Q • My cousin often shares a container of the fabulous salad dressing from Norwood Hills. It’s sort of a Mayfair, and my family and I just love it. — Jane Campbell, Chesterfield
A • Since 2000, executive chef Bernard Pilon has headed the kitchen at North County’s Norwood Hills Country Club, cooking up everything from a chef’s table for two to a Mother’s Day brunch for 1,000. Pilon arrived in St. Louis from Quebec via Washington, D.C., when he and his wife went looking for a family-friendly city with a good hockey team — he is Canadian, after all.
“Family-friendly” describes Norwood Hills, too, Pilon says. A relaxed family-friendly dining room is under construction and every year the club celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday with green eggs ‘n’ ham and red fish-blue fish cupcakes. For grown-ups, the club is known for its fish menu. This month alone, the club will host a seafood buffet, a fish fry and Crustacean Craziness, a culinary take on March Madness.
Norwood Hills’ Searcy Dressing is named for William Searcy, who began busing tables at Norwood Hills in the 1930s and retired three decades later as maitre d’. Pilon relishes the club’s long-standing position in the community. When he’s out, he says, someone will spot the logo on his chef’s jacket and stop to share a memory, say, of caddying at the club as a kid. He says, “Norwood Hills is a part of St. Louis history in a big way.”
Every week during the peak season, another longtime employee, pantry supervisor Adrinne Moore, makes 10 gallons of Searcy Dressing, a rich, lush, emulsified vinaigrette that works well with crispy lettuce. “We can’t change anything in the recipe,” Moore says. “The members would notice.” Be sure to use cold eggs, she counsels, otherwise the dressing won’t emulsify.
Norwood Hills is a private club for members only.