Food Booze and Entertainment!
DCC's first Clubhouse was modest, built by Golfers for Golfers. There was a bar and a very small kitchen. Only food served were snacks to meet golfers' simple dining needs! Increasing non golfing membership demanded more than "casual" food. A Manager/Chef was employed to raise culinary standards. This highlighted Clubhouse shortcomings - the kitchen's size and lack of a dining room. DCC's first Clubhouse expansion solved these problems. With the appointment of a dedicated Chef, DCC began to develop a reputation for "value for money" dining.
Maintaining DCC's reputation became difficult as each Chef came then moved on. In 1983 DCC recruited Francois Porte as Head Chef. Francois is French but then working in England. His Chef's CV included many exotic locations and decided to add Dubai! Francois raised DCC's culinary standard to that of Dubai's top hotels. Value for money combined with haute cuisine attracted members and non members alike. This was a remarkable achievement given DCC's location outside Dubai City in the desert. Eventually DCC's need to cut costs restricted Francois' ability to sustain his high standards. Francois was heard to complain (as only French Chefs can)
"How do zey expect me to cook with zis, with ZIS?"
as he animatedly pointed to a packet of Bird's Eye Frozen Peas!
In 1989 Francois moved to Emirates Golf Club where he still produces an incredible dining experience. DCC continued to deliver "value for money" dining.
Bar in the "new" expanded DCC Clubhouse
Alcohol was freely available in Dubai in the early 1970s. Hotels, Restaurants, Cafes, Clubs sold alcohol to their customers. DCC was no exception. DCC could easily purchase alcohol for sale to their members over the Club House Bar, a key part of DCC's income. Without any warning the Government stopped alcohol sales overnight in 1974. More details here >>> This was a serious threat to DCC's future.
Government eventually introduced Liquor Licences restricted to Hotels, Clubs and non Muslim Residents. DCC obtained their Liquor Licence with difficulty and was now subject to various Rules,Regulations and Laws controlling Alcohol sales and consumption. Inspection by Dubai Police became a regular event, both scheduled and unscheduled.
The Golf Bar
The Golf Club Bar and DCC's Golf Section became a Club within a Club. DCC's Golf Section had its own Committee and arranged its own functions independently of DCC Main Committee although using DCC's Catering Facilities. DCC's Golf Section was largely self funded. Later this arrangement led to friction between the Main Club and the Golf Section.
New Dubai and Celebrity are no strangers but in Dubai as it used to be few people in the Entertainment Industry had heard of Dubai. Dubai Country Club played a significant role in changing that situation.
DCC started organising outdoor performances using the open areas of their tennis courts. UK Performers were hired and flown into Dubai often in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Golf Club and sometimes local hotels. Flights to and from Dubai were supported by British Airways or Caledonian Airways. These "tours" were generally one night performances at each location. DCC entertained these Performers with desert and wadi tours so they returned home with a favourable impression of Dubai. Word spread on the Entertainment Circuit and more Performers became willing to come to Dubai. Billy Connolly was among the first to perform at DCC and became a regular visitor to DCC and Dubai.
DCC introduced men only "Gentleman's Dinners" where a gourmet dinner was followed by Celebrity "after dinner" speaker flown in from UK. Henry Cooper, who floored Muhammed Ali during a World Heavyweight Boxing Championship fight, was one of the first speakers. Henry was a popular speaker at DCC and made several return visits. DCC also introduced ladies only "Ladies Dinners" with the same format.
DCC's new Sports Hall paradoxically succeeded where DCC's previous purpose built "theatre" failed. The Sports Hall became the venue for a number of local stage productions. Brian Wilkie was a regular performer. He went on to be the driving force behind Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre
I have fond memories of picnics under the moon. We used to cook hamour fish and the Europeans love it.
Khalifa bin Juma Al Naboodah (DCC Founder Member) 1981
Julian Peck DCC General Manager 1978-82 remembers...
I (controversially) requested to use tennis courts for Billy Connolly. We also had Jasper Carrot, The Spinners, Mungo Jerry, Frank Dawson ("It's the way I tell 'em") and Pam Ayres amongst other Performers. I introduced the Soap Box Derby, Golden Club with 7 or 9 Clubs participating, DCC Magazine and Fireworks on 5th November and, of course, the Accumulator. The food got even better after my departure and Francois' arrival! When one remembers the greatly increasing number of hotels etc that were competing for the same market, DCC was very successful during that time. Best wishes, Julian - www.fieldheadhotel.co.uk