Holiday 2010 | Volume 3
World Class in a Glass
A Treasured >> PAGE 4
Wine Collection GETS A NEW NAME
Talking F&B with
JIM & ADELE
Abrahamson >> PAGE 2
Discovering surprising and delightful little restaurants, traveling to new places and cooking with family and friends are shared passions for Americas President Jim Abrahamson and his wife, Adele. Our special holiday edition of â€œTalking F&B With...â€? features a conversation with the Abrahamsons.
If you’re asked to dinner at Jim and Adele Abrahamson’s house, you’ll most likely be invited to chop, sauté, grill and maybe, dance. Meal preparation is a shared passion for the couple, who have been married for more than 28 years, and is always filled with participation, experimentation and fun. That is—when they’re home. As emptynester parents of their grown son, Matt, the Abrahamsons love to travel and do so almost constantly. Adele accompanies Jim on some of the many business trips he takes as President of the Americas for IHG, and they augment those with leisure trips when schedules allow to explore new places and visit friends and colleagues. In a recent interview, we asked Adele and Jim about their love of food and travel.
Travel, Food, Family & Fun
Fill The Abrahamsons’ Leisure Time
Sea Bass “New Wave” with Vanilla Olive Oil, InterContinental Boston
Any foodservice experience in your background? Adele: “Yes. I worked as a waitress in a small town in Minnesota. We all did a little bit of everything--bussed tables, washed dishes, served and cooked food.”
Jim: “My first official job was as a dishwasher, which grew into bussing and eventually waiting tables. This developed into operating three family-style restaurants in suburban Minneapolis while I was working my way through the University of Minnesota. After we sold the restaurants, I took a front desk job to allow me to focus on my studies. Adele was the front office manager, and that’s how we met. To earn more money and learn the hotel business, I worked just about every operational job at one time or another before getting my first job as a GM in 1982, the year we were married.”
What does a great dining experience look like for you? Adele: “We like a lot of the same things. One of our favorites is eating
outdoors—we’ve had so many memorable meals outside. For example, we were in Cusco, Peru, last year and had dinner at 12,000 feet in an open-air pizzeria, next to a massive wood-burning fireplace.”
Jim: “For us, a great dining experience is just being together and discovering small, unique-experience, in-the-know restaurants, often owner-operated, with great hospitality and service.”
What’s your favorite food? Jim: “We look for creative expression, flavorful combinations, unique presentation and of course, great personal service. The downside is that the whole world tends to eat off the same menu. We’re adventurous and we love everything, but we “eat local” at every opportunity—steak if we’re in Argentina, pasta and gelato if we’re in Italy.”
“We look for creative expression, flavorful combinations, unique presentation and of course, great personal service.” Do you cook at home, and if so, what are your specialties? Jim: “Do we ever! For us, cooking is a collaboration—we love cooking
places that use fresh ingredients, from local stores and other sources—farm to table, whenever it’s available.”
together. On the weekends, we like to try new things and experiment with new dishes. We cook a lot of theme meals, planning a menu from a specific region or country and making everything from appetizers to dessert with that theme in mind. It makes for great dinner parties.”
How about your favorite beverage?
Adele: “We grill a lot, and Jim is great at that. And when we cook, we do it
Adele: “The common elements are flavor and uniqueness. We seek out
Jim: “A locally produced bottle of wine always enhances the overall meal. Food and beverage occasions are experiences, and beverage pairings are important. We ask a lot of questions to ensure great choices, so personal service matters to us.”
from scratch, with fresh ingredients. We chop, sauté, everything, together. And sometimes, we dance. We listen to music when we cook, and there’s a bit of space in the middle of our kitchen where, when a great song comes on, we can just stop cooking for a minute and dance. We like to have fun.”
How about favorite holiday food & beverage traditions?
Adele: “With Jim in the hotel business, early in his career we moved a lot, and
Adele: “Jim’s Scandinavian, so it just wouldn’t be Christmas morning
we always found a favorite restaurant wherever we lived. In Kansas City, it was a great little Greek place, for example, and in Chicago we loved a charming neighborhood French bistro. In Atlanta, our favorite place is at home!”
