We're excited to introduce you to Damion Gallardo, our new executive chef at the Clubhouse Restaurant. We recently sat down with Damion to learn more about his professional background, his new role at Harbor Club, what he loves most about working here, and a fun fact about himself.
Damion – tell us a little about yourself and your culinary background. How did you get started in your profession?
I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but my dad was in the special forces, so I traveled all over the world. I've been to Germany three times! But I graduated from high school in Fayetteville and then went to Buffalo State in New York for their restaurant management program. However, I initially became interested in cooking from watching my grandma prepare fantastic food. Like most young people, my first real job in the industry was at Mcdonald's. But later, when I was in New York, I worked as a sous chef at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. After graduation, I moved back to my hometown of Fayetteville and worked as an executive sous Chef at Highland Country Club. A few years later, I became the executive chef at a local retirement community. I then moved to Augusta and worked for nearly six years as an executive chef at yet another retirement community. I gained a lot of great experience over the years, but now I'm happy to be at Harbor Club.
What drew you to work at Harbor Club?
While I enjoyed working in retirement communities, I wanted to return to work at an upscale country club restaurant. The dietary needs at the retirement communities simply didn't allow me to flex my creativity…and I have a passion for being creative with food. I enjoy strategizing and preparing incredible meals that people truly appreciate. It's very rewarding.
What's been your favorite part of your job so far?
I've only been at Harbor Club for a month, but my favorite part has been interacting with our members. In fact, I was the one who carved the prime rib at our recent Men's Member-Guest Golf Tournament. It was a treat to meet and chat with everyone from that event. I look forward to meeting more people here.
What are your future plans for the Clubhouse Restaurant and its menu offerings?
I'm excited about bringing back dinner service at the restaurant. I also plan to keep the menu seasonal and with terrific daily and weekly specials. In addition, I'm working on ways to resume the use of the kitchen that had supported bigger events at The Stables. As far as The Boathouse Restaurant is concerned, I'll help support Tim (our Food and Beverage Director) in making it better than ever when it opens back up for the season.
What do you find most rewarding about working at Harbor Club so far?
I'm thrilled when a member takes the time to tell me how much they enjoyed their meal. Many have also told me they've noticed a positive difference at the restaurant. I'm glad to know we’re making a favorable impact. It shows that all of our efforts are working.
When not working, what do you like to do for fun?
I adore spending time with my family. And, not surprisingly, I love going out to eat. I especially like going to restaurants that serve incredible soul food or barbecue.
Care to share an exciting, fun fact about yourself?
I have a somewhat abnormal addiction to Sour Patch Kids candy. I love that stuff!
We're excited and grateful to have Damion as part of the Harbor Club team and look forward to enjoying more of his delicious culinary creations. Be sure to stop by the Clubhouse Restaurant soon to welcome him…perhaps with a package of Sour Patch Kids.
Follow Harbor Club's Facebook page to see the Clubhouse Restaurant's weekly dinner specials, and to make a reservation, please email the Clubhouse. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We look forward to serving you soon.