Whisk Around the World: October

Julie Mautner - October 2013

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (NYC) opened Shake Shack in London’s Market Building at Covent Garden, with 134 seats (inside and out) and a design that complements the historic structure. This is Shake Shack’s first U.K. outpost. The “American roadside burger stand” sources local ingredients: freshly ground 100 percent Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, free-range Wiltshire-cured smoked bacon, Cumberland sausage handmade by Sillfield Farm, using rare breed pork from Cumbria, etc. In addition to wine, house-made lemonade, root beer, and local craft beers, the restaurant taps ShackMeister Ale from Brooklyn Brewery (NYC). Frozen custard made daily is featured in shakes and concretes, with mix-ins from local purveyors such as St. John Bakery and paul.a.young. Shake Shack’s culinary director Mark Rosati oversees menus companywide.

Heiko Riebandt is the new exec chef at The Lodge at Doonbeg, the only five-star resort in western Ireland. They serve modern Irish cuisine, emphasizing fresh, locally sourced ingredients, including Irish cheeses, Burren beef, and County Clare salmon and cod. Last year the Restaurants Association of Ireland named the resort’s Long Room the best hotel restaurant in Ireland. The 400-acre property has 205 rooms, a spa, and a Greg Norman–designed golf course. Tom Colicchio is the lodge’s consulting chef. Riebandt, who was born in Muelheim an dur Ruhr, Germany, arrived at The Lodge at Doonbeg following seven years as exec sous chef, then exec chef, at Sheen Falls Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux property in Kenmare, County Kerry. He replaces Wade Murphy.

Jean-François Meteigner opened the French-Vietnamese Bistro La Mer in the new 500 room beachfront Grand Hotel and Casino in Ho Tram, Vietnam. The Vichy, France–born chef moved from Los Angeles to Vietnam in late 2012. In addition to La Mer, the Grand Hotel has a Chinese restaurant, a Vietnamese-Continental restaurant, an Asian noodle spot, and a cafe for pastry and sandwiches. The hotel exec chef is Conny Andersson; the director of resort operations is Timothy Ryan; and the vp of hospitality is John Webb. The owners plan to add another 500 rooms within two years.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recently unveiled its third luxury property in Shanghai, on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River. Called the Jing An Shangri-La West Shanghai, the 508 room hotel is the centerpiece of the new 4.8 million-square-foot Jing An Kerry Centre. Guest rooms occupy the top 29 floors of the 60-story tower. The art-filled hotel has four bars and restaurants, including The 1515 West, Chophouse & Bar, offering “premium beef, American-sized desserts, and signature drinks served in a classic New York steakhouse interior.” Shangri-La Hotels are known to have elegant chandeliers, and the newest is no exception: it glistens with more than four million pieces of crystal used as architectural elements, sculptures, and more. The hotel’s exec chef is Franco Brodini, who moved over from the Makati Shangri-La Manila (Philippines). The f&b director is Robert Blackborough, last at the Pudong Shangri-La East Shanghai. The gm is J. Edward Brea, who was previously gm at the Kerry Hotel Pudong Shanghai.

Argentine chef Diego Jacquet and local entrepreneur Cynthia Chua teamed up to open Bochinche in the Robertson Quay neighborhood. The name means “make noise” in Lunfardo (Argentine slang). Jacquet, the chef/owner of Casa Malevo and the newer Zoilo in London, says his mission at the new 70 seat restaurant is to spread the joy of authentic, traditional Argentine food and wine. Born in Buenos Aires, Jacquet spent most of his childhood in Patagonia. After apprenticing with Francis Mallmann in Buenos Aires, he rose through the ranks at elBulli (Spain) and Aquavit (NYC), then became exec chef at The Trafalgar Hotel and later moved on to The Zetter (both in London). Chua fell in love with Jacquet’s cuisine in London and lured him to Singapore. Bochinche’s small-plates menu features regional products and dishes from Patagonia, Salta, the Pampas, Mendoza, and more. Doing the day-to-day cooking is exec head chef Fabrice Mergalet, who was last at Casa Malevo.