Chef Renee Hogge Brings Country Club Experience to New Restaurant
(RICHLAND, MI) - In anticipation of the grand opening next spring of one of the most exciting courses designed in Michigan in recent years, Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta is stepping up its game with a stunning new restaurant that should be as exciting as the nearby golf holes that share the panoramic views over the Kalamazoo River.
For residents in the Battle Creek or Kalamazoo area, the restaurant is another choice for casual fine dining served up with unbeatable views halfway between both cities.
Despite its close proximity to the new links-style Stoatin Brae course, the glass and cut stone facility was created as a year-round attraction for entire area.
Three generations of one family - grandfather, Darl Scott; his son, Charles; and Charles’ son, Jonathan, the current president, have owned and developed the Gull Lake resort for more than half a century.
Bill Johnson, the resort’s vice president said the family is pleased with the buzz being generated by the new course as well as the addition of Blue Stem restaurant to the resort’s other dining amenities.
He said the resort’s new Executive Chef, Renee Hogge was selected not only for her culinary skills, but for her unique industry background of opening and running her own restaurants, plus more than a decade as executive chef at one of the state’s top private clubs.
“She has a terrific background in culinary arts and she brings great experience and a love of cooking,” he said. “She also has excellent management skills that will help with the training and consistency she brings to our existing staff. She is the perfect choice to launch the new restaurant.”
Hogge said she is excited to join the Scott family enterprise and believes she is up to the challenge of making Blue Stem a top area attraction.
“I spent many years in my own businesses, the Brighton Bar and Grill in Brighton and the Red Cedar Grill in Williamston, and 11 years at the Barton Hill Country Club in Ann Arbor,” she said. “After having my own business and all those years taking care of private club members, it’s a perfect way to meld not just the food and the customer service, but to make sure resort visitors have the perfect experience from the time they get out of their car until they get back in the car.”
Hogge, who said she is an unabashed foodie who loves to cook, also served as executive chef at the ionic Win Schuler Restaurant & Pub in Marshall.
She said just coming to work each day gets her and her staff pumped up. The building is gorgeous, the surroundings spectacular, she said.
“Everyone of us, as we come to work each day and get out of our cars we look around and drink in the scenery and then we go to work,” she said.
Hogge said the modern American menu she devised for Blue Stem came out of meetings with Jon Scott where she was able to soak in his vision for the restaurant.
“We wanted it to be interesting without being too far crazy,” she said. “I like to cook more traditional food but I don’t want it to taste traditional. We have a Golf course with a variety of Scottish traits. The restaurant is named after a prairie grass, native to Michigan and the Midwest. So we incorporated some traditional Scottish ingredients, using caraway seeds and leeks and cabbage in the menu, to blend the two countries together.” (Or ... sort of blending the two together - something simple along those lines. Direct and telling writers what we have. Not what the restaurant is not:)
“I like to cook food that makes people happy. I don’t have a stake in any specific type of food. I want everyone who eats here to leave saying that was a really great meal,” Hogge said.
Blue Stem is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
In addition to the restaurant and Stoatin Brae course, the owners have spent more than $1 million in the past two years renovating and refurbishing guest rooms, villas, and the resort’s original East Course Grill.
For more information, go to, www.gulllakeview.com.