When you stay at an IHG property, what are your expectations regarding F&B? Jim: “Food is a big part of what we do at IHG, and who we are. Many branded hotel restaurants are very traditional and try to be all things to all people. So, first of all, I expect us to deliver creativity and a unique experience. I also expect highly educated and informed staff who listen, read the tastes of each individual guest and make superb recommendations that create an outstanding dining experience. When we travel, we always sample the restaurant at the IHG hotel where we are staying. And the people at our hotels always deliver—they are terrific and the food is always great, whether it’s at a Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo or InterContinental Hotel.”
without Swedish pancakes with lingonberries. We also have authentic homemade Swedish meatballs as part of Christmas dinner.”
Jim: “Matt always requests his mom’s famous spiced clam chowder on Christmas Eve, and there’s generally a lot of cooking and baking going on in which the whole family participates. Overall, we have very broad tastes in food, so my working for IHG is a great opportunity for us both to indulge. Getting to travel and meet the fabulous people who work for our company is a privilege. I’m always impressed by them, and the high expectations I have whenever I stay in an IHG property are always exceeded.”
Ancho Pepper Spiced Veal Chop with Quince Purée and Fried Green Tomatoes, InterContinental Houston
Adele: “It’s delightful to meet the chef or F&B director and the kitchen and wait staff. And it’s not unusual to see the staff and management interacting with other guests just as they are with us.”
Any F&B “pet peeves?” Jim: “Feeling like I’m being ‘processed’ in a restaurant rather than interacted with. And when the server asks, ‘Are you still working on that?’ If it’s work, then that’s a problem.”
Adele: “When someone doesn’t get my order correct, it shows they aren’t paying attention. Also, I hate feeling rushed—being pushed by the server to finish or having my plate taken when there’s still food on it.” 3
TreasuryWine Estates Brings New Name and Approach to Foster’s Wine Business Since first entering the wine industry 14 years ago, Foster’s Group Limited has been carefully assembling what has become one of the world’s great wine businesses. In July of this year, the company announced a new name and brand identity for its wine holdings: Treasury Wine Estates. The name change reflects both the wealth of treasured brands that mark the core of Foster’s wine business as well as another key step toward structuring a separate and dedicated focus on the company’s wine estates. Foster’s is positioned as a global premium-branded drinks company, though it is perhaps best known worldwide as the brewer of Foster’s Lager and other well-known beers. Its Treasury Wine Estates portfolio, however, includes an impressive line-up of popular and highly collected wines from Australia, California, France, Italy and 4
New Zealand. Among the iconic international brands in its stable: Beringer, Penfolds, Lindemans, Chateau St. Jean, Wolf Blass, Rosemount and Castello di Gabbiano. These sit alongside regional champions such as California’s Stag’s Leap, St. Clement and Etude and Australia’s Seppelt, Coldstream Hills and Devil’s Lair. “As Treasury Wine Estates, we will even more effectively harness the essence of great winemaking that underlies our collection of amazing brands,” says AJ Freeman, Strategic Accounts Manager for Treasury Wine Estates. “With six of the 10 most collected wines in Australia, America’s leading premium brand in Beringer Vineyards and a collection of outstanding international wines, we are a business with impeccable credentials.”
A Winemaking Legacy Foster’s acquisition of Australian winemakers Mildara Blass and Rothbury Wines Limited in 1996 marked the beginning of
“We like to consider ourselves a team of ‘vintrepreneurs’. We take pride in having one foot planted in the vineyard and the other in the board room as we offer our products to millions of wine lovers around the world.”
See the related article about the Culinary Collection of Stone Cellars by Beringer house wines promotion on Page 6.
