Here at P&H, family is important and spending time with our customers, getting to know them and finding out about why they use P&H is one of the things we love to do. Recently we headed to the Shangri-La to meet with one of our customers Chef De Cuisine Sudhir Pitake, who manages and runs the banquet section for events and functions for the Shangri-La in Sydney. First of all, what an awesome location! Nestled in Circular Quay right near the Harbour Bridge with stunning views of Sydney’s iconic harbour, the Shangri-La is one of Sydney’s top five-star hotels.
Sudhir has been in the industry for over 15 years working both abroad and in Australia and manages a team of six who take care of all the savoury menus for functions and events, the Blu Bar and the Premium Bar Horizon on Level 38 at the Shangri-La Hotel. Serving anywhere from 250-600 guests per event, plus the daily cyclical menu for the premium lounge, this team is definitely kept busy. Sudhir is a truly humble guy and was more than willing to make time for us within his busy schedule so we could find out more about what he looks for and why he uses P&H products.
Working in a five-star hotel, we imagine there is a certain expectation when it comes to the food that is served. Can you tell us firsthand why you choose P&h products?
Firstly, everything is very consistent, which is so important. Here at the Shangri-La especially when it comes to events and functions, we get repeat guests. If they try a certain menu and dish, for example the Beef Cheeks, they want to know that if they come again that they can order the same and be guaranteed the same consistency, quality and taste. With P&H I don’t have to worry; every product and every serving is consistent in terms of size, quality and flavour. There is no second guessing. We service large volumes with banquet so there is no room for error, if something goes wrong, I don’t have a backup. But with P&H I don’t have to worry because not only is the product premium, the price is good, and the product is always consistent. My team knows how to heat it and serve it, there is no guess work. We can just get on with what needs to be done.
I also know that I can rely on Rod and P&H. With events numbers can change at the drop of a hat, sometimes we can go from 100-300 at no notice. I know that I can ring Rod and place an order that morning and have it delivered for that afternoon. For me that is also important. I can’t mess up the banquet.
P&H also saves my bottom line. Every event has a budget when it comes to labour and supplies, and if for example I had to cook the beef cheeks myself the labour involved, and the cost is much higher. Plus, with P&H I don’t have to worry about inconsistent cuts of meat and then the cooking process to ensure all portions are tender and not overcooked. P&H takes care of all that. I just have to heat it and serve.
What products do you use from the P&H range?
Coming into the holiday period we are using a lot of the Christmas products. The Turkey Cranberry and Apple and the Turkey Chestnut, Kale and Granny Smith Apples, which we serve alongside seasonal vegetables, such as roasted purple and green brussel sprouts accompanied by a maple jus. The flavour is there, so we don’t overcomplicate it. At Christmas we use the Turkey a lot and change the accompaniment’s depending on what is in season and what the guests request.
How do you like to prepare and serve the products?
We keep things simple focusing on what is in season, so the flavours speak for themselves. With the turkey we heat it in a water bath before sealing it on a hot plate, so you get the golden burst around the edge and the soft white and juicy centre when we slice it up to serve. With summer coming we might use some summer beans or baby carrots to accompany it with an apricot or date jus. At Christmas we also prepare hampers to order in which we include some of the P&H Turkey Roast Roulade, alongside a whole roasted Turkey and other accompaniments so the guests get a truly amazing feast.
The Beef Cheeks we steam, and then slice nicely serving with a hot jus and maybe some potato puree flavoured with horseradish, with baby zucchini and roasted beetroot. Always working with what is in season. With the pates and terrines, we keep it simple, portioning nicely and just simple garnish, maybe some micro herbs or fresh cranberries. We let the products speak for themselves.
What’s your favourite P&H product? And what do you find is most popular with your guests?
The Confit Duck Leg and the Beef Cheeks they are my favourite. This is very dependent on the client, for our local guests they really love the Beef Cheeks, because they are so soft, tender and flavoursome. Whereas our international guests and those from Asian countries as well, they often prefer things like the Duck Leg Confit.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
With P&H products nothing is hidden, I know what I am getting and with a lot of the guests we have dietary requirements and I know I can use P&H products for many of these. Rod is also always willing to help and knows what I need. Even if I have an unusual request for a special product Rod will do everything he can to help me make it happen. Plus, P&H products last and have a long shelf life. I can order bulk if I want to and know that the product is prepared properly and won’t go off.
We hope you enjoyed heading behind the scenes with us to get in on the action and find out more about one of our valued customers and what they love about P&H products.