Thursday, 7 May 2020

Meet Patricia Yeo, Celebrated Head Chef of Maslina Resort on Hvar

May 7, 2020 - Maslina Resort is a five-star boutique hotel, slated to open this summer in Maslinica Bay on the island of Hvar, just minutes away from the UNESCO-protected Stari Grad.

As Maslina Resort gears up for its summer opening in Maslinica Bay on the island of Hvar, it is actively recruiting to craft the ideal team. 

With a mission to honor the UNESCO-protected Mediterranean diet on the island, the Wine & Dine department at Maslina Resort is of crucial importance - and perhaps the most prominent character to the puzzle is pronouncing the perfect chef - Patricia Yeo. 

By fusing elements of an international upbringing that took her from Malaysia to England to the United States, with a precision that she honed as a trained scientist, Patricia Yeo has been celebrated for her unique cuisine ever since her first restaurant, AZ, opened in 1999. The favorite of The New York Times also received two Michelin stars in 2002. 

But the accolades didn’t stop here. After AZ, Yeo received three New York Times stars for a Mediterranean concept Pazo in 2004, and in 2008, two New York Times stars for a French-Vietnamese restaurant Sapa, all while consulting and launching projects in Boston. 

After over twenty years in fine dining in Manhattan, Yeo explored a more corporate role in national and international restaurant groups, and her culinary prowess was pivotal in restaurants within hotels in Las Vegas, the Caribbean, London and Singapore. Hooked by the luxury travel bug, Yeo roamed to remote and exotic locations around the world, from stints in Oman and Turkey with Six Senses to Shina Mani Wild in the jungles of Cambodia while overseeing food and beverage services at Shinta Mani and Treeline in Siem Reap.

Promising to balance traditional and innovative techniques, and local and international culinary styles, Patricia Yeo is the ideal candidate to lead the culinary team at Maslina Resort. TCN met up with Patricia to learn more about her role in the new luxury resort. 

1V7A0557.jpg

Nataly Lee

First, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to being head chef at Maslina Resort?

I am culturally confused; I'm of Chinese ancestry born in Malaysia, raised in the UK and the US. I’ve also lived for extended periods in five other countries.  All this traveling is a real advantage culinarily.  

I was browsing LinkedIn and saw a post for the chef position at Maslina, I usually would not respond, but on a lark, I sent Zoran a note, he responded in 2 hours, and two weeks later I was moving to Croatia.  

How would you explain your culinary philosophy? 

I think my food is very much ingredient-based. Use the best ingredients and treat them with respect. This means using meats that are ethically grown and killed humanely, using the whole animal not just the prime cuts, fish that is locally and preferably line caught (i.e., not trawled with large nets which catch fish indiscriminately trapping young breeding fish interrupting the live cycle), produce that is locally grown and in season. This means I do a lot of preserving, whether it is pickling, curing, jamming, dehydrating. It allows me to use cherries in December because I brandied it in June.  

How will this philosophy integrate into the cuisine at Maslina Resort?

Part of the reason I am so excited to be at Maslina, is because it is a prolific growing region with a great variety of fish and game. I have gone foraging with a local lady who is an ethnobotanist, and there are so many wild plants and herbs that are edible. Having the ability to use local, foraged ingredients is such a treat. I can’t wait for the mushroom season this fall. As someone who is inspired by ingredients I am in heaven, nothing inspires and excites more than picking perfect kumquats from a fruit-laden bush or watching figs ripen on a tree down the street. Really, everywhere one walks on Hvar, there are sights and smells that inspire, rosemary, pine, wild sage, briny sea breeze, lemon blossom. It is fabulous.  

How will you implement local producers and suppliers?

We are fortunate at Maslina to have a great organic garden that is in a sheltered bay with lots of light, water, and well protected from the winds.  Mario, our fabulous head gardener, will be able to grow a lot of herbs and soft greens for the kitchen. We are also going to work with a number of farmers from the Stari Grad Plains, and in some cases, they will grow specialty products for us and in others, we will simply use what they normally grow.  We have made really good contacts from local goat cheese producers to beekeepers for honey and wax to fishermen. Because of the style of the menu (which will change daily, we are able to work with whatever ingredient they bring us. It is a more organic way of cooking, letting the ingredients dictate what we cook rather than having a menu dictate the ingredients we use. It is also a lot more fun.