AJ Freeman, Strategic Accounts Manager - Treasury Wine Estates
its commitment to wine. The company followed this up by purchasing Beringer Wine Estates in the U.S. in 2000 and merging it with Mildara Blass to form Beringer Blass Wine Estates, firmly establishing Foster’s as a global wine player. In 2005, Australia’s largest wine company, Southcorp Limited, was acquired and combined with the Beringer Blass subsidiary to form Foster’s Wine Estates, the name the wine business carried until the advent of Treasury Wine Estates. The moves brought together a wealth of winemaking history, with roots firmly entrenched in the second half of the 19th century. Penfolds was established in the mid-1840s and the original Mildara Winery in 1888, both in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Halfway around the world in Napa Valley, California, Jacob Beringer founded Beringer Vineyards in 1876.
Global ‘Vinetrepreneurs’ The nearly 30,000 acres of vineyards that today comprise Treasury Wine Estates produce annual sales of over 35 million cases of wine and employ more than 4,000 winemakers, viticulturists and sales, distribution and support staff across 12 countries. Under its new name, Treasury Wine Estates is accelerating a cultural change and business transformation centered around the unique winemaking that comes from the world’s oldest soils and a viticulture that carefully guards its rich heritage, according to AJ. “We like to consider ourselves a team of ‘vinetrepreneurs,’” he says. “We take pride in having one foot planted in the vineyard and the other in the boardroom as we offer our products to millions of wine lovers around the world.” 5
IHG Chefs & Stone Cellars Culinary Collection:
The Perfect Match Creating Great Hotels Guests Love means endeavoring to make every guest experience—even the seemingly ordinary ones— unique and memorable. That’s the thinking behind the World Class Beverage Program’s new promotion featuring InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Hotels house wines: the Culinary Collection of Stone Cellars by Beringer. Designed to drive incremental by-the-glass wine sales as well as overall beverage revenue, the ongoing program, launched in October, highlights the connection between IHG’s well-regarded chefs and the Culinary Collection wines, reinforcing a message of superior quality, taste and value. “IHG’s Culinary Committee chefs were actively involved in assessing and choosing the specific Culinary Collection wines to be designated as the brands’ house selections,” says Pamela Tweedell, Senior Account Manager for iMi. “With this promotion, we want to let guests know that IHG takes its house wines seriously—that there is a lot of thought behind our choices. Each house wine is chosen based on many factors, not just affordability.”
Promotional material provided to each hotel pictures and highlights the chefs, the wines and the brands’ exceptional cuisine. Specific tools include high-impact posters for display at the entrance to bars and lobbies or at special events, in-room tent cards featuring information about the Culinary Collection wines as well as a seasonal recipe from the InterContinental Kitchen cookbook, and pocket-sized tasting note cards to help educate staff on suggesting wines and wine pairing options. The materials also include customizable chef invitation cards that hotels can use to issue private guest invitations to special VIP events with the executive chef or F&B director. “Our guests can feel comfortable drinking a glass of our house wine because we offer a well-respected brand known for its quality at a great price,” says Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, Vice President of Food & Beverage. “We believe this program will help create traffic and impact our continued success, and I encourage all of our InterContinental and Crowne Plaza food and beverage
teams to maximize its value in their hotels.”
Diners on the outdoor patio at Miel, the Provence-inspired brasserie at the InterContinental Boston, might not realize that the occasional honey bee making its way to the property’s waterfront
Sous Chef Cyrille Couet tends the hotel’s hive, ensuring the bee colony has what it needs to thrive as well as harvesting some of its honey.
floral and herb gardens is a hotel resident. In May, the property’s F&B team joined the World Class Beverage Program effort to draw attention to the plight of the world’s dramatically declining honey bee population by installing a rooftop apiary and launching a hive with 10,000 bees. Sous Chef Cyrille Couet volunteered for urban beekeeping duty, working with a local bee expert to set up the apiary and get trained. The new colony quadrupled to 40,000 within only about two months. declining health of the bees to a combination of factors, including “The decline of the world bee population affects not only honey production but also the more than 100 flowering crops that depend on them for pollination,” says Executive Chef Didier Montarou, who is also a member of IHG’s Culinary Commando Committee. “We’re glad to support the World Class Beverage Program’s work with Bees Without Borders and other similar organizations by getting involved in beekeeping and promoting the cause to guests and the community.” Scientists attribute the Miel specialties often incorporate honey as a key ingredient, such as the restaurant’s Scallop and Roquette Salad with Lemongrass Honey Vinaigrette.
