Esteemed Chef, Malcolm Emery, this year celebrated his 40th year catering to players and the public alike at The Open Hospitality & Patrons pavilions.Malcolm Emery has been Sodexo Prestige’s Principal Chef for the past 20 years, developing an impressive and extensive portfolio of catering experience that includes prestigious venues and events such as Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, and Buckingham Palace Garden Parties. However he claims the most defining aspect of his career to be his 40 years working at The Open.
This year marks the 144TH Open and the 29th time golf’s oldest championship has been held over the links land near the ancient town of St Andrews. The Old Course, with its expansive double greens, shared fairways and treacherous bunkers, within view of The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse, remains the most famous golf course in the world and as The Open venue, a unique experience for golfers and sports fans alike.
Given the beautiful scenery and sporting excellence, it comes as no surprise that over the years the event has become a popular place to entertain guests for a day of hospitality. Having worked at The Open for 40 years, Malcolm has witnessed this growth whilst developing a great relationship with The R&A.
Today, Malcolm works at The Open to personally deliver a special catering facility on behalf of The R&A. This has involved catering for the event’s patrons including Rolex, Mercedes and Nikon, as well as the players and officials themselves. However this luxury hospitality is in stark contrast to Malcolm’s early days feeding the players in a much simpler setting.
Speaking about the event Malcolm remembered: “As a young lad just out of college, when I first started working at The Open, it was mind blowing to enter the world of hospitality and see the patrons up close. It totally changed the concept of hospitality for me, bringing me from the world of catering to a la carte dining.”
One of the obstacles that Malcolm has to overcome in his preparation for The Open each year is its changing location. Whilst other Sodexo Prestige hospitality venues such as Royal Ascot and Henley Royal Regatta are held in the same location each year, The Open does not have a specific host venue. Over Malcolm’s 40 years, the event has been held at no less than nine locations, each presenting its own unique challenges for catering including working in a temporary structure and managing the logistics of delivering supplies to the middle of a course. The courses located across the UK all have local tastes to adhere to but the team are committed to the challenge and work closely with local suppliers to support those communities.
While procedure is another crucial consideration at The Open, with 700 covers being served per day, innovation and quality is also of paramount importance. A different menu is presented each day which includes everything from a Full-Scottish breakfast to a five-course lunch and Afternoon Tea. Malcolm sets high standards for himself and is only satisfied if the offer he creates at the patrons’ catering facility continues to impress year after year. Each year, he endeavours to discover new recipes and new ways of preparing ingredients to make fantastic meals. This involves participating in food innovation tours and study groups as well as working closely with his supply team, who, in 2015 made agreements with over 22 Scottish suppliers for The Open having previously been hosted in Royal Liverpool the year earlier.
Malcolm has also worked to adapt the hospitality arrangements to make these as convenient for guests as possible, with his team introducing the ‘grazing menu’, a buffet-style luncheon menu, which allows guests to enjoy the luxuries of fine food with the flexibility to enjoy it at any hour, rather than having to book a set time.
Michael Wells, Director – Championship Staging at The R&A said, “Malcolm has given tremendous service to The Open over the last 40 years and many thousands of people have enjoyed the delicious meals he has prepared. We set out to provide an outstanding experience for our Patrons and hospitality guests at the Championship each year and Malcolm and his colleagues play a key role in helping us to achieve that aim.”
Malcolm shared this impressive anniversary with Tom Watson, the legendary golfer who has celebrated eight major victories over his career, five of which at The Open, who also celebrated 40 years since his first appearance at the championship.