Business Tianjin Magazine - Business English Magazine in China
COVER STORY: CULINARY STORYTELLING AT YOUR DINING TABLE.Experience the Culinary Innovation of The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin An insightful talk with Mr Radek Cais, General Manager
Written by Helen Wednesday, 10 June 2020 17:00
CULINARY STORYTELLING AT YOUR DINING TABLE
Such a case is The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, which took the hard decision to put the safety of all its staff and guests first.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin was closed for three months, but during that time, the team worked hard and took on the challenge of innovating and creating new concepts for dishes to provide to their guests once the epidemic was over.
We spoke to Mr. Radek Cais, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin and The Ritz-Carlton Executive Residences, Tianjin, and got to know more about the man leading the great transformation that is now necessary to reinvent the high-end products and services of the hospitality industry of Tianjin.
A good example of what his team has been doing is the selection of nutritious seasonal ingredients by Tian Tai Xuan’s Tianjin Cuisine Master Chef, Zhang Weijin, to craft Eight Healthy Delights, a specialty reflecting the trend of healthy dining, and this is offered to every diner coming to the restaurant.
Local Baozi is transformed into a luxurious, expertly-made delight to treat yourself at The Ritz-Carton, Tianjin, the place to go for higher-end contemporary twists on your favourite dim sum and Chinese classics.
An absolute must-try, with several Gourmet Signature options of buns: The steamed and pan-fried abalone big bun with chicken, mushrooms and Tianjin chestnuts will cost you 120 RMB per piece; the steamed seafood bun with scallops, prawns and prickly sea cucumber is 95 RMB, and an extraordinary wagyu beef, foie grass and black mushroom steamed bun will be 90 RMB.
The selection of baozi is just as delicious, as they are beautifully crafted to delight the most exquisite palate, and Tian Tai Xuan’s Executive Chinese Chef, Goh Wooi Cheat, has selected nutritious seasonal ingredients to craft luxurious delights reflecting the inspiration of spring.
Goh Wooi Cheat
The team also took the opportunity to innovate in other areas. At ZEST, each culinary station is a cooking showcase creating visual experiences with freshly prepared dishes. Several signature dishes are presented to guests at the table, creating storytelling and a relaxing, refined dining experience.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin offers an impressive Seafood Healthy Lunch with fresh seafood menus updated daily. Dinner is revamped into culinary storytelling to mitigate hygiene risks as well as improve the dining experience.
And who better to inspect and verify the freshness of the seafood than our cover story man. Yes! Mr Radek Cais personally checks and confirms the quality of the outstanding products offered at each table. As you can see on the cover of Business Tianjin, he is an experienced fisherman.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin is bringing an authentic culinary innovation to Tianjin, making everything new through the innovative touch of their experienced chefs.
This period of the peak of COVID-19 has led Mr Cais to look inside of each of his team members and bring out their best with an innovative perspective that will exceed all guests’ expectations and astonish them with the elegant service.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Mr. Cais has worked in the best and most demanding hotels in the world. He has contributed to opening renowned properties such The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal in 2012. This property resembling Venetian palaces opened to great reviews and was awarded the “Best New Business Hotel in the World 2014” by Business Traveler US.
The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo
Mr. Cais also opened The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo in 2014 an iconic property in the heart of Cairo. Under his leadership, the hotel achieved a first place RGI ranking in Cairo after just one year. In addition, the property has been successfully positioned as the premiere venue in Cairo for luxury weddings.
A Canadian national with Bohemian origins, Mr. Cais holds a Cornell University Master’s Certificate in Hospitality Management.
Radek Cais’ wealth of experience and leadership skills are important assets to further enhance the luxury experiences for guests visiting The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin.
We had the honour of talking with Radek Cais and getting to know a bit more about him and his hotel, and how he worked through this crisis period and prepared for the future. We found him brimming with energy, ideas and rejuvenated passion.
From where do you draw your inspiration in the hospitality industry?
I started my career behind Viking range ovens at a 5-Diamond-rated hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia. Often when I had prepared a course, I peeked into the dining room to capture the guest’s reaction when the dish was presented. When I observed the guest smile, it filled me with joy. My inspiration comes daily when beautiful memories are created for guests by our professional experience creators, our Ladies and Gentlemen. And my fundamental inspiration comes from my family. My wife Cui Cui and son Kingston are the centre of my universe, and are the source and fountain of my daily inspiration.