mites, disease, stress and pesticide exposure. The apiary has generated publicity for the hotel and the bees, prompting installation of a flat screen “Bee TV” in Miel—which is French for honey—that provides a live camera feed from the colony. The hive produced about 40 pounds of honey in its first season, most of which was needed by the bees themselves. However, the hotel used a small amount for the dishes on its “Honey Harvest Dinner” menu in September, a celebration of both National Honey Month and the success of the honey bee colony. The sold-out, four-course meal and wine pairing highlighted Miel’s Provençal cuisine, which was infused with the hotel’s own honey as well as seasonal ingredients. The hotel F&B team hopes the bee colony’s honey volume increases sufficiently within the next few years to add it to the product line-up of artisanal honeys offered for sale in Miel, helping further promote the bees’ cause.
INTERCONTINENTAL HOUSTON Is Redefining the F&B Experience of a ‘Group Hotel’
Glistening above Table One—the chef’s table at the InterContinental Houston—is a chandelier made entirely of interlocking, antique silver spoons. The unique fixture is the perfect metaphor for what makes the hotel’s food and beverage program an ongoing success: exceptional food, seamless teamwork and fun.
Executive Chef Peter Laufer
The teamwork centers around the trio of Food & Beverage Director Danny Estevez, Executive Chef Peter Laufer and Director of Banquet Operations Sameh Nawar, who together have skillfully leveraged the property’s 50,000 square feet of function space to position the InterContinental Houston as one of the city’s premier event venues. “Our meeting space, service and food set us apart,” says Danny, who has been with the Houston InterContinental for five years and with InterContinental Hotels for 22. “Our team can serve a perfect, fine-dining-quality filet mignon to 1,200 people at lunch, then reset the ballroom for a high-end gala the same evening.” Director of Food & Beverage Danny Estevez
Director of Banquets Sameh Nawar
General Manager Raymond Vermolen
Personalizing Function Service The hotel’s achievements as a large, group-oriented property are built on a foundation of state-of-the-art function space coupled with a seasoned, well-trained catering team who have a solid working relationship with the kitchen. “Chef Peter is fantastic to work with,” says Sameh, who has been with the hotel since it opened nine years ago. “He and his team always take the extra step that lets us give clients the kind of experience they can’t get anywhere else.” Banquet operations are set up to allow servers time to interact with guests and provide restaurant-style service, Sameh says. “We focus on maintaining a nice relationship with the client from the time the event contract is signed to the end of the function.”
its first bookings before it even opened. “Table One is like a lab,” says Chef Peter, who has been with the InterContinental Houston for six of his 27 years in the business. “It’s a way to go back to my roots, relax and be creative. I can experiment and get instant feedback.” The menu is always chef’s choice, but Peter meets with the client to determine likes, dislikes and any special dietary requirements. He then constructs a basic menu and assembles the ingredients, including some of the harvest from the hotel’s own “front driveway” herb and spice garden. Once the cooking begins, he adds and combines various elements as the mood strikes him, with delicious results that are often incorporated into menus for banquets and The Restaurant.
A Blend of Fun and Pride Orchestrating the hotel’s complex schedule of food and beverage service requires the right group of individuals all pulling together, Danny notes. “We make decisions as a team, and we all share the success,” he says. “It’s never about egos or who gets the credit. Our goal is to create fun for the guests through F&B and have fun ourselves while we’re at it.”
The success of the team is critical, says General Manager Raymond Vermolen, because unlike most other properties, fully half of the InterContinental Houston’s revenue is generated by food and beverage. “The team is a truly self-directed workforce, from management to the servers and kitchen staff. They all take great pride in managing the business as if it is their own.”
