Meet the staff
Interview with Imre Turak, Brasserie&Atrium Manager about the new breakfast selection
How long have you worked at the hotel? What areas have you worked in so far, and what are you doing now?
I joined the hotel team as a college trainee in 2007. A few months later I applied to be a waiter. After this I participated in the hotel’s own managerial training course, which took 18 months. During this time I had the opportunity of seeing for myself the operation of various sections: HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Room Reservations, Kitchen and of course F&B. After the course was completed I was gratified to be asked to run the Rickshaw Restaurant, then from October 2011 the Brasserie and Executive Club.
As manager of the Brasserie, do you have a say in what direction the menu should change? What do you take into consideration at such times?
To an outsider, changing the menu would appear to be a moment’s work, although in truth it is achieved only after lengthy preparation. We constantly monitor the selection offered by competing restaurants. On entering a restaurant I pay particular attention not only to the freshness of the ingredients and the seasoning but also the overall image, in other words, what the dish that is served does for the eye. If I see something I like, I make a note of it. However, the guest remains the most important advisor. Whether intentionally or not, they contribute to the development of the menu because they give us their views.
There is a three-course set meal on the menu, which allows guests to choose between two entrees, two main courses and a dessert. The favourite dishes of the set meal make their way onto the menu. The chef can select from 104 tried and tested starters and main dishes, and 52 desserts. When we hold a tasting session we evaluate the dishes and give the chef any suggestions for changes.
The breakfast menu in the restaurant was totally changed recently. What is different now?
I’m delighted that you have asked me about the breakfast because we are extremely proud of the final result. Our primary objective was to improve the quality, and not ‘only’ for the palette but for the eye as well. We have dressed the restaurant with a special interior design and even a few one-off items. We have placed the sparkling wine in a turning stand, water is kept in a wooden bin, and soda water from a siphon is also available… Tea is stored in a box specially made for us; these boxes are used to ship tea around the world, protected from the damp and drying out. We have also had stands made to enhance the appearance of our bread, bakery products and cakes. I won’t bore anyone by going through the entire selection because that would fill the whole blog. Instead, let me mention just a couple of new elements. The range has been expanded with an “Organic Section” where guests can choose from six different bio mueslis, bio tea, bio and sugar-free jams, bio honey, freshly pressed carrot and cucumber juice, smoothies, a wide selection of French fruit and low-fat yoghurts, whole and sliced, exotic and berry fruits. And another thing, perhaps one that is unique: our guests are allowed unlimited consumption of 100% bio chardonnay sparkling wine during breakfast.
On what basis do you decide which food is offered to guests and how it is served?
We have done much tasting. Typically, these were blind tastings, where we had no idea about the price or the brand. After this we selected those products that performed best. From my own experience I can say that it is not always the most expensive that is the best. We divided the buffet into 12 sections and then after breakfast we rebuilt it section by section – time and again – and then the whole in one. This is how we reached the final result.
The hotel celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. How has the Brasserie participated in this event?
The 10th Anniversary Brunch was organized on 21 April. The event turned out to be a very special occasion. We enhanced the buffet with dishes that featured on the old menu. Refreshing cocktails were served in the bar set up in the atrium. Finally, the atmosphere was further enlivened with dancers and musicians.