It’s common knowledge that working in the hospitality industry is no simple task. Beyond what we see on the surface, the system that runs behind the scenes to ensure that we always get the best service is hard at work 24/7. Without deep passion and dedication, it must be quite impossible to flourish as a hotelier. If you’ve ever sat by the lobby and watched a hotel’s staff buzzing up and down, wondering how they do it, you’re not alone.
We caught up with Mladen Sinjeri, an executive hotelier currently in charge of the F&B division at Capitol Kempinski, to find out more.
What inspired your passion and entry into the hospitality industry?
I grew up on the Istrian coast of Croatia – a popular touristic destination – and in a family of hoteliers. My mother owns a restaurant and a guesthouse, and my father is a chef. Ever since I was a child, I fell in love with the industry and people surrounding me as I observed my parents’ passion, hard work, and dedication creating beautiful experiences and memories with the guests.
As an experienced hotelier and F&B expert, could you share with our readers some industry insights or tips that we can take advantage of when planning our next gatherings or trips?
Go for the experience rather than blindly following trends – whether it is choosing the next destination for your trip, or dining in a restaurant or bar. It does not always have to be “the best” or “the most popular”, but a place that you know is going to consistently deliver the experience you expected. These days everyone is raving about Instagram worthy places but sometimes, the best experience occurs when you least expect it. Having said that, it is also worthwhile doing your research before visiting a place to get feel of what you would like or dislike, and don’t be afraid to check with the team on anything you are unsure of – be it the menu, special arrangements, or really just anything you have in mind.
Being a Kempinski veteran yourself, what do you think sets Capitol Kempinski in Singapore apart?
We have the privilege to operate in such a charming historic building in Singapore, setting the scene for us to deliver impeccable service to our dining patrons and guests. Guests can also find some of the best dining experiences in the city with various cuisines matching every taste: from celebrity chef restaurant 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, to Italian classics and all-time favourites such as pizzas from the wooden oven at La Scala restaurant, and traditional German fare at Frieda German Restaurant. Not forgetting the bespoke handcrafted cocktails and one of the most extensive rum collections in Singapore at our stylish The Bar at 15 Stamford.
For our readers’ sake, could you name some of your favorite dishes that we have to try from across the multiple concepts that Capitol Kempinski manages here?
That’s a very difficult question as I have many favourite dishes across the various outlets we have here. I would strongly recommend the Kurobuta Pork Prime Rib Bak Kut Teh from 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, any of the traditional pizzas and the La Scala Linguine Alla Granchio from La Scala, and the authentic German-style pork knuckle at Frieda German Restaurant – many guests have personally told me that this is the best pork knuckle they have tried in Singapore. At The Bar at 15 Stamford, try some of our signature cocktails like the Plantation 1840 or just pick from our extensive selection of rums and whiskeys.
You specialise in managing and growing F&B portfolios, what are the first few things any aspiring F&B entrepreneur should take note of?
When starting your own business and working hard to make it succeed, I would always recommend going back to hospitality basics and talking to your guests. Listen to what they want to share, hear about their experiences, take note of their feedback, very importantly, take actions to improve. Sometimes in our daily routine, we forget that the guest is the most important element in our business, and we are there to serve them, meet, and exceed their expectations.
To catch Mladen in action or find out more about The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore’s exciting culinary offerings, head over to their website here.