The hotel’s main dining room is called The Restaurant and the nearby lobby bar is similarly named The Bar. Both serve as elegant options for the InterContinental Houston’s many in-house guests as well as the city’s Galleria-area shoppers and office workers. “With the large volume of people coming through the hotel almost all the time, we’re always looking for innovative ways to drive traffic to our F&B outlets,” Danny says. The Restaurant’s sleek contemporary décor is a perfect backdrop for the global cuisine Chef Peter and his team prepare. Dramatic glass shelving on the back wall of The Bar showcases a collection of more than 250 spirits—including best-on-the-market cognacs, single malts, bourbons and whiskeys.
Chef’s Playground A little-used storage area in the kitchen was transformed, at Chef Peter’s suggestion, into Table One. Walls were removed to eliminate visual barriers to the kitchen experience, which offers elegant, fourto 12-course meals for up to 10 people. The successful concept had
That attitude gives great comfort to the hotel’s owners, Raymond adds. The InterContinental Houston is owned by Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) and managed by IHG. “Our owners believe in keeping up their properties and working as a team with us as the management company,” he says. “They have consistently provided the support we need to stay competitive and to stand out in our market.”
Holiday Beverage Server Checklist:
For information on scheduling TIPS server training and other information about the TIPS program, contact Laura Hammer at 770-604-8283, email@example.com, or Trevor Estelle, 800-438-8477, ext. 357, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brush Up on TiPS Skills For most hotels, the holiday season means a significant increase in restaurant, bar and function volume. And with guests in a seasonally jolly mood, servers need to be on their toes with regard to patrons’ alcohol consumption. That’s where TIPS (Training For Intervention ProcedureS) comes in. This dynamic, skills-based training program is designed to prevent the misuse of alcohol by enhancing the fundamental “people skills” of servers. The World Class Beverage Program sponsors the training for all employees of U.S. company-owned/managed hotels whose jobs require them to serve alcohol. Servers who successfully complete the half-day course are “TIPS certified” for three years. Obtaining the certification (which is also available through an online course in many states) and keeping it current is mandatory. Hotels may also send individuals to two-day, “train the trainer” TIPS courses where they become certified for one year as TIPS trainers, allowing them to teach the course to employees at their properties. “Having on-site trainers helps ease some of the challenges related to employee turnover, since on-site trainers can certify new employees in a timely manner,” says Trevor Estelle, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Health Communications, Inc., providers of the TIPS programs. “On-site TIPS trainers also keep the training relevant since they are familiar with the establishment and the local clientele. Finally, on-site trainers help ensure that the skills employees learn through TIPS, such as assessing
behavioral cues and intoxication levels and dealing confidently with at-risk patrons, remain fresh and that TIPS-certified employees actually apply those skills.” More than 5,000 IHG employees have been certified since the company began using the program in the late 90s, including 44 trainers and 1, 655 servers currently. To reinforce the importance IHG places on the TIPS certification in helping ensure the safety of guests, employees and hotels, the World Class Beverage Program this year developed its own certificate which is now sent, along with a professional wine key, to each IHG associate who successfully completes the course. The participation of IHG and its employees in the TIPS program has been recognized by a number of public figures. For example, Paul “Skip” Concowich, Director of Loss Prevention for the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia-Downtown, has received letters of commendation from Philadelphia Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Sen. Arlen Specter and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr., for training more than 250 IHG employees over the 12 years he has been a certified TIPS trainer. “Responsibility for monitoring customers’ intoxication levels falls to the servers,” says Skip, who has been with IHG since 1985. “They have the power to cut off the alcohol and take steps to slow down the drinking process by offering non-alcoholic alternatives or food. The TIPS training provides instruction on how to do that effectively.”
