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U.S. Open to serve up gourmet offerings to golfers

If Tiger Woods starts feeling peckish in between rounds at the U.S. Open next week, he can feast on filet mignon, veg out on roasted root vegetables or stuff himself silly with sesame-encrusted salmon.

Unlike the mere mortals who must satiate their appetites with hot dogs from the concession stands at the Bethpage Black Course, the Very Important Golfers at the U.S. Open will have their pick of more than 200 gourmet offerings every day, prepared by a kitchen staff of 200 working nearly around the clock at the golf course clubhouse.

"We concentrated on items made or distributed on Long Island," said Steven Carl, the chief executive of caterer Carlyle on the Green that is handling the clubhouse food and who presented the menu at a news conference Wednesday.

The local focus includes knishes, Nathan's hot dogs, New York pickles, and black and white cookies, he said.

Carl wouldn't reveal if any players or celebrities have made unusual meal requests, but he remembered at the 2002 U.S. Open, Vijay Singh asked for fresh oatmeal every morning, and Tiger Woods did not generally seem to have much of an appetite.

The estimated 65,000 meals that will be prepared next week for the golfers and other important guests include 1,800 pounds of filet mignon, over a ton of bacon, about 1,700 pounds of shrimp, and 1.25 tons of chicken, according to executive chef Phil Abshire. Carl described it as tractor-trailers full of food coming to Bethpage.

Some things have changed since Bethpage last hosted the U.S. Open in 2002. Sliders, for one, weren't on the food radar seven years ago but are now all the rage in burger circles and will be served, Abshire said.

And the disposable china will be environmentally friendly and recyclable, Carl said.

As the week of the Open progresses, the menu changes subtly - the big-ticket steaks and a larger variety of desserts come out toward the end of the tournament, Abshire said.

The clubhouse's signature dessert for the players will be the so-called "19th Hole," a molten chocolate cake flanked by a "green" made of pistachio cream, Carl said.

Next to the cake is the pièce de résistance: a personalized, edible 14-carat gold-coated white Belgian chocolate golf ball filled with a tangerine mousse - provided that the specially ordered golf balls come in from Switzerland in time. "We've gone to great lengths to make this some show," Carl said.

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