Sunday, May 01, 2005

Guam and the Pacific Hotel And Restaurant Expo

We flew into Guam courtesy of Continental Airlines and were picked up by the driver from the Hyatt Regency Guam who drove the 10 minutes around the ridge to the hotel. The promotion started badly with the rear door flung open and my laptop bag dropping the half metre to the ground. Luckily it wasn't damaged as it is my life-blood and contact with my business in Sydney.

I'm not sure if the driver expected a tip but I thought something along the lines of be good to your mother as she's the only one loving you right now. If the laptop had been damaged he'd be looking for some solid parental care about then too.

Anyway. All was well and we settled in, got the lay of the land and guided through the maze of corridors from restaurant to banquet kitchen to stores and butchery, pastry and other back of house tunnels and lifts. We got the hang of it but I still had to constantly think of where I was going and how. And the toughest part was that the pools and beach outside the hotel were inviting us from our hotel rooms yet apart from the BBQ just outside the restaurant, we didn't have the time to go anywhere.

Hyatt Regency Guam

Hyatt Regency Guam

The Hyatt promotion was in la Mirenda outlet which featured a buffet with a demonstration kitchen servicing the hot dishes, salad bars, outside barbeque for dinner and various live cooking stations. Benjamin spent a great deal of time in that production plant during lunch and dinner and churned and turned great dishes for the appreciative diners who came by.

Exec Chef, Hermann Grossbichler and Exec Sous Chef, Ian Crough really worked hard in supporting us with Hermann having kittens as we headed off to the local radio station on the morning of the first day of the promotion. They must have had some dreadful interviews in the past as they said we'd have 6-7 minutes on air. Anyway. We were sufficiently entertaining and Benjamin and I chatted with Ray and Patti, the two radio announcers for over an hour and they both came to lunch that very day. Benjamin has posted the interview on his website so go on over and check it out. In fact, Benjamin wrote up a terrific coverage of the entire event so I'll refer you to his story here.

About 7pm, Hermann grabbed me to go off to the Micronesian Chefs Association meeting and they were good enough to let me rave on a while telling them all about this new trend in food and that they should come on over to the Dining Downunder promotion and taste what Aussie food is all about. And they came. Nearly all 60 of them tried out our food over the next week and we really had some great feedback and interest. This means my ingredients should find a solid market in Guam and my new distributor, Triple J Guam is offering his services with some consolidation out of Cairns.

Two products we took over with us which were not part of the regular stable of Cherikoff Rare Spices but which I hope will grow into serious business in Guam. The first was Pastatime's Oz lemon linguini and a Rainforest herb linguini and we went through vast volumes serving them with simple cream sauces or just plain macadamia nut oil. They really complemented fish, chicken and stir-fry vege dishes Benjamin concocted for the daily changing menu.

We also had some amazing dairy free, Pistacchio heart and Oz lemon shortbread and a Wattleseed and pistacchio biscotti. These came from For Goodness Sake cookies and I will work at getting then as regular items on Guam menus. Check them out yourself.

One event which we offer as a part of our promotions is the cooking class. This had some interest so it was scheduled for Saturday lunchtime. Previous classes during promotions attracted 6-8 attendees with 12 setting the record so far.

Dining-Downunder cooking school

You can believe I was gratified when 24 starters showed up to wrap, drizzle and roll their way through my teaching menu. For a more detail lowdown on the course have a look at this.

Benjamin and I have been back a week and we are now packing for Moscow and a stint at the Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya while Dining Downunder chef, Dayle Merlo heads to Kuala Lumpur to cook at the Grand Plaza Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur. Benjamin has done a fine job in writing up both these events so I'll simply refer you to his blog on Dayle's event and ours.

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