We asked some of Alex’s IHG colleagues who know him best for their thoughts on his landmark anniversary: Alvaro Diago, President, Latin America & The Caribbean: “Alex is gifted in the ways of food in much the same way some individuals are gifted in the world of music or art. His long, successful career is a great testament to InterContinental Hotels. We are fortunate to have him, and wish we could have more like him.” Lew Fader, Vice President, Hotel Operations, InterContinental Hotels, North America: “Alex is a workhorse, someone you can totally count on. He’s always the first guy in and the last guy out. It’s just in his DNA to do perfect work and jump in to support his team whenever and however he may be needed.” Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, Vice President, Food & Beverage, Americas:
Celebrates 40Years with InterContinental Hotels What’s the best way to pay tribute to someone who is an internationally
“Forty years as a chef is an amazing accomplishment. Alex is extremely talented, works hard and produces consistently excellent results. He’s a great role model for young people considering culinary careers.” Robert Hill, General Manager, InterContinental Miami: “Many chefs who’ve been around 40 years or more are so old school, but not Alex. He continues to be creative and enthusiastic. I really admire his ongoing passion for his food, the people he serves and his team. He is a genuine and humble person and a wonderful human being.”
recognized expert in culinary arts for a distinguished 40-year career? The InterContinental Miami launched a new chef’s table within its Indigo restaurant as part of the hotel’s 25th anniversary and named it “Table 40” in honor of Executive Chef Alex Feher’s four decades with InterContinental Hotels. Chef Alex’s long and successful tenure with the company brought him to Miami in 2000, coming to his post from stints with InterContinental Hotels around the globe, from New York City and Beirut to Frankfurt and Dubai. Among the many
Chris Mander, Managing Director, InterContinental Montelucia: “Alex and I first worked together in Tehran in 1976, and we’ve been friends, football buddies and colleagues ever since. I have always admired his dedication and professionalism, but most of all I value his friendship. His 40th anniversary with InterContinental Hotels is certainly an occasion worth celebrating!”
awards and honors he has received through the years are an Olympic gold medal in culinary skill at the 1976 Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt and being twice named Hotel Chef of the Year for New York’s tri-state area. For the debut of Table 40, Alex took charge, handled all the details and created an extraordinary menu that wowed the blue-ribbon guest list of city officials and leaders, according to Food & Beverage Director Arminio Rivero, who noted it was all in a day’s work for Chef Alex. “We all learn from Alex and are inspired by him,” says Arminio. “His team really loves him, and so do his guests. It’s truly a pleasure and honor to work with him.”
Mentioning “Argentina” conjures up thoughts of cosmopolitan cities, geographic splendor, a rich cultural heritage (think, the tango) and extraordinary wine. IHG is tripling its presence in the country with the opening in September of this year of the InterContinental Mendoza in the world-renowned wine region of the west and the InterContinental Nordelta, part of an exclusive waterfront community north of Buenos Aires, set to debut in Spring 2011. These join the venerable InterContinental Buenos Aires, which has represented IHG in the capital city since 1995. In this edition of our Global Sampler, we make a brief F&Bbased visit to all three elegant properties.
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The World Class Beverage Program Global Sampler
Wine & Outdoor Adventure
Nestled at the foot of the Andes, Mendoza is a major regional center and the country’s fourth largest metropolitan area. Considered one of the world’s nine “Great Wine Capitals,” the city also ranks as an adventure tourism center, offering a host of activities from biking into Chile and rafting on the Mendoza River to world class skiing and snowboarding. The new InterContinental Mendoza, therefore, offers guests the best of several worlds. With its stunning contemporary architecture, soaring 60-foot, glass-domed atrium and 40,000 square feet of enclosed function and open pre-function space, the hotel—which is one of three five-star properties in Mendoza—clearly is setting its sights on the city’s promising meetings and conventions business. “Our goal is to become known for our ability to deliver exceptional food and catering services that exceed the expectations of meeting attendees but also satisfy the more regional tastes of our local customers,” says General Manager Victor Vazquez. “Also, the close proximity of area attractions provides meeting attendees a variety of opportunities for half-day excursions or add-on days in conjunction with events.” The hotel’s food and beverage offerings reflect the laid-back, countryside vibe of the area and the relaxed, sunny feel of the 12
vineyards that flank the city. Traditional Argentinian specialties incorporating local ingredients are prominently featured in Olivas, which serves up an all-day, contemporary buffet-style menu underscored with international dishes. Yunka is the property’s gourmet restaurant and accompanying lounge, set to open in early 2011, which will showcase the culinary mastery of Chef Ennio Carotta from Torino, Italy. Bar La Barrica in the hotel’s lobby is a chic, grab-and-go coffee bar that also offers seating for those with time to enjoy a tortita, pastry or croissant. The InterContinental Mendoza, which is owned by KLP Emprendimientos S.A. and managed by IHG, has already hosted a number of large groups and is building its reputation. “We offer facilities and capabilities that previously were not available in Mendoza,” says Victor. “We believe we can help open up the conventions market for the region.”
