We interview the awarded chef in the gastronomic days
As usual, for those who choose the Servigroup Hotels to spend their holidays, we offer a wide variety of dishes that are not only meticulously prepared, but also presented. For these and other reasons, Servigroup organizes annually its gastronomic days which were held this year on the 16th and 17th of February in the Servigroup Montíboli Hotel. This event brings together head waiters and chefs of 16 hotels, the purpose of this event is to not only exchange views and standardized modes and patterns of work, but also is a very enriching experience for all participants both professionally and personally.
During this event a number of awards are presented, one is for the chef that presents the best dish, and another is awarded to a head waiter that has the best decorated buffet. In this case, the awards went to Gregorio Sebastian, head chef at the Hotel Venus (Benidorm), and Alfonso Sillero, head waiter at the Calypso Hotel in Benidorm.
During the interview that follows we asked them to share their experiences as professionals of the Hotel industry, and also do they benefit from these types of events.
Here we offer the first part of this interesting interview, with Gregorio Sebastian, whose dish was chosen as the best out of all of Servigroups sixteen hotels.
An essential part of these events is to standardize procedures. In a Hotel chain such as Servigroup Hotels, with 16 hotels, it must be difficult to unify criteria, something which has been achieved day to day. How do you manage to make this feasible?
Servigroup Hotels has a standard book of recipes that are identical for all hotels. Besides, each of the chefs brings their own “special touch" and this can lead to the dishes not always being identical. But none the less, our guidelines when preparing each of these dishes are always the same, so we can speak of a true standardization. On the other hand, we comply with all the quality regulations stipulated, and if we add an extra product to a recipe, this will always be reflected.
What does an event such as the Gastronomic days offer you as a professional?
Primarily, we have the opportunity of getting to know about new products that are presented to us by experts in this line of business, there’s always lots to learn. All this helps you to keep an open mind and evolve as a professional. I believe that, apart from that, continuous training and continuous learning is critical, evolution and information is vital for chefs.
Another aspect of this event that comes to mind is that I love the fact we get to exchange views and tips. Our suggestions and ideas are always taken into account by the hotel chain, which is very important to us.
This event has been somewhat different in your case, since you have been awarded and publicly recognized for your work. What was the dish you presented, and why do you think it was liked so much?
The dish presented by the Hotel Servigroup Venus was Chicken with sacha sauce and Chinese noodles. We decided on this particular dish as I personally like to use fusion cuisine, which combines different types of styles. An example would be to merge a typical Spanish dish with some other ingredients from another culinary style, such as oriental. Thus innovating and offering the customer something unexpected, something they will not try anywhere else. This is why it’s essential to innovate.
On this occasion, voting took place amongst the hotel chains chefs and head waiters who attended the event. In your opinion did any of your colleagues dishes stand out?
We were all very close in terms of votes, and really all the dishes that were presented were very good, but there were a couple that I really enjoyed, one was a spectacular gazpacho with chickpeas presented by the Hotel Castilla (Benidorm), and delicious tostas presented by the Hotel Servigroup Torre Dorada. However, all dishes were at the highest level, and at the end of the day our aim is to ensure that we exceed our customer’s expectations.
It is a fact that food plays a major part in any holiday and that’s what our hotels offer , customers come highly recommended by others, a sort of “word of mouth “which is considered the best type of advertising, The same applies when recommended by travel agencies the results obtained in terms of customer satisfaction are very positive. Why do you think our cuisine is so popular?
The first is obviously the excellent quality products used. Our meat is always fresh, and in the case of frozen, the quality is excellent. As for the fruit and vegetables, Servigroup has its own supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from its very own market garden, which supplies us a lot of the produce. At this time of the year we have a lot of elderly customers both Spanish and British, so we try to offer a wide choice to satisfy both, tasty homemade dishes and typical products for our British guests.
This event is also attended by a number of companies which, as we mentioned before, exhibit their products and latest equipment to be valued by you. How does this help you when creating and elaborating new dishes?
It is very rewarding for us, because we get to try the new products first and then try them out on our customers. In fact, we always offer feedback on the products that been more popular and the ones that haven’t. In addition, we also use many of these products in our creative fusion cuisine, as we talked about before.
Do you have any idea what dishes you will present in the next event?
Personally, I would like to present the dish that we did not show this year. We decided to change at the last minute and although the idea was successful, the original choice was also very interesting. I’m always open to suggestions and like my team to come up with fresh ideas.
Thus we conclude the first part of this interview. The second part of this interview will be dedicated to the other award winner Alfonso Sillero, head waiter at the Hotel Servigroup Calypso. Coming soon...