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Senior PGA: Chefs giving food and cooking demonstrations are on par with healthy and tasty foods
PGA Food

Senior PGA: Chefs giving food and cooking demonstrations are on par with healthy and tasty foods

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I was very excited to see the line-up of celebrity chefs that KitchenAid is bringing to Southwest Michigan for this year’s 75th Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores. The chefs are quite impressive and include Gail Simmons of Bravo’s "Top Chef", Cat Cora of "Iron Chef" on the Food Network, Kelly Senyei whose blog "Just a Taste" is described as bringing you the flavors of life in small bites and Gina Neely of the cooking couple team Gina and Pat Neely who have several cookbooks and the Food Network show "Down Home with the Neelys".

Locally, area star chefs this tournament will be Tim Foley, who co-owns Bit of Swiss Bakery in Stevensville and the Bread+Bar in Benton Harbor with his wife Pat, Matt Pietsch, executive chef at Salt of the Earth in Fennville and Robb Hammond of Food Dance in Kalamazoo.

Last time around I saw Matt do a mini-dissection of a pig and it was so fascinating that he invited me up to Salt’s kitchen to watch as he and several others butchered a 200 plus pound Berkshire. The cooking demonstrations, like the one Matt did last time around (as did Tim Foley) are always informative and fun. At the 2012 Senior PGA I also had the chance to interview Patrick Neely—a very sweet guy who got his start working in a family owned barbecue joint when he was just a kid. I also watched—and talked to afterwards—my daughter’s favorite, Buddy Valastro aka the Cake Boss and Ming Tsai owner/chef of the Blue Ginger Restaurant in Wellesley, Mass., star of the Emmy nominated public television series Simply Ming and cookbook author. Tsai not only is an avid golfer who spent the time he was here golfing as much as possible but also was crazy about the burgers at the North Shore Inn across the street from the golf course in Benton Harbor. I can’t remember the final count of how many of those burgers he woofed down in a 36 hour period, but it was a lot.

I thought I’d share some of the highlights of Ming’s presentation last year.

“It's always fun to make delicious food in front of a live audience,” Ming told us. “I always keep my demos simple to show how to make a great meal at the end of a workday. The recipes are also healthy so they can be enjoyed often.”

Tsai grew up in a foodcentric family, cooking in his parents’ Mandarin restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and Yale University with a degree in mechanical engineering, Ming spent the summer of his junior year at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. Inspired by what he learned, after graduating he learned to make pastries in France and sushi in Japan before going on to earn a Master’s degree in Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing from Cornell University.

Known for his ability to fuse east and west flavors, Tsai has written four cookbooks: "Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai", "Simply Ming", "Ming's Master Recipes" and "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" and will be signing copies of his latest "Simply Ming One-Pot Meals" after his exhibition.

“If a Senior PGA Tour player, spouse or spectator is looking to make tasty food, the key is to keep it simple and the three recipes I will be preparing do just that,” he says. “One of them is, of course, a homage to my wonderful mother. It is a recipe inspired by her vinegared shrimp.”

Mom's Famous Vinegared Shrimp

Serves: 4

4 Yukon gold potatoes, each about 3 inches in diameter

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup Wanjashan naturally brewed rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Wanjashan naturally brewed soy sauce

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

12 large (U-15) shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 medium shallots, sliced thin

1 cup shelled edamame

1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Wrap the potatoes in foil, prick them several times with a fork, and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the vinegars, sugar and soy sauce and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shrimp and sauté, stirring, until the shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and when hot, add the garlic, ginger and shallots. Sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, deglaze the pan, and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the edamame, tomato, and shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutMs. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends from the potatoes and halve through the center. Divide the potatoes among four individual plates, top with the shrimp and sauce, and serve.

This year’s Senior PGA takes place May 22–25. Tickets to the 75th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid may be purchased online at or by calling the Championship office at (269) 487-3200.


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