St Francis Links 10-year celebration
What a privilege and indeed a pleasure it was to attend the St Francis Links 10-year gala dinner on Friday evening. From the beautifully adorned venue and table settings, the entertainment and even the speeches, kicked off by the humour of the incorporable Jeff Clause arriving at the podium dressed as a chef, this was always going to be an event to be remembered. A highlight of the early proceedings was undoubtedly the video clip from the Golden Bear himself, Jack Nicklaus, wishing Jeff and his team congratulations of their ten year achievement.
An important, possibly the most important part of this celebration, was to acknowledge those loyal staff who have been with The Links since its opening ten years back. Too often those who make a business a success are forgotten at such occasions but the Links certainly were not going to forget them. The pride and joy of each staff member as their name was called to the stage was touching and illustrated just what great team Jeff has put together.
Music provided by two lovely lasses on violin and saxophone was followed by talented singer, Loyiso Bala who really got the party rocking with guests and especially staff getting into the rhythm. There wasn’t a spare centimetre to be found on te dance floor as the ‘oldies’ rocked the night away. What a fantastic voice Loyiso, a Drakensberg Boys’ Choir graduate, has.
Bringing a little local flavour to the music the St Francis College choir assembled with beaming Mum’s joining the audience as the choir sang along with Loyiso before being joined on stage by the newly formed LAMP choir from Sea Vista. The LAMP choir is the initiative of Karin and Wolfgang Fuchs. The Lighthouse Arts and Music Project (LAMP) is a program to provide opportunity for the youth of Sea Vista.
When the Links was setting up ten years back they called on the experience of a professional hotel group to assist. These gents, Arthur Collett, an operations fundi and Chef Shaun Munro, then Executive Chef at the iconic Royal Hotel in Durban, well known for the fine dining at the renowned Grill Room, were also not forgotten and flew in from Durban to join the celebration.
Chef Shaun, now the executive chef at Tsogo Sun’s Elangeni – Maharani Hotel in Durban rolled up his chef jacket sleeves and joined Links Exec Chef Brad in the kitchen to create a menu that would have been the pride of any 5-star restaurant. A triad of Salmon starter with tempura prawns starter, a Rack of Lamb main and an absolutely delicious ‘I want some more’ Fudge Picasso dessert.
Certainly an evening to remember and it shows that our little village and especially The Links can put on event that is a good as you will get at any 5-Star hotel or venue. Well done Jeff, Lisa and all those who made this the event of the year and yes, an evening to remember.