It wasn't exactly PDQ, but the posh PGA National Resort & Spa (400 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens; 800-863-2819) finally has an executive chef, replacing former Top Chef contestant Kenny Gilbert, who bailed on the gig in August after a mere couple of months behind the stove.
The new top toque is Gordon Maybury, whose résumé may not have the foodie cachet of a Top Chef wannabe but includes stints at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Europe and big-time hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean. Speaking with an accent that reveals his Irish heritage, Maybury said that despite working in restaurants for 24 of his 40 years, "it still doesn't feel like a job."
Good thing, because he has his work cut out for him at the resort, whose restaurants haven't made much of an impact on the local scene during its almost 30-year history. "Outside of being known as a sort-of steak house," he notes, "[the resort's flagship Ironwood Grille] doesn't have much of an identity."
So he's looking to rebrand the place as a steak house with a Floribbean accent, adding to a menu of designer beef (prime, Angus, Hereford, Wagyu) dishes like Wagyu carpaccio with mango and white balsamic drizzle and such SoFla standbys as ceviche and yucca fries. On the job less than a week, the menu is mostly in his head, but he promises that apps and desserts in particular will get a thorough reworking.
He's also looking at turning the downstairs Bear Trap sports bar into a contemporary Irish gastropub with an extensive roster of microbrewed beers, which ought to provide a little taste of home.