1V7A0623.jpg

Nataly Lee

What would you name as the key differences between working in a hotel or resort and a standalone restaurant?

The main difference is not the work in the kitchen, by that, I mean the cooking and production of good food are the same in both cases. The difference is the financial aspect of the business. As a chef of a standalone restaurant (especially if you are also the owner), there is a constant worry about making enough to pay the bills. In a resort or hotel, one of the most expensive fixed cost is eliminated. Rent usually takes up as much as 40% of a restaurant’s revenue, so with not paying rent, you are already ahead of the game.

From a Food & Beverage perspective, what is required to operate in a luxury resort? 

Producing good food, whether it is in a luxury resort, a fine dining restaurant or even in your home kitchen, is the same, I think. You need to care about what you are doing; you need to be flexible and adapt to the needs and desires of your guest, you need to create a great environment for your guests to enjoy the meal. Luxury means different things to different people.  Luxury, for me, means having a choice, be it caviar and champagne or a grilled cheese sandwich. Our goal is to provide this choice. 

Has the island of Hvar and Croatia been able to provide everything you need so far?

It has been fabulous, not just in terms of cuisine but also in terms of a wonderfully beautiful place to live. The people in Stari Grad have been so warm and welcoming. They are so willing to share recipes, cooking techniques, local knowledge of ingredients.  

What are you looking forward to most about running the kitchen at Maslina Resort? And about being in Croatia?

One of the first things I am going to do once I can get into the kitchen at Maslina is cooking for my co-workers, who have become my family in Croatia. There is nothing better than cooking for the people you love.

1V7A0541.jpg

Nataly Lee

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Maslina Resort Introduces Health and Safety Leader for Life After Corona

April 23, 2020 - Maslina Resort is a five-star boutique hotel, slated to open this year in Maslinica Bay on the island of Hvar, just minutes away from the UNESCO-protected Stari Grad.

While health and safety should always be at the forefront of the hospitality industry, in the corona era, this has never been more true. 

Thus, a new luxury resort on Hvar Island is getting ahead of the game by introducing a Health & Safety Leader to their team just in time for its opening this year. 

Job ads Maslina LinkedIn Health.jpg

TCN caught up with the Communication Specialist of Maslina Resort, Matko Kovacevic, to learn more.

What inspired you to implement the Health & Safety Leader position into the Maslina Resort team?

It all started with defining our concept of Mindful Luxury, which concentrates on wellbeing in the broadest sense possible. This includes acting mindfully towards our guests, our employees, the local community, and our beautiful planet. Health and safety are naturally one of the first prerequisites for wellbeing. The widespread corona crisis that is permanently changing the world as we know it further validated our approach and reaffirmed our commitment towards wellbeing, health, and safety. The trend of wellness and health-related luxury travel had been growing steadily for years, and, in the post-corona world, there will be even greater demand and emphasis on health, safety, and security aspects of travel. Undeniably, there are emerging health-related challenges and opportunities for the hospitality sector and the ones who manage it correctly will be the winners of the new era of travel. The world and the hospitality industry is changing, and we cannot take the risk to stand still or wait for another crisis to happen. We want to lead the way.

What experience will you look for when hiring the Health & Safety Leader?

This is a very good question that doesn't have a simple answer. That is, in a way, because we are basically inventing this position, at least in this context. There are no best practices to look for. The world is in a novel situation, which gives us a chance to create some new benchmarks in the hospitality industry. This is why we are approaching it with a blank drawing board, the desired outcome, and some basic common sense. We always like to say that when recruiting, we're looking for authenticity, common sense, and high openness towards new experiences. Obviously, some kind of a health and safety-related background and basic knowledge of the hospitality industry would be some experiences that we are looking for for this position. However, equally important is the alignment with our hospitality philosophy.

What is the role description of the Health & Safety Leader?

In one sentence, the Health & Safety Leader will be responsible for implementing health, safety, and risk management processes to ensure that guests receive the highest standard of service and hospitality in a safe and secure environment. We are open to discuss and consider different procedures and measures that would contribute to achieving that ultimate goal.

What are the tasks of the Health & Safety Leader?

