Fork in the Road

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Waterside at Cuscowilla
Article and Photos by Kathleen Walls


Waterside Banquet Room
Nestled on the banks of Lake Oconee in Putnam County, Georgia, Cuscowilla Golf Resort offers so much more than golf. There is lodging, water fun and that oh-so-important item; great food. Their Waterside Restaurant offers a fine variety of delectable edibles.

Under the watchful eye of their executive chef, Gerald Schmidt, the Waterside is a gourmet's delight. Naturally being on one of the best fishing lakes in Georgia, seafood is a biggie on the menu . The man-made  lake designed to generate power has a unique long, narrow shape that  produces noticeable water current causing the fish to be more active and feed more aggressively when water is moving through the dam.

 Although the most common fish caught in the lake are not the ones served. The seafood  selections range from Pecan Crusted Scottish Salmon and Panko Topped Atlantic Trigger Fish to Pan Seared Diver Scallops Oscar and a special crab cake. Of course you can find fantastic steaks like filet mignon and ribeye and lots of other goodies.

Pullin' Strings
I had the pleasure of dining there on a recent Georgia Media Marketplace. We had a musical "Shuck and Jive" event on the deck in front of the Waterside with raw oysters and Steak Tatare.  The music of Pullin' Strings set the tone and it was a fun event. Much of the food served at Waterside comes from local farmers.  In nearby Union Point there is a farmer that raises Berkshire Hogs, those prized black hogs. He  finishes them  six weeks on chestnuts. Chef Schmidt cooks these hogs heads,  taking all the meat and the liquid  from it and then packing it into this triangular shape.  He calls it Frontage de Tete and it is truly delicious.

Another local product he made good use of is quail served as Galatin of Greensboro Quail. These birds come from  Quail International,  the worlds' largest producer of quail. It's located in Greensboro. They maintain on-site veterinarians to be sure that the  hatchery, growing houses, laying houses, and processing plant receive hands-on care, providing the best conditions possible for the quail. They use all natural feed  for their birds and no hormones or pesticides. It's this "farm to table" attitude that make Waterside a great place to dine.
Appetizer                        Veal with Crab cake, Grits & vegetables    

In the main course, he used a really unusual combination, a seared Lion of Veal with Louisiana Crawfish and Low Country Crab. Paired with Athens Georgia's own stone ground Red Mule Grits. The veal was a dish he had once served to President Bush. As Chef Schmidt said, "He loved it."

Why wouldn't he.  It was delicious.

The trio of desserts were all  wonderful but the one item that stole the show was his White Chocolate and Black Currant Bread Pudding. Out of this world!!!! 

Chef Schmidt prepares Steak Tatare 
Chef Schmidt has had a fantastic career and it gets even better. He graduated second in his class form The Culinary Institute of America and a finalist for executive White House chef under George W. Bush.  He was recently awarded Jeune Commis Medal of Merit for commitment and mentoring young staff and the Silver Star of Excellence for leadership dedication and commitment to the Lake Oconee chain. In a career that included prestigious Stanhope Hotel in New York, the Citrus Club in Orlando and Reynolds Plantation, he has met and served many of the rich and famous including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Princiss Diana and every president since Johnson.

Of course the wine was perfectly paired with each course. Stratton Lumm's Chardonnay  then Vinas 3.Pinot Noir from Row Eleven in California and with the dessert instead of wine  we had a Strawberry Mint Julep Shooter. What a way to end a meal!

Chef Schmidt is aided by a very competent staff at Waterside; Craig Elwood, Jason Harp and Jeffery Miller all make things flow smoothly at Waterside.


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