In Good Taste

by Martha-Page Althaus

 Jun 14, 2018 at 2:07 PM

Kenric Hunt, Executive Chef

It’s safe to say that everyone at Greenville, NC’s Brook Valley knows Kenric Hunt. And he knows them, too.

“It’s a smaller club here, so I know who is in town, who is out on vacation,” he says. “I know who likes what, and when
they’re coming in.”

Here are a few other things he knows: His wine-drinkers are loving the Juslyn additions to his wine list through McConnell Golf’s partnership with the Napa vineyard. He added a grouper with citrus vinaigrette to the menu complement the wine.

“That’s a bright dish, perfect for the crisp white,” he says.

“There’s no sharpness on the end of these new wines. It’s mellow and smooth, buttery on the finish. We’re all loving it.”

Hunt’s friendly, easy-going demeanor is reflected in his culinary style. His dinner menus change monthly, and the release of new entrées is celebrated with club-favorite “Birthday Night.” Taking advantage of the surrounding farms of eastern NC, Hunt frequents farmers markets to see what he can get for the Brook Valley kitchen.

“We have so much fresh produce from right here that I love working with,” he says. “Zucchini, squash, fresh green beans, baby green onions - love those! And the sweet corn, there’s so many ways to prepare it. My favorite is to shave it off the cob, and get the milk of the corn by scraping the cob. Then, we’ll fry it with bacon fat until its creamy. That’s one of our favorite dishes to do as an appetizer as soon as sweet corn is available.”

A benefit of cooking for a smaller club is Hunt’s ability to seek — and respond to — feedback from members. “We’re always evolving, always keeping it fresh and interesting for our diners,” he says. “You have to.” 


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If You Build It

by Casey Griffith

 Apr 25, 2017 at 3:44 PM

It's often said that you can stage your home perfectly, but guests always congregate in the kitchen. In many ways, it’s the heart of the home. And that same inviting atmosphere surrounds you in Brook Valley Country Club’s sun-soaked dining room, where Chef Kenric Hunt is often seen greeting guests. Just as the club’s 2015 golf course restoration project brought more people out to play, and clubhouse renovations attracted young families, Hunt’s passion for cooking has delighted members old and new and anchored the community at Brook Valley.

Executing A Vision

“When I came to look at the club for the first time, it wasn’t the prettiest picture,” Hunt recalls. John McConnell had only recently been given the keys, and the kitchen was in a state of disarray. “My wife always says, ‘Look through the mess.’ So I asked myself, ‘Is there something that can be done? Is this something I really want to do?’ The answer was ‘Yes.’”

It took a lot of work in a short amount of time for his vision to come to fruition. “Chef brought a great attitude into the project and upon reopening, he really impressed the membership and local community,” reflects Club Manager Phillip Loney.

One of his early moves was to build a diverse culinary team. Sous Chef Dave Larson, who hails from New England, expanded the kitchen’s repertoire, complementing Hunt’s French-influenced coastal classics with his own specialties. The kitchen offers dishes that members might not serve at home. “You have to think about what makes the experience memorable and exciting for your members,” Hunt explains. 

He extends credit for the success to the entire kitchen crew: Ms. Joyce, Ms. Mellissa, Mr. Roderick, Ms. Nea, Dylan, and Sous Chef Dave. “Without everyone working together I can’t be as creative. I’d have to worry about all the parts of each dish, the ingredients, the method, and whether my dishes are clean,” he explains. “Your crew is your backbone.”

A Place to Grow

For Hunt, cooking has always been about people. Growing up, he cooked with his mother, watched his uncles grill at family gatherings, and prepared evening meals for his siblings. “I got my professional start in restaurants, but in that fast-paced environment you only know the table number you’re cooking for, not the people,” he says. 

When a friend first told him that he might be well-suited for the private club environment, Hunt admits that country clubs weren’t the first thing that came to mind when he thought about exciting cuisine. Starting at the Ocean Club in Myrtle Beach soon changed his mind. “Going to a private club was a necessity. I needed to slow it down and get deeper into cooking and become more well-rounded.”

That same care in knowing who you cook for comes through for Brook Valley’s members every time the kitchen is open. “It took some time, but we transformed the kitchen into something really special,” he reflects.

The Ringer

Certainly his early life experiences and the close-knit team in the kitchen have the most influence on the cuisine Brook Valley’s members enjoy. However, as Hunt notes, inspiration can come from unexpected places.

 “Probably my most memorable dining event was the Chef versus Member Rib Cook-Off in 2015,” he recounts. “There were five teams and we structured it like an official cook-off with judges; the members ate and told us their favorite.” 

The collaborative nature of the event was exciting. Those with grills in their backyard have their own special tricks, and Greenville boasts a thriving tailgate culture — so the competition was formidable. Despite the staff’s best effort, they came in second place. 

“We had no idea what we were up against!” Hunt laughs. The champion was Brook Valley member Scott Shook, who is a semi-professional barbeque cooker. Bonding over smoke and flame that day, the two became pals, and another cook-off is hopefully in the works for later this year.

The Road Ahead

The team’s passion ensures that momentum gained from the past two years won’t be squandered. As part of an initiative that spans McConnell Golf properties, Hunt is working with a local farm coalition to incorporate locally sourced meat and produce into Brook Valley’s menu. 

Hunt’s role in the club’s culinary success brings to mind a familiar theme. As Donald Ross wrote to his protégé and the future designer of Brook Valley’s golf course Ellis Maples, “Give consideration to others, do some good, however small, every day of your life. However humble our work may be, we all have our little niche in this world’s work.”


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Chili Weather

by Chef Kenric Hunt

 Jan 20, 2017 at 2:35 PM

What better way to fend of winter’s chill than to curl up with a bowl of hearty chili? My take on this seasonal classic balances fresh peppers with bright coriander to remind us that spring will come again soon.

I’m pleased to share the following recipe at the request of many members whom wish to enjoy it at home as well as at the club. Our food is meant to be shared so invite a few friends over and let be more in 2017!  

Chef Kenric's Chili 

Serving for 4-8


  • 1 pound of cooked and drained ground beef
  • 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 each medium diced red, green, and yellow pepper
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • S/p to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Chili powder
  • 1tsp Coriander
  • ½tsp Garlic chopped
  • 1 cup cooked black beans


  1. In a large sauce pan brown and chop ground beef, remove meat and drain fat
  2. Place vegetables in the pan sauté for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add tomato, beans, and beef
  4. Stir in all seasoning (If thick add in 1 cup of water)
  5. Allow to cook on low heat for 1 to 2 hours
  6. Serve with cheese and crusty bread or crackers

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Pickled Veggie & Fruit Plate

by Chef Kenric Hunt

 Dec 16, 2015 at 5:06 PM


3 1/2 cups water

1 1/4 cups white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon sea salt

4 cups of cauliflower, zucchini, or any vegetable you like  

2 cloves garlic, whole


Stir water, vinegar, sugar, and sea salt together in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely.

Combine cucumber spears, garlic cloves, and fresh dill in a large glass or plastic container. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Seal container with lid and refrigerate for at least three days.


Use fresh fruit of your choice and cheese.


1 cup of balsamic vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

Combine and reduce to syrup and drizzle over finished plate

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