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May 24, 2017

THE NEW F&B GAME (Part 2 of 2)

Read Part 1 HERE.


That may be a question that some hotels have pondered but Marriott Hotel Manila has answered affirmatively with its decision to offer a three-course vegan menu at Cru Steakhouse.

Hotels should recognize that dining out has gone beyond merely eating, but also encompasses the lifestyle of its diners, most of whom are social diners with specific diets. With today’s diners sticking to more customized dietary and personal eating requirements, it only makes sense to also address these with special menus.

A few years back, diabetics had their answers with the inclusion of sugar-free desserts and vegetarians with vegetarian dishes. Fortunately, vegans can also enjoy vegan meals as Chef Meik Brammer whipped up dishes that respected the stringent requirements of this lifestyle choice. He even presented a vegan Caesar dressing, which used tofu and lemon juice.

Mediterranean Summer captures all of the bright flavors of summer with flavorful chickpea falafels, light and tart lemon-artichoke puree with grape relish and cilantro oil.

A Walk in the Forest evokes earthy nuances with grilled forest mushrooms and leeks, layered with basil gremolata, garlic-crushed marble potatoes, and a tomato reduction.

Chocolate Mojito Ice Pops is a sinfully healthy treat of vegan chocolate bar with caramelized almonds, coconut mojito parfait and toasted coconut flakes.

Chef Meik revealed that he understood the need to offer customized menus, since he himself is a diabetic. Their new range of sugar-free cakes, created by Executive Pastry Chef Fil Afable reflects this commitment to satisfy their customer’s dining needs, in every tasteful way possible.

Chocolate Sensation is an indulgent combination of a sable Breton with hazelnut and chocolate ornaments. Mango Almond Cake is a sugar-free sponge cake with mango gelee and mousse. Chocolate Brownie is an overload of cacao goodness, flavored with Bourbon vanilla bean, and filled with hazelnuts and pecan nuts.

Marriott Hotel Manila has smartly addressed the differentiated dining market, with customized menus that pushes culinary creativity and innovative thinking in flavorful and healthy ways.


Not all chocolates are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to quality chocolates like Felchlin Switzerland, which is a notch above the rest. Chef Anil Rohira, Corporate Pastry Chef Felchlin Switzerland, was at Marriott Hotel Manila recently, where he showcased their range of vegan couvertures.

“Vegan does not have to be extreme. It is an opportunity to be adaptable, to be conscious about what good health is to you,” Chef Anil explained.

While the health dimension is a big factor in making dietary changes, Chef Anil also underscored that diners also had to be conscious about the source. “Think about where the ingredients come from, the flavor profiles it presents to you. It is not just about enjoying the meal, but also being conscious about where the products are coming from.”

A 65 percent Cacao Maracaibo Clasificado is from the “Sur del Lago” region in Venezuela, near lake Maracaibo. This Gran Cru couverture has been hailed as the world’s finest vegan couverture. The fat component is derived from coco butter, for a delicate and festive harmony of sweet and aromatic notes.

A 68 percent Cru Sauvage Cacao Bolivia is made from a unique and rare wild cacao, the Criollo Amazonico which comes from the lowlands and gathered by Chimane Indians. The trees are not cultivated, cut or fertilized, simply left for nature to grow with no human interference. The harvested cacao intricately blends the natural lemon and citric notes with fruity tones.

“For Felchlin, it is important for us to accentuate the flavor profiles and not distort it. This results in great couverture,” Chef Anil emphasized.

Chef Anil cited as an example the 38 percent Maracaibo Criolait, a non-vegan milk couverture. The milk is sourced from a UNESCO site, which is then dehydrated and combined with the roasted cacao. The result is a creamy and caramel finish that heightens the different components with every bite.

Felchlin challenged itself again, by creating a milk chocolate and white chocolate vegan couverture line. The difficulty lies in finding the right milk which will provide a similar texture and taste profile.

Brun 44 percent has a more Asian taste profile compared to the others. This can be due to the use of rice milk powder, which combines with the roasted cacao for a hint of toasted rice, thinly coating the cacao.

The Blanc 38 percent white couverture will be in the market shortly, which adds to the possible ingredients used in the vegan pastry line.

“Traceability, sustainability, and organic—these all go hand in hand,” Chef Anil noted about the importance of the food choices we make.


Whatever promotions hotel restaurants create, there will always be an ongoing dialogue between the property, the chefs and the diners. Making the right connections, understanding the market, anticipating their needs, and following through with proper ingredient choices are steps that ensure a healthy relationship can be nurtured between the restaurant and their customers.



Felchlin photo from Werdenberg Inc.



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