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Spring 2008 | Volume 2

Legacy and Luxury Rule at



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Talking F&B with


Food, ambience and service that relax and create a sense of the familiar are what make a dining experience memorable, according to Charlie Cahill. Our series of F&B interviews with the Americas leadership team continues in a conversation with the Vice President, Full-Service Operations for North America.

As Vice President, Full-Service Operations for North America, Charlie Cahill spends a lot of time in Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels. All that time on the road has reinforced his philosophy that when it comes to food and beverage, keeping things simple and comfortable works best. Charlie shared some of his F&B expectations, likes and dislikes in a recent interview.

Charlie Cahill’s Formula for a

Perfect F&B Experience:

Simple, Comfortable Food & Relaxed, Professional Service Any foodservice experience in your background?

“Not in my hotel career, but many years ago when I was in high school I worked as a short-order cook and waiter. Then I was in the navy for six years, and working in the galley was part of my initial duty, helping prepare meals for 500 sailors. My hotel industry experience has been focused in the sales and marketing area. I was with Marriott for 14 years, then with Doubletree, Promus, Red Lion and Hilton, through all their mergers and acquisitions, before joining IHG six years ago.” What does a great dining experience look like for you?

“A big thick steak and a great red wine…good service and the right ambience in the restaurant. Combining those things makes for a really nice experience.” 2

What’s your favorite food?

Any recent standout meals at an IHG property?

“I’m a pretty basic guy, not fancy. I love steak, perfectly cooked, with a salad and baked potato with the works. Comfort food is a favorite, too, like chicken, meatloaf, a hot dog when I’m out at the ballpark, good basic Italian or American food—I know what I like.”

“The F&B team at the Crowne Plaza Times Square created a special inaugural banquet when Tom Corcoran, CEO of FelCor —one of IHG’s major franchisees—was elected president of the AH&LA. Tom has written and published a cookbook containing some of his family’s favorite recipes. So for the banquet, the hotel created a menu taken from his cookbook. The kitchen staff had lots of fun with it, making everything from Cornish hen to macaroni and cheese, with several desserts, and the presentation was in small tasting dishes. It was not your typical banquet food, and everyone attending—including me—was impressed with the creativity and how well-prepared it was.”

How about your favorite beverage?

“I like to relax with single malt Scotch. My favorite is The Macallan, either 12 or 18 years old.” Favorite restaurant?

“I think I’d have to go back to Italian for that one. Marco Polo’s is a neighborhood restaurant in my hometown of Summit, New Jersey. It has great Italian food, a decent wine list and the pleasure of walking in and always running into people I’ve known for 30 years. “In Atlanta I like Hal’s on Old Ivy, a classic steakhouse in Buckhead with lots of oak décor and a great wine list.”

Do you ever order room service?

“Yes. When I arrive at the hotel, I sometimes order room service for dinner, to unwind and relax. I usually go for the comfort food on the menu—it tends to not let you down. And occasionally I’ll order breakfast, especially if I’m on the West Coast and up early getting work done. It’s great to have breakfast to keep you going when the meetings start.” Mineral water or tap?

There is a natural pace of good food service that complements a meal. Good service can make an average meal tremendous and bad service can make even good food seem marginal.

When you stay at an IHG property, what are your expectations regarding F&B?

“There’s a combination of things I like to see—comfortable, interesting and inviting design, attentive service that’s not overbearing and a strong menu with great food. The ambience should be conducive to ensuring guests have an enjoyable experience that supports their reason for being there, whether it’s entertaining clients or a special meal out with the family.”

“I like sparkling water, and I don’t really have a favorite brand. I like the bubbles—a tall, cold glass of sparkling water is really refreshing.” Any F&B “pet peeves?”

“Undercooked food and cold food that’s supposed to be hot. Also, inattentive service, though I don’t like overly attentive service, either. There is a natural pace of good food service that complements a meal. A too-slow pace detracts from the dining experience, as you sit looking for your cocktail or waiting for the dishes to be cleared away. Good service can make an average meal tremendous and bad service can make even good food seem marginal.” Do you cook at home, and if so, what’s your specialty?

