From Casual Lunches to World-Class Wine Dinners

By:
Marc DeWall, General Manager

The Club’s new Director of Food and Beverage defines fine dining and uses a quality-first approach to turn any meal into the most extraordinary experience.

We are excited to introduce our new Director of Food and Beverage, Michael McClellan, and welcome him to Cordillera Ranch! Michael is from San Antonio and has an impeccable reputation as being one of the best in his field. He is going to bring a wealth of experience from his time spent at some of the finest restaurants, hotels and private clubs in Texas.   

Michael has a terrific resume that includes Director of F&B St. Anthony Hotel, GM Signature at La Cantera Resort, GM Supper at Hotel Emma and most recently as opening GM of Carriqui Restaurant at the Pearl. He also previously served as F&B Director at UT Golf Club in Austin. Michael’s background and experience are impressive, and after thorough vetting we realized he possessed all of the skills we were looking for in our next Director of Food and Beverage. He is an excellent communicator and understands the importance of building relationships. He is a great team builder and his experience at various levels of fine dining will serve our members well.  

We truly believe Michael is going to fit very well with our membership and continue to grow and enhance the dining experiences here at the Club. We asked him to share his most valuable lessons learned from his years in the industry and how they ignited a passion for creating the most exceptional dining experiences.

The hospitality industry has changed so much from when I started, especially in the fine dining realm. When I first got started in the hospitality industry, fine dining is what really intrigued me the most. It was all about being as close to perfection as possible — pushing the limits on the food and service. It is a sophisticated, well-orchestrated performance from every aspect — think of a Broadway performance with the very best talent. 

I always found fine dining is traditionally the most expensive dining experience, typically multiple courses based off a prix fixe menu thoughtfully designed by the Chef. The service standards are very strict, elegantly presented and very professional. From this, I emphasize a quality-first philosophy and focus on providing an excellent experience and great value through exceptional food, a great atmosphere and impeccable service. I know that any success I have had is a result of this mindset and philosophy. That was what fine dining taught me very early on and I use this strategy in my approach to hospitality. 

Overall, I’m a product of all my experiences in the industry. I have been fortunate enough to work for so many great Chefs and industry leaders. We always valued each and every customer like they’re our only one. The goal was always perfection in food, service and atmosphere each and every day. We called it fine dining. But now you can have as amazing a meal in the neighborhood café as you can in an expensive fine-dining establishment. Like these holes-in-the-wall restauranteurs, the best operators simply focus on providing excellent food and service and not on how others define their establishment. 

Early in my career, I was taught the importance of visiting every table, customer and team member. I have continued this throughout my career, regardless of the type of food or establishment. This simple tactic yields huge results in relationship building, feedback and quality control. I believe this is a tremendous opportunity to join Cordillera Ranch and contribute in building to the great culture of hospitality already present here at the Club. It is an honor to be on the team and we will work to create consistent, great dining experiences for you and your guests.

I look forward to meeting you and hope you will stop and say hello when you’re at the Club.

Michael McClellan is the Director or Food and Beverage at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at mmcclellan@cordilleraranch.com and 210.717.2146.

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