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Marriott donates its top-rated food—and it’s not the leftover

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Marriott donates its top-rated food—and it’s not the leftover

/ 05:20 AM August 13, 2017

Sustainable tiger prawn kilawin with coconut calamansi dressing and fresh herb salad served at the Marriott thanksgiving dinner —MARRIOTT MANILA

Of the thousands of restaurants in Metro Manila, Marriott Cafe has been ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor for three straight years.

This is the proud observation of Marriott Manila’s executive chef Meik Brammer, the German chef behind the success of the five-star hotel for the past seven years.

Thanks to the hard work of Brammer and his team, Marriott Manila has been regarded as a culinary leader in the Asia-Pacific region.
And with the addition of the Marriott Grand Ballroom, the hotel has become such an example of culinary excellence that chef Toine Hoeksel, senior culinary director for Marriott Asia-Pacific, deemed it appropriate that Manila be the venue for the 2017 Chefs Conference that will bring together chefs from Marriott hotels and Starwood properties around the Asia-Pacific region.

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“Filipino chefs are ahead, especially in sustainability, which is an important trend now worldwide,” Hoeksel says during a quick interview at the Marriott’s gala dinner for the benefit of the Red Cross that culminated the chefs’ conference.

This is largely due to the commitment of Brammer to farm-to-table and sustainable seafood policies. Marriott Manila was reportedly the first to partner with Meliomar, a local seafood supplier, and Brammer even spearheaded a sustainable seafood campaign that emphasized the hotel’s role in the environment.

Except for one, Marriott Manila’s kitchen is composed of Filipino chefs.

When Marriott Manila launched the Sustainable Seafood Week in Manila a few years ago, Brammer was instrumental in getting several hotels and government organizations to join the cause of keeping our fish and other sea creatures alive, and to sign a commitment to sustainable seafood. Brammer noted that with thousand guests daily, if Marriott committed to use only sustainable seafood in all its restaurants and banquet services, they would have a definite impact on marine life—Ditto with other five-star hotels and similar organizations.

This campaign, incidentally, is in line with Marriott International’s commitment to environmentalism, which has motivated the hotel to ask all its restaurants around the world, through a program called Future Fish, to ensure that at least 50 percent of the seafood it purchases is sustainable. With over 3,000 hotels around the world, this has certainly impacted the seafood industry in a very positive way.

Brammer has also been working hard to live up to commendable farm-to-table practices, going as far as purchasing land in Tagaytay, to ensure a steady flow of organic vegetables for Cru, the regal steakhouse of Marriott. “I bought a hectare (of land) … so we have our own farm in Tagaytay where my chefs raise their own vegetables,” Brammer shares in an interview.

Aside from being environmentally conscious, Marriott Manila through Brammer has also committed to helping the Red Cross by donating food to depressed communities and to those who have been affected by natural calamities. Not known to the public, Marriott has been donating food to communities identified by the Red Cross every month for seven years now.

Chefs of Marriott Asia-Pacific prepare dishes for 100 residents of Barangay 76 in Pasay City. —MARRIOTT MANILA

Note that it’s not even leftover food, because Brammer frowns upon the idea of giving leftover food even to depressed communities. It is food specifically prepared by the hotel for these chosen communities.

These are the heartwarming stories that guests of Marriott are not always aware of. “You don’t want to promote your kindness,” Brammer says.

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What guests do see is the five-star service delivered by Marriott during their stay. “We always make sure guests have a great experience,” Brammer emphasizes.

It’s no easy task. The Marriott Grand Ballroom can accommodate 4,000 guests. For a five-course sit-down dinner for 3,000, the Marriot Manila team has the challenge of filling up 15,000 plates. Yet they are able to achieve consistency in each plate and efficiency in service so that guests don’t get bored nor go hungry between each course.

How do they do it? “We plan ahead. And my team already knows how to react to certain things. Plus, I’m German!” Brammer explains.

He is also quick to commend his team of Filipino chefs. “Except for me, we have no expat chefs. Zero,” Brammer says, praising the knowledge and skills of Filipino chefs.

“This community—and of course our guests—drive us to do our best,” he adds.

The enthusiasm for excellence in this community is clearly contagious. It is easy to see why the public, through TripAdvisor, has ranked Marriott Cafe No. 1 and given Marriot Manila the honor of winning the 2017 Travelers’ Choice title.

Manila Marriott Hotel. 2 Resorts Drive, Pasay City. Call (02) 9889999.

Marriott Manila’s Thanksgiving Gala for the Red Cross prepared by 30 executive chefs from various Marriott properties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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TAGS: Marriott Cafe, No. 1 on TripAdvisor, restaurants
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