“I do cook occasionally. Right now my wife is out of town and I’ve been cooking for my youngest daughter, who’s 11. We’ve been having fun—last night I got a rave review for my London Broil, and the night before she loved my roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. I’m also a big breakfast guy. I love to make breakfast for the family—scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, you name it.”

When you dine at an IHG hotel, what do you usually order?

“There’s no single item I consistently order. The InterContinental Buckhead has a chicken dish I like and the Crowne Plaza Times Square has great meatloaf.” 33

William Grant & Sons Continues as a Leader in the Global Premium Spirits Industry


When William Grant and his nine children laid the first stones of his distillery in Speyside near Scotland’s River Fiddich in 1886, he vowed to make the “best dram in the valley.” That single-minded commitment to craftsmanship and quality still guide every aspect of production and operations today.

and the world’s fourth largest blended Scotch, Grant’s®. The company distills other spirits as well, among them the highly successful Hendrick’s® Gin.

A Consistent Innovator

William Grant & Sons Ltd. is one of the foremost producers of Scotch whisky in the world, ranking No. 4 overall. Based in Glasgow, the company is the second-largest privately owned business in Scotland. The fifth generation of the Grant family still actively manages this leading global enterprise that employs more than 1,000 people and has sales in 187 countries.

The pioneering spirit of the company’s founding family has led to countless industry firsts through the years: expanding the business from a simple distillery to a complete wholesale, blending and distribution operation in the wake of Scotland’s 1899 whisky market crash, exporting to North America and leveraging the growing desire for single-malt Scotch among connoisseurs in the late 20th Century.

The company is the largest distiller outside the U.S., producing some of the leading brands of Scotch, includes the world’s favorite single malt, Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts

To increase control over its distribution network, the company in 1964 acquired a U.S.-based distributor—soon reborn as William Grant & Sons USA—and became the first Scottish distiller to own its U.S. import business.

{ A HAIKU for you } HERE’S exciting news! WORLD CLASS BEVERAGE PROGRAM comes to INDIGO

Despite its steadfast emphasis on whisky, the company has diversified its portfolio somewhat over the past few years, buying three rum brands from Diageo and launching a fourth, Sailor Jerry®, in 2003, and acquiring Iceland vodka group Polstar, maker of Reyka® Vodka.

Industry Accolades William Grant & Sons boasts a long, ever-growing list of awards for its products. In 1974, the company became the first Scotch whisky company to receive the Queen’s Award to Industry for Outstanding Export Achievement. More recent honors include Hendrick’s Gin being named one of the 10 most influential spirits brands of the past 25 years by Wine & Spirits magazine, Milagro Select Barrel Reserve tequila capturing two gold medals and being named “Best of Show—White Spirit” at the 2007 San Francisco World Spirit Competition, and William Grant & Sons receiving the International Wine & Spirit Competition Worldwide Distiller of the Year 2007 title. “Our philosophy is to build premium brands that delight and satisfy our customers and consumers,” says Jeff Bartfield, Vice President, National Accounts, William Grant & Sons USA. “We achieve this through building strong relationships with our distributor partners and delivering fully integrated marketing programs that are profitable brand performers.”

Hotel Indigo this month joins InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts as brands served by IHG’s World Class Beverage Program. Unlike its sister brands, however, whose participation includes only HMG hotels, all Hotel Indigo properties—both companymanaged and franchised—will have the opportunity to be a part of the program. The entire current U.S. portfolio, including two HMG hotels and 10 franchised properties, are planning to participate. “It’s very exciting for the Hotel Indigo brand to be able to tap into the rich resources of the World Class Beverage Program,” says Dianna Stoffer, Brand Manager, Food & Beverage, for Hotel Indigo. “We know our hotels will realize great value from the program’s purchasing power and marketing and promotional activities.” The beverage portfolio for Hotel Indigo was designed to offer the basics any hotel would need while requiring fairly low levels of operational management, complementing the brand’s streamlined menu. The selections include a “regular” offering in each beverage category as well as a trade-up brand to leverage Hotel Indigo guests’ willingness to pay a bit more in a higherend, trendy environment. The trade-up items, which ideally will have a local connection, will be chosen by the individual properties, in keeping with the Hotel Indigo brand story. “Hotel Indigo brand hallmarks emphasize simplicity, balance and celebration of the uniqueness of each hotel’s home community,” Dianna says. “ Our World Class Beverage Program portfolio and approach align perfectly with this. “We’re pleased with the response we’ve received from our Hotel Indigo properties so far. The World Class Beverage team has made using the program so simple for our brand’s hotels, we anticipate a high participation rate going forward as well.” 5


















