Interview with Chef Christian Pedersen and Marina Bohnert, F&B Director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Interview with Chef Christian Pedersen and Marina Bohnert, F&B Director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Nestled in the illustrious Palm Jumeirah, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah offers an unparalleled beachfront retreat where luxury meets tranquillity. With sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai Marina skyline, this resort is a haven of elegance and relaxation. Boasting ten exquisite dining venues, a serene spa, a stunning ocean-view pool, and a private beach, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah is the perfect destination for those seeking a blend of opulence and serenity.

In an exclusive interview, Marina Bohnert, Food and Beverage Director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, and Christian Pedersen, Executive Chef at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah share insights into what makes this resort a standout gem on Dubai’s most iconic island.

Interview with Marina Bohnert, Food and Beverage Director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Marina Bohnert, Food and Beverage Director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Could you describe your strategic vision for the food and beverage offerings at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah? How do you plan to differentiate your venues in Dubai's competitive market?

We strive to create exceptional dining experiences in Dubai that celebrate the city's cultural diversity and culinary heritage, prioritizing innovation, authenticity, and sustainability. Through continuous menu innovation, the use of local ingredients, and sustainable practices, we aim to stand out in Dubai's competitive hospitality industry. Our venues, including Barfly Dubai, Claw BBQ, Trader Vic's, and McGettigan's Factory, embody this commitment, providing guests with unique and memorable experiences that exceed expectations and redefine culinary excellence and sustainability in the city.

What innovative initiatives have you introduced at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah to enhance guest dining experiences and increase operational efficiency?

Some of the initiatives that we have introduced are digital menus and ordering systems to streamline the ordering process, themed culinary events to engage more guests, and collaborations with local suppliers to source fresh and sustainable ingredients. Additionally, we have invested in training programs for our team members to ensure high-quality service and consistency across all our venues.

What sustainable practices have you implemented in your food and beverage operations at the hotel?

Sustainability is a top priority at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah. We have implemented various practices in our operations to minimize our environmental impact. This includes reducing food waste through measuring plate waste, portion control and composting, sourcing ingredients locally to reduce carbon footprint, and implementing energy-efficient equipment in our kitchens. Additionally, we work closely with suppliers who share our commitment to sustainability and continually look for opportunities to improve our practices. We are participating in initiatives like Green Breakfast and Green Ramadan.

One such trend I'm particularly excited about is the rise of plant-based cuisine and sustainable dining practices. We are incorporating this trend by expanding our vegetarian and vegan menu offerings at our venues, sourcing organic and locally grown produce, and implementing eco-friendly packaging and utensils. Additionally, we are exploring partnerships with sustainable food suppliers and participating in initiatives to promote environmental stewardship within the community.

In what ways has technology impacted the food and beverage services at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah? Are there any particular technologies you have adopted recently?

The technology significantly enhances guest experiences and operational efficiency in our food and beverage services. We have adopted technologies such as digital ordering systems, contactless payment options, and online reservation platforms to streamline processes and reduce wait times. Additionally, we utilize data analytics tools to gather insights into guest preferences and behavior, allowing us to tailor our offerings and marketing strategies effectively.

Looking ahead, what are your major goals for the next year, and how do you plan to achieve them in your role at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

My primary objectives are to elevate guest satisfaction, streamline operational processes, and innovate our food and beverage offerings. To achieve these goals, I will emphasize team development and training, monitor guest feedback and market trends closely, and seek collaborations within the industry. Sustainability remains a key focus, as we strive to meet environmental targets while providing outstanding dining experiences.

Interview with Christian Pedersen, Executive Chef at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Christian Pedersen, Executive Chef at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

With a decade of international culinary experience, what unique culinary techniques have you brought to the Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

We have incorporated a few Nordic techniques like fermentation, aging, pickling, and modern methods such as dehydrating into our cuisine. I like combining flavors that you wouldn't expect to work together.

As executive chef overseeing 11 in-house restaurants, how do you maintain a cohesive culinary vision across such diverse dining options?

Shaped by my experience working in over 10 countries over the past 20+ years, my diverse cooking style has been immensely advantageous. This exposure has provided me with the ability to approach culinary challenges from various angles. Collaborating closely with the Chef de Cuisine and Restaurant General Manager, we formulate the vision for each venue. Regular brainstorming sessions are scheduled to harness the exceptional talents within our team on the property.

Can you describe some of the eco-friendly practices you've implemented at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

We focus on minimizing waste in our menus by creatively using ingredients across recipes, conducting live cooking at our buffet to reduce leftovers, upcycling bread, and sourcing more produce from local suppliers, especially for vegetables.

How do you balance innovation with maintaining the high standards expected at a luxury property like Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

I pay close attention to market trends and blend my experiences with traditional techniques to bring out new flavors and textures to dishes. Today, people are more open-minded, which makes it easier to innovate with presentations and flavors. Innovation isn't just about new ideas; it is also about reimagining old ones for a better culinary future.

Collaboration with local farmers is a key part of your strategy. How does this influence the menu planning and dishes offered at the hotel?

Our buffet service at Mowsem is heavily influenced by local farmers and suppliers. For theme nights, we prioritize regional products like locally made burrata, farmed tomatoes, and a Caprese section entirely crafted from local produce. Menu planning involves considering local availability and finding suitable ingredient substitutions, such as using locally sourced fish instead of traditional salmon for dishes like Gravet Lax. Our focus is on supporting local suppliers while maintaining a well-balanced menu.

Looking forward, are there any exciting new projects or menus that guests can look forward to under your leadership at Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah?

We are currently exploring sustainable coffee breaks that use locally sourced ingredients only, with a focus on being allergen-free.

Watch the full interview:

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