Champions Dinner: A closer look at the menus
April 04, 2017
By Kevin Sbraga, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- April 04, 2017
- Bubba Watson served a straightforward menu for his two Champions Dinners, while Adam Scott provided some Australian flair. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Fun fact: It's not actually called the Champions Dinner. The exclusive Tuesday dinner at Augusta National for past Masters champions is actually called the Masters Club. It was started in 1952 by Ben Hogan, that year's defending champion. Hogan proposed the formation of the Masters Club, with membership limited to past champions. Honorary memberships were also extended to Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Bill Lane, Hord Hardin, Jack Stephens, Hootie Johnson and Billy Payne also have been added as honorary members.
The defending Masters champion picks the Masters Club menu, which often consists of fare from his homeland or just his favorite foods. As a certificate of membership to the club, the defending champ receives a gold locket in the form of the club emblem.
Champions dinner by Yorkshire 🥂🍴 pic.twitter.com/H2uMSE2sZR— Danny Willett (@Danny_Willett) April 4, 2017
Champion's Dinner: Jordan Spieth style. 🍴 pic.twitter.com/SJZyYX6Onq— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 6, 2016
We're no culinary experts, so PGATOUR.COM asked an accomplished chef to analyze some of the past menus served at the Masters Club. Kevin Sbraga, the winner of "Top Chef: Season 7" and owner of Sbraga & Company in Jacksonville, Florida, gives his take on some menus and offers an idea for this week's.
2015: Bubba Watson
Caesar salad with corn muffin
Grilled chicken breast with green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese
Confetti cake with vanilla ice cream
I respect Bubba's consistency for serving the same menu for his second Champions Dinner. It tells me that Bubba knows what he likes and isn’t ashamed of it. Watson said he stuck with the meal because "it's from my mom. Home-cooked meal and that's why I do it." I really respect that.
2014: Adam Scott
Artichoke & arugula salad with grilled calamari
Australian Wagyu New York Strip with Moreton Bay bugs, sauteed spinach, onion cream mashed potatoes
Strawberry & passion fruit pavlova
Okay, me and Adam should definitely be friends. He is the guy that I want to cook for, then sit down and dine with. A beautiful starter of artichokes, arugula and calamari sounds delicious. But then moving into an amazing Wagyu strip steak from Australia tells me that he likes the luxurious things in life, too. And the the meal ended with pavlova — one of my favorite desserts of all time.
2013: Bubba Watson
Bubba kept it super simple for his first Champions Dinner in 2013. Starting off with Caesar salad and finishing with confetti cake and vanilla ice cream tells me that he appreciates the simple things in life. This is the menu that I want to eat after a long week of traveling.
2011: Phil Mickelson
Ensalada verde con vinagreta de gazpacho
Prime beef tenderloin, manchego cheese, smoked paprika demi-glace
Apple empanada, vanilla ice cream, chocolate cinnamon ganache
I have to admit, it looks like Phil Mickelson loves food. This menu is different from all of his other Champions Dinner spreads. I think he must be an adventurous eater. Gazpacho, paella and empanadas are all classics from Spain. A menu like this brings me back to my days working with Chef Jose Garces. One thing that is consistent about Phil’s choices is that they are based on the classics. Whether it is Italian American, Southern comfort or Spanish inspired, these menus are all rooted in the classics.
2007: Phil Mickelson
Steamed oysters, boiled shrimp and crab
Southern fried chicken, barbecue glazed baby-back ribs, slow-cooked barbecue beef brisket, grilled hot smoked sausage
Cole slaw, fried okra, potato salad, baked beans, green beans and creamed corn
Corn bread with honey butter
Vanilla ice cream
Phil’s menu fro 2005 to 2007 really progressed in terms of flavors, excitement and inspiration. He went from Italian American to Southern comfort. It kind of reminds me of my own personal background. This is the menu that I want to eat from May through September. It just reminds me of the backyard cookouts that I grew up on. Fried chicken, yes. Ribs, yes. Brisket, yes. Yes to all of this menu.