Superb Service, Food and Location Help the

Holiday Inn Boston at Beacon Hill Stand Out

Menu selections at the hotel’s Foster’s restaurant feature locally sourced, natural ingredients. Sailboats dotting the sparkling surface of the Charles River at sunset, framed by downtown’s skyscrapers, the Harbor and Beacon Hill—could a Boston bride ask for a more romantic backdrop for her wedding? Floor-to-ceiling windows in the newly renovated 15th-floor meeting space at the Holiday Inn Boston at Beacon Hill provide just such a setting, and the hotel is growing in popularity as a nuptial venue.

The hotel’s prime location at the base of Beacon Hill, the city’s most historic neighborhood, and in close proximity to the Financial District is also a plus. While social business is building, corporate events are a mainstay. For example, major client Massachusetts General Hospital serves patients from all over the world and uses some part of the Holiday Inn’s 5,600 square feet of function space several times each week.

“It’s quite the view,” says Lisa Osterfeld, who joined the property three years ago as Food & Beverage Director, after four years as Director of Catering at the Holiday Inn Perimeter in Atlanta. “Together with exceptional food—our culinary staff is excellent—and our great service, we’re able to offer an attractive package for meetings and social events that’s hard to beat.” 6

Going Natural Leveraging the fresh new look of the hotel’s meeting rooms is just one of the ways in which the F&B team is honing the competitiveness of its program. Another recent hit is the switch to all-natural offerings in the property’s Foster’s restaurant.

F&B Director Lisa Osterfeld

A proposed new city ordinance would require Boston foodservice establishments to eliminate trans fats from their menus, but the Holiday Inn at Beacon Hill is well ahead of the game, making the

change in early 2007. In addition, ingredients are sourced as often as possible from local, sustainable farms. Meats contain no hormones or antibiotics and produce is organically grown. The move has significantly enhanced quality and taste and shows off Foster’s seasonal menu to best advantage.

René van Camp Named Corporate Food & Beverage Director

“Our Executive Chef Richard D’Amelio is very talented, and under his leadership we create a new menu every six months featuring top-grade, local products,” Lisa says. “We’ve had very good response from both guests and Boston-area patrons.” Expanding awareness of the restaurant within the neighborhood is a priority for Lisa and her team. Plans are on tap to build on successful word-of-mouth, area advertising and networking efforts to date as well as to enhance the restaurant’s visibility from the street. Foster’s includes a cozy bar area along with the restaurant, and local traffic here is also on the increase. “We have a growing number of regulars who like our smaller, quieter atmosphere and also enjoy our 46-inch plasma TV screen,” Lisa says. “It’s a more sedate alternative to some of the larger, louder places that have recently opened near us and draw a younger crowd. We’ve not felt much impact from that new competition.”

Talent, Passion and Teamwork Lisa believes the key to putting together a successful F&B program is assembling a staff that works well together. Backed by General Manager Andy Duymovic, she seeks to hire and keep individuals who excel in their field. But the “harmony factor” trumps even this important requirement. “Our F&B staff gets along extremely well and really pulls together,” Lisa says. “You have to have a real love of food to be successful in this business, and of course we want only the best working with us. But having a team comprised of people who are respectful of one another is even more important than their talent and passion.”

With the Charles River and Boston skyline in the background, the Holiday Inn’s meeting rooms create a picturesque setting for weddings and other social and business functions.

