I've discussed the Marriott Test Kitchen many times in this blog. There is always a flurry of activity in this 1st floor facility and the word is getting out about its many functions. It was recently featured in Fortune magazine and USA Today. As I told you a few weeks ago, BLT chef-owner Laurent Tourondel cooked burgers from BLT Burger for Mr. Marriott, who also discussed the lunch in his blog, Marriott On The Move. The main question I generally get is “what do you do in the test kitchen?”
That’s a great question with many great answers. What it is NOT is an executive dining room.
The test kitchen provides a wonderful platform for our talented hotel chefs to work with the corporate culinary team as they develop key program menu items, signature dishes, food promotions, beverage promotions, etc. In September and October, the Food and Beverage teams of the soon-to-open JW San Antonio and the under remodel Harbor Beach Marriott spent time in the test kitchen working through their menu ideas and concept strategies. There are menu program workshops, train the trainer courses, photo shoots and hotel specific culinary development. And, they all revolve around Marriott's CookSmart principles….deliver simple, fresh chef-crafted food. In addition, the facility provides a forum for senior leadership to view and discuss the many interpretations of today's food trends and how they are incorporated into our global culinary philosophy.
Bart Hosmer, Thomas Rebler, and the rest of the culinary team are constantly manning the stoves and shooting wonderful photos of food in development, providing actionable and realistic solutions to the challenge of keeping our menus exciting, approachable, and guest appropriate. Whether it be Renaissance targeted breakfast signatures, Marriott lounge menus, SpringHill Suites breakfast muffins, JW Organic strategies, or Courtyard Bistro seasonal promotion items, the Test Kitchen is where the ideas come to life.
Occasionally when the kitchen is not busy developing new items, there are the hosted luncheons for development groups looking to understand the Marriott F&B roles and how it will impact their acquisition, tours with industry executives, and sales professionals focused on marketing our great brands. Product and specification reviews are held regularly, with many vendors jockeying for a chance to show their latest products. It is a busy place that hopefully benefits all of our culinary operations in the global Marriott community and your dining experience in our hotels.
Cooking in the Test Kitchen is on my plate today. What's on YOUR plate today?