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people 2015-02-03

Innovation is the key to a popular menu- Chef Steffan Dawson, Executive Chef, Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

In an interaction with Restaurant India, Chef Steffan shares the essentials of running a successful restaurant.

By Deputy Features Editor
Innovation is the key to a popular menu- Chef Steffan Dawson, Executive Chef, Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

What menu tweaks are you planning to introduce to stand out from the crowd?

The menu needs constant attention as guests tend to get bored by seeing the same dishes on it over time. To keep the menu interesting and constantly evolving it is very important to introduce popular ingredients on a global scale which are related to health and wellness.

What all things come along in designing your restaurant menu?

While designing the restaurant menu, we take extreme care of the concept of the restaurant, the market segment it caters to and the latest food trends globally. The placement of dishes also plays a very important role.

What is the consumption trend at Hyderabad? How is it different from other regions?

Hyderabad as a city has a very strong linkage to traditional dishes and methods of cooking. Such dishes are very popular and local guests have a very sound knowledge on the same. Also, there is a large segment of guests who are extremely well travelled and have a good palette for the international cuisine as well. The city has an unusual pattern of consuming non vegetarian food as compared to other cities of the country.

Please tell something about the supply chain management in your hotel. Who are the suppliers?

The vendors for the hotel are shortlisted on various parameters like if they maintain constant supply of the product, logistics involved, the supply line of the vendors, storage pattern of the required products. The vendor has to also pass the HACCP audit with the hotel before we get in to any contract or business. We have vendors from all over the country.

What are the different types of cuisines served at your restaurant?

We have two specialty restaurants at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace. “Kangan” serves authentic India cuisine and “Prego” is known for fine Italian dishes. “Seasonal Tastes” is the all day dining outlet serving Continental and Oriental. The buffet spread for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight are most lavish in the city where guests are spoilt for choices. Our Sunday brunches are very popular with very high footfalls over the weekends to all our restaurants. Most of the spread consists of Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean and South American cuisine.

How are new techniques in food helping the restaurant grow?

A well balanced and apt menu should have something for everyone. A good balance with the options of starters, soups, main course or comfort food and super foods. The menu must have an ample variety of desserts as well. Innovation is the key to a popular menu.  It must have a good mix of the dishes which are regularly consumed and signature dishes of the venue. It should be a good blend of old school and innovation with a special touch from the chef.

What inspired you to become a chef?

I realized my passion for cooking at the tender age of 10 years, when I started off by cooking eggs for my brother. Soon, I realized that cooking is something I would like to peruse as a career. When I started off the general notion about the profession was not that good. My family and friends encouraged me to pursue my passion for cooking and after that there was no looking back.

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