René van Camp has been appointed Corporate Food and Beverage Director for HMG, Americas. In this position, he will continue to be responsible for driving the World Class Beverage program and will also provide operational support to HMG hotels in the Americas where needed to achieve competitive positioning and positive results in food and beverage operations. He will continue reporting directly to Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, Vice President, Food & Beverage, Americas. Prior to stepping into his new role, René headed up the World Class Beverage Program for two years and earlier held F&B management positions at the Grand Hôtel InterContinental in Paris, the InterContinental The Barclay in New York and at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, where he was part of the opening team. A native of the Netherlands, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the prestigious School for Hotel Management in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and an MBA from the Graduate School of International Management, also in Maastricht. He is fluent in Dutch, English, French and German. “René has done a superb job building and enhancing the World Class Beverage Program over the past two years,” says Jean-Pierre. “Under his leadership, the program’s scope has been broadened to provide even greater support to our hotels through training, product knowledge, promotions and strengthening vendor relationships. I’m confident he will bring vision, enthusiasm and great results to his new role as well.” 7

beverage briefs Potent and Pungent, Grappa Is the Unique Elixir of Italy In February, Bar 888 in the new InterContinental San Francisco opened as the first grappa bar in the United States, bringing the worldwide grappa phenomenon to this country in a bigger way than ever before. A traditional drink of Italy, grappa’s history dates to the Middle Ages. The word is literally translated as “grape stalk,” since grappa is made by distilling pomace, the grape residue left over from winemaking. Originally produced to prevent waste at the end of the wine season, the spirit became immensely popular in the Italian countryside. In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a digestivo or after-dinner drink, with its main purpose aiding in the digestion of heavy meals. The strong spirit (between 60 and 160 proof) is also often slipped into a morning espresso to create a caffé corrétto, meaning “corrected coffee.” Yet another variation of this is the ammazza caffé—literally, “coffee-killer”), in which the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa. In the Veneto region, there is rasentin: after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup and swirled, then drunk down in one sip. Long unknown outside Italy, grappa moved into the mainstream in the 1970s. Winemakers began to use the pomace immediately after the juice for the wine was extracted to keep it as fresh as possible, and distilling methods were refined. Also a monovitigno grappa was created, made from a single varietal grape. The result was a smoother grappa that appealed to a much wider audience and quickly became commercialized, mass-produced and sold worldwide. Further refinements soon rendered grappa an artisanal luxury, sought after and appreciated around the globe. The flavor of grappa, like that of wine, depends on the type and quality of the grape used as well the specifics of the distillation process. Well-known producers include Nonino, Marolo, Sibona, Nardini, Mazzetti, Poli and Francoli. While these grappas are produced in significant quantities and exported, there are many thousands of smaller local and regional grappas, all with distinct character.

South Africa’s Winemaking Industry Flourishing in Country’s Post-Apartheid Era The near-perfect growing conditions of the western coastal region of South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope allow most international varietals to flourish, and winemakers have been taking advantage of that fact since the time of the country’s earliest settlers. The first recorded winemaking in the area was by the founder of Cape Town, in 1659. Modest exporting began around 1700, and by the 18th Century, wines produced in the Cape’s Constantia region were a favorite of European royalty. The region’s vineyards were decimated by the phylloxera epidemic that also ravaged Europe in the 1860s. Production recovered and ultimately came under the control of a cooperative that ran industry operations for most of the 20th Century and did little to encourage quality winemaking. The end of apartheid in 1994 opened up export markets and generated a new wave of investment in the Cape’s vineyards that has resulted in innovation and quality improvement. The most famous of the Cape’s nine distinct growing regions are Stellenbosch, the country’s leading wine area, Paari and Constantia, though cooler regions such as Walker Bay and the fashionable Swartland region are attracting growing attention. Impressive, earthy-tasting reds are produced from South Africa’s own signature Pinotage variety, made from a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut grapes. The regions also can produce world class Bordeaux, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, as well as elegant Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. The wine-growing regions are, for the most part, quite beautiful, dotted with lovely estates and featuring terrain ranging from the slopes of Constantia Mountain, cooled by gentle sea breezes, to the warmer inland regions and the cool-climate areas on the southern Cape. Most regions are within easy driving distance of Cape Town, giving rise to a growing wine region tourism industry.

3 Ravinia Drive Suite 100 Atlanta, GA 30346

Spirited 2008 - Volume 2  
Spirited 2008 - Volume 2  

Legacy and Luxury Rule at William Grant & Sons, Talking F&B With Charlie Cahill, Holiday Inn Boston, F&B Director Lisa Osterfield, Rene van...