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March 18, 2010

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Five-star hotels welcome Expo

THE city's luxury hotels are outdoing themselves in preparing for six months of visitors during World Expo 2010 Shanghai. Sam Riley checks out the Hilton, Shangri-La, JW Marriott and Le Royal Meridien.

The city's five-star hotels are preparing for a busy World Expo 2010, with many expanding their food and beverage services to cater to a flood of visitors from around the world.

From launching new facilities and promotions to preparing new staff, these hotels are putting the finishing touches on their F&B strategies for the six-month event.

The Hilton Shanghai is no stranger to big events, having catered for the 2009 Shanghai ATP 1000 Masters tennis tournament.

The hotel is also gearing up to support participating Expo countries in their national day celebrations, says Hilton Shanghai General Manager Guy Hutchinson.

"We are negotiating right now two or three large national day events that will be held either on our premises or in other external venues off the Expo site," Hutchinson says.

These events could cater for as many as 2,000 people and the hotel would also feature the cuisine of the particular country?for a week, says the general manager.

"We have always been very international, but we are taking a few extra steps in terms of bringing in new international chefs who will be based in our hotel during the Expo period."

The hotel has already bought over a new French pastry chef and will add a chef specializing in Mediterranean food.

Along with bolstering its cooking team, the Hilton Shanghai has also spent the last four months fine-tuning all aspects of its food-safety procedures.

This has involved a full audit of their food supply to ensure food safety best practices from the source to the kitchen.

Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai will be in the heart of Expo-related activities and its executive chef Tim Stanhope says they are expecting a big increase in food and beverage demand during the six months.

As well as providing outside catering to pavilions, Stanhope says the hotel has a dedicated World Expo Service Center managing all ticket bookings, information, shuttle buses and tour arrangements.

Along with offering its catering services to national pavilions, Shangri-La is also the official caterer for the General Motors Pavilion.

"We can deliver a variety of customized celebrations including luncheons, large-scale events, cocktail receptions and dinners, with focus on VIP needs," says Stanhope. "All menus can be designed to fit a chosen theme or concept as our chefs prepare authentic world cuisine and local specialties from a wide range of countries."

Giving a touch of class to its Expo preparations, the JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai is creating the perfect English afternoon tea experience as part of its role as official supporter of the UK Pavilion.

Food and Beverage Director Josef Schuppler says the Marriott's 38th floor Lobby Lounge has been given a new look and will be ready in mid-April.

On offer will be a traditional English afternoon tea straight from the iconic Marriott hotel in Mayfair London, Grosvenor House.

"We will be recreating the whole experience here in Shanghai by flying all the original crockery and stands, the menu and recipe and we will serve it the exact Grosvenor House way here to guests," says Schuppler.

Also in the heart of Shanghai, Le Royal Meridien has been heavily involved in promoting the food and beverages for the Expo.

Executive chef Cameron Ballendine has been chosen as a "World Expo Chef Guide" as part of the World Expo Countdown 100 Days Cooking Show.

Ballendine performed a cooking demonstration with his family as part of the show.

Chinese executive chef Peter Cheung has also created a dish welcoming Expo, which was included in the book "Shanghai Resident's Private Menu."

Marketing Director Shirley Xiao says they will showcase the best of Shanghai's food culture across its six restaurants during the Expo.

"We are dedicated to offering delicious cuisine, creative cocktails and the finest of wines to our guests from around the world and this is an integral part of the heritage and tradition of Le Royal Meridien Shanghai," she says.


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