Serving An Innovative New Community About 15 miles north of the hustle and bustle of central Buenos Aires lies the 10-year-old city of Nordelta, an exclusive planned community of 20,000 comprising 13 upscale residential neighborhoods, schools, restaurants, a shopping mall and a private country club with Argentina’s only Jack Nicklaus golf course. The development also
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• 1/2 Grapefruit Supreme • 3 Serrano chili slices
includes a corporate park that is home to a number of thriving businesses and regional offices of multi-national corporations. The beautifully landscaped, modern city is filled with lakes and canals and perches on the Nordelta Bay at the mouth of the Rio Lujan. Here, overlooking the yachts anchored at the bay’s marina is where finishing touches are being placed on the sleek new InterContinental Nordelta, which will have its soft opening in March of 2011. The hotel, which is Nordelta’s first, is owned by Innvest Developments S.A. and managed by IHG. A mixed-use complex, the property includes 149 deluxe guest rooms and suites as well as 250 condominium units. The lifestyle of the community is sophisticated but informal, and the InterContinental’s food and beverage outlets, all yet to be named, are being developed accordingly, with guidance from Americas Food and Beverage Vice President Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray. Both the 100-seat main restaurant and a waterfront café with al fresco dining will feature international cuisine accented with a healthy dose of Argentinian favorites. Guests will also be able to enjoy a 60-seat lobby bar and a private champagne bar for up to 20. Function space includes two small ballrooms with capacity for up to 500 and three meeting rooms. Plans are to expand the hotel within the next two years to add more condos and guest suites as well as food and beverage and meeting space.
“Nordelta’s beautiful, convenient setting and deluxe amenities • Cilantro continue to attract new residents and businesses,” says General • Vodka Manager Zvonko Siroki. “We’re excited to be able to establish our new hotel and • theSugar InterContinental brand first in this fast-growing area.”• Juice of 1/2 lime
Muddle the Grapefruit Supreme,
In the Heartcilantro of Buenos Aires and Serrano chili slices and
in a glass. Add the sugar, lime As you ascend the place spiral staircase leading to the Restaurant 3 ice and enjoy! Mediterráneo, youjuice feel asand if you arecubes stepping into 1930s Buenos Aires, with subdued lighting, Old World appointments and a classically elegant atmosphere for savoring fine Mediterranean cuisine laced with local flavors. The restaurant, and the InterContinental Buenos Aires itself, mirror the rich mix of downtown energy and cultural history that are hallmarks of the city’s Montserrat neighborhood, home to many government buildings and a short walk from the financial district and the city’s famous Calle Florida shopping area. “Argentina’s gastronomy is built largely around a lunch culture, where people relax, do some business and have a glass of wine,” says General Manager Maarten Drenth. “Our great location and food have made our main restaurant a favorite area lunch spot, despite considerable competition.” 13
Malbec Martini The Malbec grape, which produces wine with an intense, dark ruby color and an explosion of fruit tastes, has put Argentina on the map in the world of wine. The InterContinental Buenos Aires offers a martini with a Malbec twist:
• 2 oz. Absolut Blue • 1/2 oz. Malbec Reserve wine • Garnish: Orange peel Place the Malbec and vodka into a mixing glass with ice. Stir gently. Pour the strained mix into a chilled martini glass. Peel an orange without any pulp or fibers and squeeze the skin over top of the mix to provide fragrance, leaving the peel as garnish.
