After hitting my 100 posts mark, I have felt the need to move my blog to a .com site. The good news is that I'll transfer all my posts there. The other good news is that I have added a new HEALTH category. The new website is http://thewineandfoodreview.com . Click here
Same fresh content in a new site.
Keep it here...
Monday, 7 July 2014
I was having a busy week doing restaurant reviews and attending meetings. It has been a while since I interviewed someone. Lucky for me, The Wine and Food Review had an interview with the Director of Operations Fairmont, The Norfolk. My photographer Bundi accompanied me and we got there at 10.30am. My interview took place at the Cin Cin bar and Priyan got there at around 10.32am.
He looked rather sharp with his well pressed suit. He is very friendly and affable. This was my chance to know how he does it and what it mean to be a director of operations of such a reputable brand.
Here is the Q&A.
Tell me about yourself
I’m the Director of Operations, Fairmont The Norfolk. I am very passionate about the hospitality industry.
How did you get into the hospitality industry?
I wanted to be a pilot but later on, a relative pitched the idea to me that I could be great in the food, wine and hospitality industry. I thought I could give it a shot. I developed a penchant for this industry and I have never looked back
How has your career journey been like?
It has not been easy and I didn’t get to a leadership position overnight. I have had to work very hard. In fact, by the age of 15 years I was washing plates in a restaurant. I have also worked as a bartender and later a sommelier in Dubai. I have also learned about cigars and I even went to Cuba for a cigar competition. It has always been a great experience for me and I take the time to learn as much as I can in whatever position I am. I won the best bartender award in 2004 and later I got to be the Food and Beverage Manager in Fairmont Dubai. I’ve made significant career moves over the years. I received a call from my manager that I should report to Kenya to fill the Director of Operations slot and here I am. I came to Kenya in 2012.
What are your thoughts on the Kenyan Food & Wine scene?
The Kenya food and wine scene is growing and it is great that I have been able to witness this tremendous growth in my own establishment as well. The local talent has great potential if encouraged or given the right support. This evident from our own bartender, who I helped nurtured and is now one of the Best Mixologist in Kenya with Awards to reinforce. His exceptional skills which he learnt on the job training have taken him as far as South Africa for further refinement.
Describe your typical work week.
It’s rather hectic being the director of operations. It is my job to make sure that the hotel is running smoothly and that the guests and clients get quality food and service. I get to the office not later than 7.30am every day. I do my rounds in the restaurant and I check that everything is in order. At 8.30 I talk to clients and I ensure that they are well taken care of. At 9-11am I have a daily sales meeting with my team. From 11am I catch up on emails and any work and then continue the rest of the day making sure that all operations are in check.
Being in such a challenging position, how do you make it work?
I love working in the Hospitality industry. Work has its challenges but I have great experience and I always take the time to make sure that the clients are happy and that we maintain the Fairmont Brand standards. In my post there’s very little time for rest or relaxation. It must come from the heart and one has to have passion and drive. I love what I do.
Have you organized many events in Kenya?
Yes I have organized very many events because I believe that is one way to elevate the scene in Kenya. I have organized food & Wine Pairing Dinners, Wine and Cheese events, Skyy Vodka Night and Babes and Bubbles among others. I love food and wine dinners and I love it when I invite a sommelier /winemaker to talk to people as opposed to just having a simple dinner. I also ensure that the food and wine list is carefully crafted. If I am having a dinner, I craft the food and wine list weeks prior to the event to to ensure guest are offered the best food pairing experience.
Tell me about Babes and Bubbles event?
This is an event for the professional young lady who is looking for a sophisticated and relaxed environment to unwind and catch up with her girlfriends. The night features flowing Champagne Taittinger Nocturne and accompanied by delectable hors d'oeuvres, with a DJ on board playing Café Del Mar fusions. Served at the sleek Taittinger Champagne Bar
How do you unwind?
I love to cook. I even bought a Jua Kali jiko. I love Kenyan cuisine. I enjoy eating Nyama Choma and Ugali. I also love dining in other restaurants and watching the food network. It entertains as well as relaxes me.
How has your overall experience with the Kenyan people been like?
I love Kenya. I have enjoyed my stay here because Kenyans are very warm at heart. My staff also get the job done and they give genuine service by greeting people with a smile and they understand the client needs. Kenyan people are also motivated.
What would you tell anyone aspiring to be like you?
I would tell people not to second guess themselves and once you know what you want. Go for it, set goals and make sure you achieve them.
Photos- Bundi Anassi Photography
Photos- Bundi Anassi Photography
Saturday, 5 July 2014
I have a collection of winebottles in my house. I wanted to make some DIY craft thing or just store them in a cellar but I think this is clutter. I found the perfect way to get rid of them without throwing them witrh my trash. I will start a better collection soon. This is an initiative by Nakumatt chain of supermarkets.
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
If you are new to wine there are some facts that you need to know. Wines have two names. One is the winemaker’s brand name while the other is the grape variety. That’s why you have seen the following names on more than one wine Chardonnay, Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc Merlot, Pinot Noir and zinfandel. These names represent the grape varieties. Let me show you with this Angels Tears that I was sipping over the weekend. The label says it all in terms of the varieties, the year and the region.
Winemakers also mix more than one variety of grapes but they always give the ratio. For example a wine may have 50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% Merlot. There are two types of grapes; black and white grapes. Black grapes are not necessarily black but they have blue, deep red and purplish hue.
White grapes are those with lighter shades like yellow, green and pale yellow. Contrary to popular belief, any grape can make any wine. It is not true that white grapes make white wine and black/red grapes make red wine. What gives the wine its characteristic colour are the components of the wine. As I had said in this post, the skins are left for longer in the winemaking process for the red wines. The red wines are Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel while the white wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Winemakers can make white wine with red grapes because the juice is clear.
There are differences in the two. Red wines have tannins which come from the grape skins. The tannins go into the wine during the winemaking process. Tannins provide a dry, puckery sensation in the mouth and in the back of the throat. Thy preserve wines and this is why red wines can stay for longer. Do you notice sometimes when you sip wine that there is a dry taste and aftertaste especially as you swallow. Well those are the tannic tastes.