In a bid to demonstrate that hotel cuisine can be on a par with that of top gourmet restaurants, the Fattal chain of hotels recently held a cooking competition among 20 of its 30 hotels around the country.
From each hotel, the executive chef and his/her team cooked up a storm in the Chef Classico 2012 competition, vying to win national recognition and the top prize, which was a silver trophy and a stint at a Michelin-starred hotel in Paris. The judges consisted of a panel of some of the country’s top chefs.
At the award ceremony, held in Jerusalem at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel, all the teams gathered to find out which among them had garnered first prize and would be heading off to the City of Light. In fact, there were seven finalists, and each of the teams’ three-course entries were glazed and displayed in showcases, with large posters of each smiling culinary team beside them.
Before the award ceremony, there was a cocktail reception, where guests got to sample the dishes of the seven finalists, which will be featured on the Fattal hotel menus this year. Morsels of delectable dishes such as beef-stuffed mushrooms, vegetable dumplings, braised duck, fish ceviche, filo cigars and roast chicken were meted out from serving stations around the room, accented by platters of the most thinly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and avocado I have ever seen.
At the award ceremony, Fattal chain owner and CEO David Fattal welcomed the participants and declared them “all winners.” He said that food was the most important part of the hotel experience and that the culinary teams were the heart of the Fattal chain (which also has more than 30 hotels in Europe under the Leonardo brand).
“Not all the guests of our hotels go to the spa or the pool or our other facilities, but they all go to the dining room,” he said. He explained that hotel clients are more worldly now; they have been to many parts of the globe and have come to expect more than standard fare. “It is no longer enough that there is a lot of food and that it looks pretty; it has to be fresh, tasty and original,” he continued. To that end, the Fattal hotel chefs prepare some of their distinctive dishes fresh, a la minute, and cut the vegetables right in front of the guest.
All the teams were awarded framed certificates for their participation.
There were three finalists. In third place was the Leonardo Privilege Eilat. In second place was Herods Tel Aviv.
And the first prize went to the Leonardo Plaza Jerusalem. That culinary team was headed by Shalom Kadosh, who is also the executive chef of the Fattal chain. An internationally renowned culinary master, Kadosh’s name is sacred among top chefs worldwide.