Marriott International represents about half of the world’s hotel options. So when it crowns rising food and beverage professionals, the winners are among the best in the hospitality industry.
Sherene Hutchinson of Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and Jonathan Martin Miller of The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, were recognized as Marriott’s 2018 Masters of the Craft.
Here is a little more about the pair, their thoughts on F&B trends for 2019 and what they love about the industry:
How does the hospitality industry relate to your youth?
Sherene Hutchinson: The organization and this job allowed me to translate my innate nature into a career caring for guests every day. From a young age, watching my grandmother cook and host guests in our home every Saturday inspired me to learn the craft and continue in her tradition.
Jonathan Martin Miller: We had a program at my school where my fifth-grade class went to our California town’s trendy street and worked for a few hours at various jobs to learn about work experience. My assignment was to work at an amazing, yet very small, Italian restaurant. When we got back on the school bus, I felt like I had won the lottery. I had met the nicest people, eaten a delicious Italian lunch and left with $10 in my pocket.
What F&B trends do you think we will see in 2019?
Hutchinson: I expect to see a rise in chefs offering intimate dining experiences, where smaller groups of people will have direct access to the talent creating for them. I think we will continue to see an emphasis on farm-to-table experiences and fermentation processes being more widely used.
Miller: I think the use of flavored or enhanced oils and CBD cocktails will continue to rise in popularity. Recently, my team submitted a cocktail to the Tito's Farmers Market Team Competition that placed second out of 10. This Southwest apple pie-inspired martini featured a lemon-infused olive oil to balance an apple shrub. CBD is riding the wave of normalization and legalization sweeping the nation and hemisphere. Its new legality, neutral flavor, purported medicinal effects and novelty contribute to its rise in popularity.
What’s the most underrated ingredient in everyone’s pantry?
Hutchinson: Thyme. It’s a classic for a reason and adds a burst of flavor to almost any dish.
Miller: Agave syrup. It has a low glycemic index, which means it does not produce as severe an insulin response as sugar or simple syrup. Health? Check. But to me it tastes better, with hints of baking spices like vanilla in its flavor profile.
What’s the best thing about creating F&B for large groups?
Hutchinson: The higher pressure and stakes of creating a larger-scale experience ignites an energy in me every time. I especially love plated functions because that’s when it’s most apparent how many people your art will reach.
Miller: The best thing about it is first creating an awesome drink and then figuring out how to scale it for rapid production. I enjoy the math and techniques often created on the spot to counter logistics of weather, melting ice and other challenges.