Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not Your Typical Banquet Dept.

One of the personal challenges of my position is that I cant just focus on the restaurant 606 Congress 24/7. I have to remember that all the outlets in the hotel fall under my direction including our Capiz Lounge, In room dining, some of the carry out food we serve in our Starbucks and we cant forget the 25,000sf of Banquet space on the 3rd & 4th floor.

A challenge because  although I worked in a supervisor capacity in a banquet dept when I was starting my career, I was never really sold that you can produce amazing food, use only the best ingredients and give people a restaurant quality experience while serving 200, 300 even 800 people at a time. Maybe it was the hotel I worked at and the practices they used, but it just was something I didn't want to do.

But then I took my current position, I had no choice but to focus on the catering team and the food being produced. Especially seeing that the majority of our food sales come not from our amazing restaurant and the awesome team we have there, but from our great banquet space. I immediately began to notice that the team was well aware that you cant produce amazing food without amazing ingredients to begin with. They cared about every dish that was going out of the kitchen. whether it was a buffet for 600, a plated dinner for 75 or ala carte selections for 300 ( yes ala carte selections for 300 people to be served simultaneously) this crew and the leadership running the crew were top quality cooks and chefs putting out food that could be served on any menu we put in the restaurant.
Today we support farmers that follow all-natural farming methods. We steer our clients towards fish that is environmentally friendly and locally sourced. We prepare practically everything from scratch & to order. The enthusiasm for quality & freshness is ever present in our banquet kitchen as it is in our restaurant kitchen.  We create & customize each menu down to every ingredient & spice,  made just for our clients.

Its also a challenge as a chef to be able to orchestrate a full restaurant, 800 people eating a 4 course meal in banquets, a busy lounge serving its own menu and all to make sure that each person is doing their job to make our guests feel like its an individualized special experience for each of them personally. I cant do it alone and I'm fortunate to have an awesome team.

I'm a chef converted to having a very high respect and desire for banquet cuisine done right.

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