to the public, seven days a week.