2005: Phil Mickelson
Quail served on polenta with mushrooms and cheese
Selection of imported Italian meats, cheeses and olives
Lobster ravioli with fresh tarragon tomato cream sauce
Roast chicken, filet mignon and pan-grilled swordfish
Vanilla ice cream
This menu is one after another of tried and true classics. The most interesting dish on this menu is Phil’s choice of quail. There is a heavy influence of Italian American cuisine with the fried calamari, lobster ravioli and Caesar salad. There is a sense of adventure, which we all know Phil has. He brings it back down to Earth without completely breaking the comfort zone by balancing those distinct flavors with roast chicken, filet mignon and vanilla ice cream.
2004: Mike Weir
Lobster in puff pastry
Wild boar and chanterelle mushroom bundles
Sockeye salmon tartare
White & green asparagus salad
Roasted rack of wapiti elk
Mike chose a menu that is really based on the ingredients of his region. It screams refined Canadian comfort. With choices like lobster in puff pastry, sockeye salmon, asparagus, elk, filet mignon and chicken, it says simple but also exciting.
2002: Tiger Woods
Sushi and sashimi
Seasonal green salad
Prime Porterhouse steak
Grilled chicken breast
Mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus
Chocolate cake with ganache filling and vanilla ice cream
Tiger’s menu in 2002 was a very simple one. His choice of starting with sushi and sashimi is brilliant. I love doing a raw dish or raw course at the beginning of a meal when I am cooking for my guests. The progression of the meal is nice and makes sense, going from raw seafood to salad, then red meat and poultry dishes with traditional sides; the whole approach is classic.
2000: Jose Maria Olazabal
Solomillo de buey salsa bordelesa
French fried potatoes
Grilled wild mushrooms
Grilled lamb chop
Double chocolate cake
What a creative menu. This lineup screams fun. The fact that it was done in a tapas style tells me that it is all about community. Great food, great wine and great company is what this tradition is all about. I want to eat the mushrooms, lamb chops and fried potatoes right now.
1995: Jose Maria Olazabal
Collard green soup
Txitxarro en salsa verde
Prime New York sirloin steak
Roast rack of lamb
Asaparagus and baked potato
Roasted herbed new potatoes
I think Jose and I would make good friends. Maybe I can teach him how to cook a dish or two and he can teach me to swing a club. I love the idea of collard green soup. That is the first thing that caught my eye. I’ve never had it, but want to try it. The menu is meat and potatoes and I love it.
Sbraga also provided his ideas on what he would serve if he were ever fortunate enough to host the Champions Dinner. Here’s his dream spread, which is a celebration of his love of Southern food and has a Texas twist in homage to defending champion Jordan Spieth:
Kale Salad with Hot Vinegar Dressing
“This is a guest favorite on our menu at Sbraga & Company. No joke — it has converted so many people who think they don’t like kale. If I were in Jordan’s shoes, I’d serve big, family-style bowls of thinly sliced kale that’s been tenderized with a warm vinegar dressing, to neutralize the bitterness. Then I’d top it with some delicious seasonal accents, like crisp apples, creamy avocado, and crunchy onions.”
“I’ve known a lot of Texans, and they all love a good brisket. There’s a reason it’s a staple in Southern barbecue: when cooked low and slow, there’s simply nothing better. Offer a few different styles of barbecue sauces and some buttery rolls to sop up the juice, and let your guests dig in.”
Turnips and Spring Vegetables
“To balance out the brisket, offer a few vegetables. I think turnips are really under-appreciated on a lot of Southern tables. When you slow roast them and add the right accompaniment (we use a Piri-Piri sauce at Sbraga & Company), it changes the whole flavor of the root.
"I also recommend melange of spring vegetable. This time of year peas, asparagus, fava beans and spring onions are in season. After blanching them in boiling water I would quickly sauté them in olive oil with a touch of garlic, shallots, jalapeños and a touch a lemon zest. It's a perfect green dish after coming off of the greens.”
Pecan Pie with Blueberry Accents
“I’m going to bet Jordan likes pecan pie, since it’s the state pie of Texas. For Easter, our pastry chef at Sbraga & Company (Erika Weisflog) incorporated blueberries into her pecan pie recipe. It was unreal. Erika doesn’t share her recipes very often, but she’s also a Southern lady — I bet if Jordan wanted the recipe for a dinner party as important as this one, Erika would let him in on her secrets.”