There’s a new kid on the block. Rather, a new hotel on the city’s skyline. This week, the Shangri-La has joined the growing pantheon of swanky multi-starred hotels in Bengaluru
Shangri-La has lots of figures and facts going for it — 397 rooms including 30 suites, 19 storeys, 8 food and beverage outlets, a 900-guest capability, 361 parking spaces, a 740-square-feet grand ballroom, 12 elevators to the banquet floor, the largest brigade of chefs in the city and a giant, double-heighted lobby for starters. So says Jens Corder, general manager, as he sits sipping peppermint tea in the sprawling B Café, with its giant (and real) show kitchen. Corder is no newwbie to Bangalore: he’s been here 19 months and watched the hotel take shape even as he sussed out the food and beverage (F&B) scene and made his assessments. He says he’s well-equipped to deal with the city’s foodie brigade with their quicksilver loyalties, along with mega corporate bashes and lavish weddings. The Shangri-La is going to stir the hospitality trade’s pot, quite vigorously.
Corder has a firm eye on the food side of business – he believes this is the path to success. He should know. A career F&B man, Corder started his work life with hospitality training in his native Australia, and over the years, he’s done it all – from wine waiting to executive chef. “I like the discipline of the kitchen and am aware of its pitfalls,” he says. “An F&B background makes a person enterprising. You can change quickly, take risks, think and adapt as you go – and lead people.” It also helps to have the might of the Shangri-La brand behind him for support.
|“An F&B background makes a person enter-prising. You can change quickly, take risks, think and adapt as you go – and lead people”|
In his early days, Corder was spotted doing the rounds of the city’s top restaurants, attending soirées of the Skål Club and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, all with the purpose of understanding Bangalore better. Then, market surveys were conducted on dining out and the decision made to stick to authentic styles of cuisines with an eye open to local preferences. Their Chinese, Mediterranean, Japanese, North and South Indian restaurants, bars, patisseries and coffee shops will regularly be tweaked to suit local tastes. I met him shortly before the launch, and Corder was hectically busy with tastings, stimulations, reviews, project supervision and more — his day starting at 7.30 am and running breathlessly through until 10.30 pm. So what about his family? He smiles. Family, who moved with him to India, consists of his wife (a dab hand at adapting to different countries and cultures), two sons studying in Australia and a Burmese cat named Oscar. They’ve now added two kittens – Sidney, a tabby, and George, a ginger. His day includes a brisk walk down to work not far from home. He even makes time to cook, clean (when his wife is away), and look after the kittens. When he has time — rarely these days — he enjoys cricket and occasionally rides his bicycle down the airport road. (“It can be a little hairy cycling through Hebbal,”he says, deadpan. What should the food lovers try at the hotel? He thinks. “I tried a gorgeous slow-cooked chicken roulade with basil and thyme last night. I love the hand-rolled pasta our Italian chef makes, and can vouch for the Chinese food’s authenticity as I’ve lived in China. Oh, and the soft, rich German cheesecake.” Take it from the boss. He’d know.