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ROXUL Culinary Challenge comes through for United Way Milton

27 SEP 2017

By Brent Long

Click here to view photos from the event.

The final ROXUL Culinary Challenge has been dished out in support of United Way Milton, but that won’t stop the two organizations from staying united in the future.

United Way Milton was founded in 1982 and the ROXUL Culinary Challenge has roots with ClubLink and Milton’s Greystone Golf Club dating back to 1997, so after two decades there are some changes in store for the charity fundraiser as it continues to evolve within the community.

Earlier this year, four United Way organizations united to become one. The United Way of Burlington/Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville amalgamated into a single new organization: United Way Halton & Hamilton serving more than 1,000,000 people in communities from Stoney Creek to Milton while the mission remains the same.

“It’s been another great event. Everything from the Thursday evening challenge, the silent and live auction, the limo rides to the course on the Friday, an incredible day of golf at Greystone and the five-star, five course dinner feast to wrap up the event has been magnificent,” says Kate Holmes, Director, Resource Development and CEO at United Way Milton. “This event is my favourite fundraiser of the year. They don’t miss a beat, from the on-course food trucks to the wines that are donated for the auction, The ROXUL Culinary Challenge has it all.”

For its part, ROXUL Inc., the North American division of the ROCKWOOL GROUP, the world’s largest stone wool manufacturer, announced that it will change its name to ROCKWOOL effective January 1, 2018. As a result, the tournament’s name will be changing for 2018, but the company’s commitment to the local community remains stronger than ever.

“United Way has been our corporate charity for many years. Not only does ROXUL help support those in need through this tournament, but we also support other United Way activities like the Milton Mayor Krantz Golf Tournament, The Big Red Run and our employee campaign. We also support Habitat for Humanity and the company just donated $250,000 to the Milton District Hospital Foundation,” says Trent Ogilvie, President, of ROXUL Inc. The company employs about 440 people at its facilities in Milton.

On the golf course, the team of long-time Greystone members; Mario Antico, Richard Davis, Steve Nicholson and Tsvet Tsokov carded the low score of the day for a three-shot victory at 17-under par. Second place went to the foursome of Mike Dwyer, Gord Waites, Ken Lockett and John Dixon at 14-under, while Trent Ogilvie, Geoff Keats, Tom Lee and George McCart settled for third at 11-under.

“I have played in this tournament many times but have never been lucky enough to win,” Nicholson says. “It’s always a great day in support of a vital local charity. The ROXUL provides a fantastic experience for all participants capped off by the chef challenges both evenings. It’s some of the best food I enjoy eating all year.”

The on-course drink stations and two new food trucks also hit the spot as Chef Chris Marsh pulled up on No. 12 with his Bishop Street Boxx food truck that usually sets up shop in Cambridge and on No. 6 there were some tasty treats from The Spicy Ethiopian based out of Toronto.

“This is one of the finest two-day golf events that you’ll experience anywhere,” says Chris Gilmore, a long-time Greystone member who donated a priceless bottle of wine from his cellar to the charity auction and bid on several others from other members. “It’s like trading hockey cards. It’s always neat to see what other people have and there’s always another bottle that you can add to your collection. The ROXUL Culinary Challenge is about spending time with friends, enjoying great food and supporting the vital work the United Way does in Milton. I think the secret ingredient to the whole thing are the food truck on the golf course, they make the day sizzle.”

In the clubhouse, the ROXUL Culinary Challenge on opening night featured a Canada 150 theme with a team of five chefs from ClubLink GTA East clubs going head-to-head against a team of chefs from ClubLink GTA West clubs.

In the end, the smallest margin of victory, a 1.2% difference in voting by the guests, handed the GTA West team the victory and bragging rights for the second year in a row. The GTA West team included: Paul Belacca, Executive Chef at Heron Point; Rene Rogers, Executive Chef at Glencairn; Brandon Seichter, Sous Chef at Heron Point; Kevin Watson, Executive Chef at Glen Abbey; Kim Gaudon, Sous Chef at Glen Abbey and Derek Everett, Executive Sous Chef at Glen Abbey.

“It’s a great opportunity for our chefs to work together. We’re always busy at our own clubs during the golf season so to come out here and combine our talents with a little extra creativity is a lot of fun,” Belacca said. “We had a Canada 150 theme and the focus was creating small dishes, one or two bites that looked great with some terrific flavours.”

Some of the items on the winning menu included: PEI Oyster Tempura, Smoked Quebec Duck Breast, BC Coho Cured Sockeye Salmon, Ontario Cocoa Dusted Seared Venison Loin, Alberta Bison Bangers & Mash and delicious Saskatchewan Pumpkin Spiced Nitrogen Ice Cream that may have put them over the edge on a beautifully warm summer’s evening.

A shout out also goes to GTA East team including Brad Murphy, Executive Chef at Rolling Hills; Chaminda Gamage, Executive Chef at King Valley; and four chefs/cooks from The Country Club; Leah Kim, Andrew Sousa, Joe Ablis and Alon Chitiz. Their menu highlights included; hand-rolled sushi while you waited, Lobster Bisque, Five Spice Duck in a martini glass, Carved Bacon wrapped Venison Tenderloin, Braised Bison Short Rib and Maple Walnut Nitrogen Ice Cream.

The event concluded with a spectacular dinner featuring the creative genius of executive chefs Rene Royers from Glencairn and Rory Mayne from Greystone. They each prepared an appetizer and entrée and guests voted based on their favourites.  Chef Rory won the appetizer selection and Chef Rene won the entrée selection. “The highlight of the night was the presentation of the plates, amazing flavours of the food and the incredible team work the two teams showed by helping each other prep and plate the dishes,” says Rob Townsend, Hospitality and Events Manager at Greystone.

It was a scintillating finish to the 20th ROXUL Culinary Challenge as guests headed home in the limos they first arrived in earlier in the day. Just over $20,000 was donated to local United Way initiatives. “Together, we are stronger,” is a simple saying, but in many ways, it defines the enduring success of ROXUL Culinary Challenge as it prepares to move forward with a new name in 2018, accompanied by an even stronger partnership with the local community.