Whisk Around the World: July/August 2014

Julie Mautner - July/August 2014

LONDON
Gordon Ramsay is out and Simon Rogan is in at Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair: Rogan opened Fera there in early May, taking over the space that Ramsay had occupied since 2001. Rogan (who has worked with Marco Pierre White, Jean-Christophe Novelli, and Alain Senderens) also has the two-star L’Enclume in Cartmel, The French in Manchester, a number of other restaurants, and extensive farm acreage. Fera (“wild” in Latin) serves modern British food made primarily from British ingredients. Hits so far have been grilled salad, Isle of Mull cheese, truffle custard; crab with rhubarb and goat’s milk cheese; and prawns with pickled alexander, asparagus, and shellfish butter. The exec chef is Dan Cox, who worked with Rogan at L’Enclume. The restaurant director is Ben Hofer, who came from Viajante (London). Fera offers à la carte and tasting menus, topping out at £125 ($209) for 10 courses. The wine list has 400 labels, the preserve of wine buyer Raphael Rodriguez. The bar serves classic cocktails alongside food-inspired drink combos such as parsnip liqueur, straw honey, and sparkling wine. British designer Guy Oliver merged the original Art Deco elements of the 90 seat space with natural touches such as a dramatic tree (a real tree, minus all foliage) in the room’s center. Rogan also ran Roganic, a successful two year “pop-up” in London’s Marylebone from 2011 to 2013.

FRANCE
The five-star hotel Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence has a new chef as of spring 2014: Thibaut Serin-Moulin. He hails from Orléans and came from the Relais & Châteaux property Château de Courcelles in the Champagne region, where he has held one Michelin star for seven years. Before that, he worked with Silver Spoon winner Anne-Sophie Pic in Valence and at Lucas Carton and the Plaza Athénée in Paris—all three-star kitchens. Serin-Moulin replaced Marc de Passorio, who left to open L’Esprit de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence in May. De Passorio is also a partner in restaurant L’Esprit Culinaire in Châteaurenard, not far from Avignon. Up at the Château de Courcelles, Serin-Moulin’s replacement had not been named at press time.

ITALY
The Ferragamo family opened the hotel Portrait Firenze on May 1. The iconic brand—known for handbags, shoes, and other luxury goods—was founded by Salvatore Ferragamo in 1927 and later expanded into hotels, including the Savoy in Florence (run for the family by Rocco Forte Hotels) and Il Borro, a 22 suite Relais & Châteaux on 700 acres in the Valdarno hills, 40 miles southeast of Florence, where they make five wines, including the super Tuscan Il Borro. The Portrait Firenze has 34 suites and guest rooms and Caffè dell’Oro, serving drinks and light fare. For more substantial meals, there’s a 24 hour “Lifestyle Team” to arrange in-room dining from local restaurants. The property’s hotel manager is Diego Roggero, who was last at La Posta Vecchia in Rome. Located on the banks of the Arno, close to the Ponte Vecchio, the Portrait Firenze belongs to the Lungarno Collection, established by Leonardo Ferragamo, one of the youngest of Salvatore’s six children. Rates begin at $650.

TURKEY
Marriott International has opened the Istanbul Marriott Hotel Sisli, the company’s seventh property in Istanbul and its 11th in Turkey. The five-star, 259 room hotel (with rooftop heliport) sits within a 34-story tower on the European side of the city, with views of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The Dish Room Restaurant & Terrace serves Mediterranean cuisine; food is also served in The Lobby Lounge and My Bar. The Terrace Bar is an outside space with a DJ nightly. The hotel exec chef is Hubert Bourdon, last at the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai. The f&b director is Baran Turkel, who came from the Istanbul Marriott Hotel Asia. Rooms start at €169 ($235).

SINGAPORE
After eight years as exec chef at the Mandarin Oriental New York, Toni Robertson is now exec chef at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore. Born in Burma, Robertson moved to Chicago in her late teens, joined the U.S. Air Force, and graduated first in her class from the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She worked in Chicago, San Francisco, Maui, South Africa, and Singapore (at the Pan Pacific, where she became the first female exec chef of a luxury hotel in Southeast Asia) before taking the New York City job, in 2005. Robertson replaces Marco Pedrelli, who has gone on to the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. At press time, her replacement in New York City had not been named.