Thomas Bentham is part of Rational’s corporate chef team, specialising in providing equipment and menu support for hotel operators. He reveals the kitchen trends and challenges in this sector of the market – as well as some of his own culinary inspirations.
What is the biggest or most interesting hotel banqueting site you’ve been in to support?
I was very lucky to be able to support Hilton’s corporate chef with a new banqueting menu. We were able to demonstrate how the Rational iCombi combination steamer could benefit their offering across multiple sites, from preparation to service, ensuring every plate was of the highest quality, every time.
What key menu challenges are hotel operators likely to face in 2021?
Covid-19 will continue to bring challenges as we move through different restrictions. Operators will be looking to save running costs, energy and staff time. I believe our iCombi Pro and iVario cooking systems can deliver big benefits here.
Rational unveiled the new iVario and iCombi Pro cooking systems last year. Which functions or features will most benefit hotel operators?
The iCookingSuite intelligent function enables hotels to achieve great consistency with every load, from stocks and braises in the iVario to baked goods for afternoon teas in the iCombi.
What trends do you see coming in the hotel sector in 2021?
Towards the end of 2021, once the vaccine has been rolled out, there will be more people travelling away for luxury weekends and to visit friends and family. Hopefully, the challenge will be to cope – from busy breakfasts to booked-up restaurants. The corporate chef team can support with all the thermal cooking needs in the kitchen to ensure that every meal is of the same high quality.
Tell us about one signature recipe for a hotel operator that the latest equipment can assist with…
Smoke lamb shoulder. Using an iVario multifunctional cooking system, you can create an amazing slow cooked smoked lamb shoulder served with crispy onion hash, tomato and fennel tea.