Guest Author's Profile:
Matthew Cooper is the General Manager, of the Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon. With a career spanning over two decades, he has worked in diverse areas of operation within the industry which includes Rooms, Housekeeping, Front office and Food and Beverage. His last assignment prior to leading the Courtyard by Marriott team in Gurgaon was as Director, Food and Beverage, for the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre, where he contributed to both the creative and concept design for the two fine dining outlets at the hotel and was the man behind the success of OKRA (24 hour Coffee Shop) and BIDRI (Indian specialty restaurant). Mr. Cooper has been associated with Marriott for the past fourteen years. He has also worked with leading hotels of Australia across both Rooms & Food & Beverage divisions. He is known for his creativity and flair for styling. He holds a degree in Management Hospitality from Brisbane Australia.
When you think of food trends it is easy to look to New York, London and Sydney, but the latest buzz word in food and beverage has embedded roots in the sub continent foodie culture. Great food starts with great fresh ingredients. The diversity and demand for cuisine in India means the ingredients have to be harvested overnight, purchased from the markets in the morning and prepared on menus that day.
Visiting the fresh produce markets in India is not a trendy thing to do it is a way of life. No chef worth his salt would be caught not knowing what is in season and what it tastes best today. That is why creating menu experiences at the Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon are so much fun. It is amazing what innovation and inspiration is drawn from walking among a thousand vendors selling every imaginable herb, spice, legume and vegetables. The exciting thing is how this trend is developing.
Organic, organic, organic. We currently a vendor growing fruits, vegetables and meat products organically only for our menus. As a devout foodie, you can imagine my pride to say that you have never tasted a tomato like this and literally mean it. Locally grown food with a story is a real trend. Knowing where the food is grown and how it is being handled after harvesting is not just a trend but minimum requirement of a discerning dinner.
In many countries, the concept of fresh juice and boosted beverages and smoothies are booming. What better way to showcase all these fresh organic products than having a live juice blending station over breakfast where you can create your own taste sensation. If you have never had an orange, apple, carrot, celery and beetroot juice blended fresh during breakfast at MoMo café, you do not know what you are missing. It certainly beats pre-packed orange juice! Add a shot of guarana and you will be energized all day.
Destination Restaurants / Bars
While standalone restaurants are doing incredible things, hotels have the resources to constantly push the envelope of innovation and reinvention. The trend of creating destination restaurants and bars in hotels rather than a standard restaurant is a norm rather than a trend in Marriott. Each hotel and city has its own identity and each restaurant and bar does as well. Local food has to be authentic and who will be better to prepare the concept than a local. Eating, when staying in a hotel, becomes a part of the experience and not just part of the process. People visiting will drive an extra half an hour to ensure great food, incredible service and an experiential meal.
The latest trend in beverage is very exciting. Gone are the days of mixed beverages and cocktails being passé. The classics are back! Martinis, cosmopolitans and Mai Tai’s are some of the beverages of choice. The latest twist to the trend is not to use standard pouring brands to mix these cocktails but instead signature spirits to mix your own personalized favorite. Varun at Bar Zen at the Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon makes the best Grey Goose Martini you have ever tasted and when he makes a Ciroc Bloody Mary with freshly muddled organic tomatoes it is to die for. Varun is not a barman, he is a mixologist. The flavor infusions of spirits are is very popular. Tea in vodkas, chili infused white rums being produced and presented over the bar are really adding a dynamic change to something that has been around a long time.
One of the latest trends being talked of in health food circles internationally is trans fats, artificial fat also called trans fats is added to processed foods to give them texture- but increases the risk of coronary heart diseases. Unlike other fats, Trans fats are neither required nor beneficial for health. For these reasons, health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of Trans fat be reduced to trace amounts.