The main responsibility of the Health & Safety Leader is to establish and implement health and safety-related procedures in the hotel. Staff training is another area that is under the responsibility of this position, as well as initiating various design and operations recommendations in line with the health and safety procedures. Moreover, this person needs to establish communication channels with governmental bodies, healthcare officials, and the local community to stay on top of all the related requirements, measures, and expectations. Crisis response planning is yet another important area of responsibility.

How does this new position fit into the Maslina Resort philosophy of Mindful Luxury?

It fits perfectly! Mindful Luxury draws inspiration on the rich cultural, natural, as well as the therapeutic heritage of Hvar Island. I'm not sure how many people are aware that the first organized tourism in Europe came into being right here on Hvar Island with the founding of the Hvar Health Society on May 15, 1868. Back then, Hvar was recognized as a health sanitarium, basing its tourism on health and recuperation, rather than historical sites or hip parties. This is something that we want to put back in the limelight with our commitment to wellbeing and mindful luxury. This concept has many layers, from a natural, low-impact architecture and design, to using organic linens, offering produce from our organic garden, producing locally inspired and organic in-room guest amenities and spa cosmetics, and minimizing the use of single-use plastic. We believe that our guests should experience high-end hospitality that is authentic, sincere, respectful, and adventurous. Mindful Luxury is the alchemy between intimate yet professional and wholehearted service, engaged leadership, and authentic and transformative experiences. Not just for guests, but for everyone involved, from employees to the local community.
 
To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.
 
Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Maslina Resort Open Day Gets Hvar Island Excited About Summer Opening

March 3, 2020 - Maslina Resort held its first Open Day on Saturday at the Stari Grad Theatre Hall. 

With a new tourist season soon approaching, it’s safe to say you’ve heard a thing or a two about some of the newcomers to the scene this summer, like Maslina Resort on Hvar island.

Slated to open this June in Maslinica Bay, just a short skip away from the 2400-year-old town of Stari Grad, Maslina Resort is a five-star, boutique hotel that thrives off the philosophy of ‘Mindful Luxury’ - fusing high-end hospitality with chic interiors and respect to the environment, all while ensuring guests an authentic experience of Hvar island.

There is quite a bit to share about this soon-to-be haven of Hvar island, like how it implemented low-impact architectural design and is using all-natural materials to honor the island environment already in place, or that the hotel will be energy efficient and use homegrown herbs and spices from their organic garden in guest's dining and wellness experiences. But that's not even half of it.

Thus, while the hotel is still under construction, the Maslina Resort team invited Hvar island inhabitants to learn more about the project during an ‘Open Day’ event, held at the Stari Grad Theater Hall last weekend. 

In a business-to-consumer style ambiance, curious visitors were given a chance to sit face-to-face with members of the Maslina Resort team to understand what the project is about through an animated presentation, ask their biting questions, present their resumes, or offer their locally-made products to be used within the resort. 

A staggering 200+ visitors were counted in Stari Grad on Saturday morning, which is more than the Star Wars screening in the town!

Islanders young and old showed interest in the careers available at Maslina Resort, while an incredible number of locals presented their products, from lavender salt, infused olive oils and wine to essential oils, perfumes, bath salts, and aromatherapy sachets. 

IMG_0618.jpg

IMG_0622.jpg

IMG_0623.jpg

As a thank you, visitors were greeted with the Stari Grad treat, or 'paprenjak' honey and black pepper biscuits decorated with the Maslina logo.

If you missed Maslina's first Open Day event, stay tuned for another chance (or two) to catch them this spring. 

To stay in the loop about Maslina Resort, you can follow the official Facebook page for the latest updates. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Learn More About Maslina Resort this Saturday in Stari Grad

February 24, 2020 - Learn more about Maslina Resort this Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the Stari Grad Theater Hall.

Maslina Resort is a full service, luxury five-star seaside boutique hotel, overlooking the scenic Maslinica Bay on Hvar island. Slated to open this June, the Maslina Resort team is hosting an Open Day in Stari Grad this weekend, welcoming anyone curious to learn more about the project. 

Maslina_resort_poster.jpg

So, if you want to learn more about what's going on in Maslinica Bay, are interested in joining the Maslina Resort team, or have a product or service you think would be useful for Maslina Resort, join the team for an informal get-together this Saturday, February 29, from 09:00 to 13:00 at the Stari Grad Theater Hall.

Stay in the loop about everything happening at Maslina Resort by following their Facebook page

To read more about everything happening on Hvar island, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Search

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
More information Ok