After a stint at the Shangri-La Bosphorus in his native Istanbul, Sinan Yilmaz’s 20-year journey through the hospitality industry has brought him to Beijing. He tells us about his culinary background and passion for local food and his vision for the Kerry Hotel.
You arrived in Beijing just a few months ago. What have been your first impressions of Chinese food?
Although this is my first time living in China, I’m familiar with Chinese food from my more than 15 years working in Asia. I’m very keen to discover the best of the food here in Beijing. I think I’m very lucky that we have a restaurant right here in the hotel [Horizon] serving some of the city’s best Peking duck.
Of all the cities you have visited, where have you had the most memorable food experiences?
I really don’t think I could pick a favorite – it’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child! Having worked in Southeast Asia, I’ve had access to so much culinary diversity; there’s really no need to limit yourself to one cuisine.
What do you miss most about Turkish food?
Everyone thinks Turkish food is just Doner kebabs, but because our cuisine incorporates influences from so many different cultures we actually have a huge range of delicious, original dishes. Since I have a culinary background, if I really miss something, at least I can cook it myself.
So you would consider yourself to be a bit of a foodie?
Certainly. I started my career in the food and beverage division, and I went through culinary school, so I know how to cook and how to serve. I have always loved trying local foods and learning how to cook them myself.
Do you think a background in food and beverage is important for a hotel general manager?
As a general manager you are driven by results, so first and foremost you have to be a businessman. However, food and beverage is the public face of any hotel. The majority of revenue comes from rooms, but restaurants and bars are often the hook that draws people in, so you have to be able to taste and evaluate how good they are.
What is your vision for the Kerry Hotel?
I hope that the Kerry Hotel can have a voice, for people to look to us as a venue that is constantly vibrant and changing. So I guess the last word would have to be: keep watching this space!
Also, see our First Glance of Kerry Hotel’s new wine bar Vinotheque, which opened at the end of July and boasts more than 1,000 bottles from 200 labels.
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog