20 May Meet Your Executive – Bruce McLean
Introducing, Dee Why RSL’s Executive Manager – Food and Beverage, Bruce McLean.
Tell us about your food journey and how you came to be Executive Manager for Food & Beverage here at Dee Why RSL.
I have enjoyed a long hospitality career that has most often revolved around food and beverage. Starting as a back-waiter at a 5 star hotel in Melbourne, moving up the ladder to Food and Beverage Manager then Hotel GM positions with Rydges in Canberra and Sydney. I have also looked after food and beverage customers in London, North Carolina, Phoenix, New York and Christchurch. I arrived on the sunny Northern Beaches in 2000 to manage the local icon, Jonah’s at Whale Beach. Loving the area so much, I was thrilled when offered the opportunity to stay local and join the Club some eight years ago.
Managing all bars, restaurants, function spaces, reception and entertainment comes with a lot of responsibility. What do you love most about your position?
Variety, variety, variety! No two days are ever the same. I really enjoy working with our wonderful family of catering staff and constantly tweaking our food and beverage offerings to keep things interesting for our regulars.
How have you seen the Club’s food and beverage selections grow in the time you have been here?
We always listen to our members when creating new menus and it has been great to craft our selections accordingly, leading to authentic representations of regional and international dishes as found in The Asian, Flame and Aqua.
It has been great to see our members embrace on-trend local and imported varietal wines such as rosé, pinot gris and pinot noir!
How do you think our food and beverage selections differ to other venues in the local area?
I am proud to say what sets us apart is that we spend over $3.5m a year on only the very best quality base ingredients and retain a very talented kitchen brigade who know how to exaggerate that quality with their skills in producing wonderful dishes.
What are your favourite dishes from each of our restaurant’s menus?
Bistro – Our pork roast is always great;
Asian – Crispy Boneless Duck;
Aqua – Scaloppine alla Romana;
Flame Dining – Prawn Tagliatelle – simply delicious!
If you were to have a bottle of wine named after you, what would it be?
Château Optimist – and yes, my glass is always half full.
What are three staples in your fridge that you can’t live without?
Butter, butter and butter!
What’s your idea of the perfect Friday night?
In the kitchen at home with a wine glass in hand. Without being modest, I make a classical roast duck dish that my gorgeous wife and three (sometimes gorgeous) kids tell me is hard to beat.
What are you most excited about moving forward with the Club’s redevelopment?
The new development is astounding! As the fly-through in the Lobby shows, the new outlets will provide very modern spaces with buzz that will create stellar experiences that you haven’t seen in a Club before.
Wine or food? You can only pick one.
Hard question! If you have been lucky enough to try a 1945 Château Margaux, then you will agree with me that it must be wine.
What’s one of your most memorable food experiences at the Club.
Sometime back at a Christmas Day Buffet a gentleman was complimenting me on how delicious the yellow sauce was that he was ladling all over his roast turkey – it was custard!
Any hints as to what is to come next with our food and beverage?
No, that would be telling! There is plenty planned and our members like an element of surprise and delight.
Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you.
For over five years, I created the nightly quiz questions for ABC Radio’s Nightlife with Tony Delroy – audience one million.