The Tournament of Fools is back. What is it? Simply put, it’s a day of golf, games, bites and booze a short day trip away from the city, connecting the public with about 100 great local chefs and restaurateurs. Bill Reed of The Brooklyn Star, the main sponsor this year, and his event partner, Tom Barr, former manager at Roberta’s, are the organizers behind the event. And, there will be prizes (free trip to Hawaii, anyone?).
But, who knew that New York City chefs liked to play golf? Apparently, quite a few of them do, if the success of the last event is any barometer to judge by. Anthony Butler, executive director at St. John’s Bread and Life, a nonprofit organization seeking to end hunger in New York City and the beneficiary of a similar event last fall, dubbed Golftoberfest, says that it sold out, and the organizers were actually forced to turn some people away.
Still, it may seem like an odd combination, like orange juice and toothpaste, or Hellman’s mayo and bananas (although, Mario Batali swears by that last one). After all, golf is a sport that is usually associated with a fairly buttoned-up crowd — nine-to-fivers blowing off a bit of steam, doctors on a day off, well heeled retirees and anyone predisposed to regularly wearing polos and khakis — and not the slightly rebellious streak that chefs are known for.
But, it actually makes a lot of sense. Golf, after all, is a competitive activity (whether it is a sport is still up for debate), and chefs love competition. At the same time, it’s also a nice change of pace from the kitchen, because while golf is competitive, it can also be fairly leisurely, especially after a few shots of choice vodka. And it offers a chance for them to get out from under the fluorescent lighting and into the sun.
Plus, this is no ordinary golf tournament. Reed says that the name of the event is a riff on the PGA’s first tournament of the season called the Tournament of Champions, complete with a parodied logo. So of course the golf course will be studded with obstacles, and of course there will be a dunk tank at one of the holes next to the lake. And in keeping with the Mexican theme, there will be a mariachi band… and a burro at the least expected moment.
Participants will begin with a pre-game event in the morning at The Brooklyn Star, where the breakfast spread will include breakfast burritos, housemade chorizo, cornbread and Mexican chocolate donuts. To wash it all down, there will be coffee from Oslo Coffee Roasters, or for those preferring a bolder start to the morning, a choice between two cocktails: a spiked take on the Arnold Palmer dubbed the John Daly (in honor of the drunk golfer) and a twist on the Bloody Mary called the Bloody Bull, which has beef bouillon broth and green beans. After breakfast, they will board a chartered bus to the Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona, N.Y., where there will be more grub and pub: chorizo and chicken tacos from Oaxaca Taco made with meat from The Meat Hook, homemade hot dogs from The Meat Hook itself, brined French fries from Sam Glinn at OTB (which opened across from Peter Luger’s), and libations courtesy of Tito’s Vodka and Modelo. If that’s still not enough, Kinfolk will be hosting an afterparty in Brooklyn, featuring pulled pork tacos made with pork butt from Heritage Foods and hot sauce from Gorilla Hot Sauce Company, along with Mexican-themed cocktails.
This time, proceeds will benefit the Heritage Radio Network, a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance food discourse across the country, having broadcasted more than 3,000 interviews with the likes of Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and other luminaries in the culinary world via the internet. Heritage Radio Network operates out of the back of Roberta’s, an originator and avid supporter of the event. You can hear for yourself with this roundup of interviews with subjects from our most recent issue.
So, if a day of golf, games and booze with a bunch of local chefs sounds like the perfect way to celebrate one of the year’s best excuses to drink all day, all while donating to a good cause, be sure to buy a ticket soon.
Photo credit: Facebook / Heritage Radio Network