Fueling the JDC: The kitchen staff that makes it happen

Local News

Thousands of pounds of food go through one kitchen during tournament week

All the practice is over in Silvis.

Tomorrow the golfers hit the course to start the John Deere Classic.

It also means some crews behind the scenes are working to keep up with demand.

A team of about 10 people work the kitchen at TPC Deere Run.

It’s their busiest time of year: One week that brings hundreds of people and means thousands of pounds of food pumped from the kitchen.

“We do breakfast and lunch for the players and our families. Plus we have several outlets outside of our clubhouse that we take care of, plus we have a media center that we take care of,” says Sean Dittmer, TPC Deere Run Executive Chef.

This is Dittmer’s fourth time cooking for the classic.

“My first classic, I came in about three weeks before the classic, so I had no idea what I was getting into. I was going in blind. It was a crapshoot,” he says.

How much does his staff prepare?

“Quite a bit,” says assistant chef Eric Goodlow.

“What I mean by that, you take a normal month’s time and four or five times as much,” he says.

“You notice that big semi sitting out back? That’s out there for a reason,” he says.

This Goodlow’s 15th tournament.

The team feeds up to 400 people a day during JDC week, spectators as well as players and their families.

“There are some that have come through several years in a row, so I get kind of an idea of what they’re expecting and what they generally like to have,” Goodlow says.

He says his favorite part is yet to come.

“Thursday morning I get to see everybody come in,” he says.

“There are a few players that I’ve come to know throughout the years. They call you by your first name and they come looking for you, that’s always a good feeling,” Goodlow says.

“Dickie Pride is one, for the last few years, I’ve served him. Another one is Scott Langley… Zach Johnson always comes in and is always appreciative of the job we do,” he says.

An experience viewers don’t get.

“It’s just amazing that you… see a little different side than what you see on TV,” he says.

Dittmer says the 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. day is worth it, every year.

“The PGA Tour is a very big family and it’s nice, once a year we all get together and do something great for the community,” Dittmer says.

In just a few days, the busiest week of the year will be over, but Dittmer says that that doesn’t mean their work is done; that’s when they start preparing for next year.

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