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The Astor Hotel's New Culinary Duo

Passion for Cooking: 

The Astor Hotel鈥檚 New Culinary Duo

 

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If something new and fabulous is happening in The Astor Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Tianjin these days, whether it be an added quality on the menu or the splendid activities happening at the hotel鈥檚 Victoria Lounge, two gentlemen are responsible for such spectacles: Peter Liew and John Cheung. Their vast experiences working in the hospitality industry make them top calibre in their field and their recent appointment at The Astor Hotel is a splash of perfect timing as Tianjin鈥檚 Hospitality Industry is currently getting more colourful and audacious.

Here鈥檚 more of what the Astor鈥檚 new Food and Beverage Manager Peter Liew and the latest Sous Chef, John Cheung had to say to our team.

 

 

Peter Liew, Food and Beverage Manager

 

 

First of all, tell us something about yourself.

I鈥檓 a Malaysian who has been in China for seven years working in different places. I started my career in Singapore at the Westin Plaza and then after that I went back to work in Malaysia for the opening of Westin there.

When did you first realise your passion for cooking?

It was in Singapore when I started to get serious. I never thought I鈥檇 become a chef and I just did it to earn some money, but later on I fell in love with cooking and the rest, as they say, is history.

You have been working in the Food and Beverage industry for the last 19 years. What was the most prestigious moment in your professional life?

The greatest success is having the passion in what you do and in learning new things as you go because I鈥檝e been working in China for seven years and have worked for many venues; most of them Starwood brands. Meeting new people is also an achievement for me as well as discovering different cultures and lifestyles. All these things help me grow along the way and without them I wouldn鈥檛 be in the position I am now.

Can you tell us some promotions or activities that you will soon have here?

We are in the planning stage of many things that we will soon be doing. One is our plan for the High Tea Extravaganza here in the Victoria Lounge. If you go outside, you鈥檒l see people relaxing at the big name coffee shops so I think people here know how to enjoy life and we in our hotel should do something about this.

Since the Victoria Lounge is the most beautiful place in this building, given the fact that this is also very connected to art and culture with historical relevance, I鈥檒l be doing a High Tea Extravaganza which has a bit of food on display, drinks, Chinese tea, champagne, and then we鈥檒l also have a Chinese musician to play good music.

What鈥檚 new in the menu and what can people look forward following this new appointment?

We will have many things coming but for now, people should look forward to our offers on Lluxury sea food! These are not just normal sea foods, we will also have lobsters and sea urchins.  You will experience more luxury on our Thursday and Friday鈥檚 Seafood Extreme promotion.

Lastly, what do you think is the secret to preparing elite food?

I think passion is the most important aspect of cooking. Without passion the dishes that you do won鈥檛 be very special. When I look at a menu in a restaurant, I can tell right away whether the chef has the passion or not. So for me, passion in cooking is the most important.

 

John Cheung, Sous Chef

 

 

Tell us about yourself.

I鈥檝e always loved cooking. It was in 1996 when I started my internship and I鈥檝e never stopped cooking since then!

You鈥檙e a Tianjin local but you were assigned elsewhere for many years. How does it feel to be back in your home city?

I think the hospitality industry in Tianjin, though improving considerably, still has a lot of space for development in the future so it鈥檚 a challenge to be back here in this city.

Tell us about your latest appointment here in The Astor Hotel and your day-to-day functions.

Part of my job is to educate and train the old staff in this hotel to follow The Astor Hotel brand鈥檚 standards and about how to reach the aims of a luxury brand. The hotel has been around for 150 years and there are still so many staff members who were working for the old Astor Hotel, so it鈥檚 a challenge to get them thinking in the way of the Luxury Collection brand, but that is part of my job. How do you constantly improve your craft?

I constantly improve in three ways. Firstly, I work with some of the world鈥檚 greatest chefs and they are my teachers. Secondly, I serve in different international hotels and different brands so it exposes me to different dining cultures and environments. And thirdly, I do my own experiments and research to constantly upgrade my techniques!

Lastly, as a Tianjin local, what do you think is the best dish in Tianjin?

The Dai Yu fish dish and Hong Shao Rou are the best dishes from Tianjin that I can think of!

 

By Cathy Perez

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