Guests may also enjoy La Terraza del Virrey, a uniquely designed terrace restaurant featuring cast-iron furniture and a glass roof. The specialties here are from the outlet’s huge grill, such as the assorted meat platter that includes Patagonian lamb chop, rib-eye and skirt steak, pork loin and farm-raised chicken breast. Rounding out the hotel’s F&B offerings is Café de las Luces, or Café of Light, a spacious—and locally popular—bar serving a wide variety of coffees, cocktails, and of course, wines by the glass. “We have a wonderful wine list, featuring Argentinian wines from all regions, and our patrons love to sample the various tastes,” says Food & Beverage Director Marcos Alonso. “Wines tend to take precedence over cocktails in Buenos Aires, but our Malbec Martini is a much-requested house specialty.” The hotel also does a strong function business. “Our ballroom, which is one of the most spacious in Buenos Aires, was renovated this summer and now features an elegant, contemporary design,” Maarten notes. “We host large corporate and association groups during the week and solid social business, such as weddings and family cultural events, on the weekends. “Our outstanding, creative F&B staff are well-trained to adapt their service to the cultural and professional preferences of our clients,” he adds. “Most of our team have been with us a long time, all of which contributes to our consistently high GSTS scores.” The InterContinental Buenos Aires is owned by Inversiones y Representaciones S.A. and managed by IHG.
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Delighting in Seasonal
Food & Spirits
The Apple Cinnamon Delight
The Hail Mary
The Jaded Pear
The Canela Fiesta
The holiday season is truly the time of year for food and beverage teams to shine. Creative approaches to dishes, drinks and décor can make an evening out or a major function memorable for guests at our hotels. Here’s a quick snapshot of inventive ideas from three CMH properties: Apples & Pears Head Bartender Joey Scorza of the InterContinental Miami has a city-wide reputation as a cocktail wizard, and during the holidays she ups her game. This season’s delicious headliner concoction is the “Apple Cinnamon Delight,” which Joey makes with apple vodka or apple rum, cinnamon schnapps, peeled apples and cinnamon sugar. She also created a custom drink for the annual Make-A-Wish Foundation gala, held at the hotel: the “Jaded Pear,” featuring pear vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, peeled apples and ginger sugar.
Fiestas & Football Across the continent at the Hotel Indigo San Diego Gaslamp, Bar Manager Adriana Tietz also used canela (Spanish for cinnamon) as a key ingredient in her holiday showcase drink, the “Canela Fiesta,” which is made with Bacardi rum, apple juice and cinnamon syrup. Seeking a new twist on the Bloody Mary that could be enjoyed as an
accompaniment for watching football games on the hotel’s big screen TV, Adriana also came up with the “Hail Mary,” which includes a healthy mix of Bacardi Silver, carrot juice and orange juice, with a float of beet juice on top to round out the cocktail’s rich fall colors.
Traditional Regional Favorites Chef Hector Campos and the culinary team at the InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino have put together a full schedule of F&B events for the holidays, highlighted by a dessert wine pairing in the hotel’s new La Bodeguita café and wine bar. Each evening from December 1st to 30th, guests can enjoy four wines specially chosen to complement a selection of seasonal sweet treats, such as traditional panetones (similar to fruitcake), cookies and other Puerto Rican delights. Visit Spirited online to get recipes for the cocktails mentioned here: www.ihgbeverage.com. 15
All of us at the World Class Beverage Program would like to wish you a happy, safe and prosperous holiday season! World Class Beverage Program Website
Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray | Vice President of Food & Beverage Laura Hammer | Office Manager Pamela Tweedell | iMi Agency Ann Wilson | Writer & Editor Silvermoss Partners | Design & Layout
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