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Turndowns and VIP amenities


devinf
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We've been doing more VIP turndowns and specialty stuff at work lately. We've got a few solid items, but they get repetitive. I'm looking for research/resource material for new stuff.

Any books or places I should check for that sort of thing? Like the way you scan through cookbooks for pictures and random ideas - I'd love to find something like that.

Ideas?

Devin

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Try Christophe Michalak's blog, it's in French but there'll be someone here who can translate for you I'm sure. The pictures are awesome anyway:

http://amabilia.com/blogs/passionsgourmandes/

Soooo... I guess I'll just go back to popping a cake mix in the oven and opening a can of icing.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Turndown gift - the chocolate on your pillow in a nice hotel.

What is the average stay of your guests? How many rooms? Remember that even if it gets repetetive for you, if they only stay 3 nights you really only need that many different gifts. How complex are you getting - just a few bonbons or a whole assortment? What do you have so far?

We keep cookies in the rooms and different cookies and nuts in the cars, and chocolates or cake in the 'living room' common area, but luckily our turndown gifts are all non-food (except the chugo, dried yak cheese, but we buy that) and culturally related.

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On the rare occasion the I'm the recipient of a VIP turndown treat, I almost never eat it. The last thing I need moments before bed is a shot of sugar and, if it's a chocolate item, caffeine. So I always appreciate turndown treats that come in little boxes and can be held overnight or even for a couple of days without refrigeration. That way I can use them as a midday snack the next day or bring them home to my family. Whereas, if it's something like chocolate-covered strawberries I just throw them out.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Try Christophe Michalak's blog, it's in French but there'll be someone here who can translate for you I'm sure. The pictures are awesome anyway:

http://amabilia.com/blogs/passionsgourmandes/

Google can translate it.

BTW, his personal website ( kind of a consultancy business, etc.) is pretty super too.

I got his book when I was in France in January.

It's a very kind of down to earth affair but assumes you know a bit about pastry cooking.

Good stuff.

2317/5000

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Soooo... I guess I'll just go back to popping a cake mix in the oven and opening a can of icing.

Whatevs! :laugh:

Hey Devin, what sort of turndown items have you been producing so far? Just wanted to know where we could start :)

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Here is the google translated page.

Awww, and this is my favourite quote from the translated site:

Jerome is the party since early April in Chicago to become the technical director of the school of Barry Callebaut chocolate. I wish him shine and conquer this country.
Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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VIP turndowns and specialty/custom stuff changes all the time... I remember when still at Le Cirque at the Palace we did cornet work on the plate that held a plate of sliced oranges. We had a group that wanted airplanes (or was it ships?) on everything.

Silk screening the logo onto something that they can take home (IE chocolate or marzipan plaque) as vs something with a perishable filling is something that is really easy to mass-produce.

If it is your company emblem you are wanting to reproduce, look at some of the stuff that your marketing people have -- mugs, figurines, etc and try making them out of something edible. It can be as simple as taking the logo (IE lion, fan, etc) as a brooch and making a silicone mold that you can use to pump out isomalt or chocolate pieces.

Is this what you meant? sorry if it's completely off track.

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Re: repetition...

Depending on your particular establishment, if you've got a lot of business travelers who are there every week, even the Mon-Wed night rotation will get obvious. I pretty much know every turndown snack as well as the rotation of the hot appetizers in the concierge lounge in the hotels I stay at. [Granted, I stay in the big chains, so I do expect the corporate sameness of it all.] A little surprise every now and then is welcome. And I agree with Fat Guy - something that I might be able to tuck into my purse for a sweet treat the following day would be very welcome.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I'd want something like this!

If you go to flickr and type in "turndown service" you'll get some pictures of food (though mostly of towel animals) that you can look through, but very few. That was the best of the bunch. It seems most hotels (even high-end ones) just do chocolates.

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That site does look cool, I'll have to spend some time on it!

At most we do one or two of these a day. It could be for an overnighter or someone there for a week of conferences. Lately it seems we get a lot of "internal" VIPs - management from other properties on a free ride, etc.

I agree with the idea of take-away stuff. A box of treats to make the memory of the stay last, that kind of thing. We do send some folks off with a small loaf of quickbread - but that's rare. Our latest turndown was a sugar pineapple as a centerpiece and mignardise (truffle, marshmallow, nougat, etc.)placed around the base. We'll also do a "small plate" kind of dessert i.e. Chinese spoons filled with various flavors of Dessert Type X and appropriate garnish. It seems the flair of the presentation/garnish is more important that the actual item/s.

We do some corporate logo work with chocolate and airbrush, but that's usually as a part of a plated dessert for lunch/dinner. At our weekly meeting today the chef actually mentioned getting into silkscreening and even offered to pay for a class - so taking some turndown/presentation specific classes (Ewald Notter maybe?) are not out of the question either in the search for bigger and better treats for the guests.

I really would like to see our team start making some next level stuff. I'm really in the 'brainstorm' mode and am looking for as much material I can find while the energy (and latest paycheck) is still with me. Sure, it's for our guests but more importantly for some personal satisfaction in pulling off something that just looks hot, ya?

Devin

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