What has your team been doing during this period that the Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin has been closed?
In order to mitigate risk a large number of our Ladies & Gentlemen were required to stay at home.
Our Board Director and GM of Tianfang Hotel Management Company, Mr Jackie Liu (执行董事、总经理), ensured that we continued to fully support those associates and pay salaries. But we still had a team on site because The Ritz-Carlton Executive Residences, with our permanent residents, remained in operation. We worked diligently to ensure safety for our resident guests.
We had a small culinary team lead by our executive chef, Andreas Schatzschneider, that continued working. They took the opportunity to innovate and create new menus and concepts. I’m really proud of what they achieved.
Our food and beverage team lead by our director of F&B, Phoebe Liu, developed a bright new service experience we call “culinary storytelling at the dining table”. The traditional self-serve buffet is behind us. We present many of the delicious offerings to the guests and explain the stories behind the culinary creations. Guests are also served by our chefs with dishes that are prepared live in the open kitchens.
Our operations team, led by Kevin Xie our hotel manager and Cathy Liu our rooms director, continued to refine the process of maintaining safety and mitigating risks. It felt as if we were somehow busier during the closed period than when open!
What has been the most difficult part of this period?
Our team worked hard to mitigate risks, and we had immense support from our Board Director, Mr Jackie Liu (执行董事、总经理), to ensure that we maintain the highest possible safety standards and procedures. For the first few weeks of the epidemic period, Mr. Liu, my senior team and I met daily, seven days a week, to ensure that everyone was safe and to be certain we had robust processes in place to mitigate risk.
Our Ladies & Gentlemen are normally active, like elite athletes, so it was difficult for many of them to be confined at home for so long. We did whatever possible to keep everyone active and comfortable, but that was a challenge for sure.
We have a fantastic support structure from our Marriott International leadership. We have daily support from our AVP for luxury hotels in Greater China, Mr. Rainer Burkle, and his team and also full support from our Marriott International President for Greater China, Mr.Henry Lee (大中华地区总裁李雨声), and his team.
At The Ritz-Carlton, our culture is that we create excellence from difficulty. We look for and strive to find opportunities in challenges.
万豪国际领导层为我们提供了出色的支持，万豪国际地区副总裁们每天都会为大中华区的酒店提供支持，特别感谢Rainer Burkle先生及其团队，以及万豪国际大中华地区总裁李雨生先生(Mr. Henry Lee)及其团队的全力支持。”
How do you plan to bring back the charm of The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin as the most elegant hotel in town?
It never left! It is one of the most beautiful properties in the entire world. Due to the epidemic, we implemented numerous safety initiatives to mitigate risk. Still, the foundation, the key to this elegance, is our Ladies & Gentlemen, who are back at work doing what they do best, creating beautiful, memorable experiences for guests.
At The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin, you are always looking for the best in luxury for your guests. Could you tell us more about this?
An integral element of our Ritz-Carlton culture is to exceed expectations. Our culture is derived from our Gold Standards. The philosophy and training behind this cultivates the creation of excellence and inspires us to inspire others. Each guest experience is personalized, and from this perspective there is fluid and endless innovation of luxury.
What are your expectations during the recovery period? How long do you think it will take?
Good question, and I wish I had the answer, but until there is a vaccine we will not have certainty. It is encouraging that there is a lot of progress on that front.
Nevertheless we are finding that business is rebounding steadily, but of course we are missing the international segment for the most part.
You have an experienced and extraordinary team. What are your plans for the coming months? What surprises are you planning to offer your guests?
Our mission from the start of this crisis was to become “Better, Stronger, Fitter”. We are better because we took time out to innovate and will continue to do so, with more surprises to come in our dining experiences and our packaged stay experiences. We are stronger because we learned how to further reduce risks. And we are fitter because we have had to find efficiencies during a challenging business period.
Is there a luxury travel trend you think will be particularly surprising in the coming five years?
I can imagine that the epidemic is going to impact travel patterns for some time. I strongly believe that luxury travel will recover because travellers will have more trust for safety in luxury brands. And the travellers’ desire for new experiences will gravitate them to luxury because that is already what we do. Creating authentic experiences is our specialty.
If you had one piece of advice to give to someone starting out in the hospitality industry, what would you say?
If you can, become Ritz-Carlton. It will forever inspire your life!
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin