In Part 1 of ‘Food Trends in China’, we saw that for at least many of the five-star hotels in China, you can rest assured that they take food issues seriously in China. Just to double check on this issue, Hotel Intel.co dug a little further to see how individual food professionals go about sourcing their food.
Where do chefs go food shopping?
‘*As a former executive chef, I can tell you that chefs are looking for stories. A connection not only to the quality of the ingredient but to the person who produces it. Passionate chefs look for passionate suppliers. They need people who care about food and not just profits. *
*We look for care and an unwavering commitment to excellence. This has nothing to do with the size of the business. It is often the small farmer or the artisanal product producer who truly understands our point of view. *
Local farmers markets and community product markets are a great place to meet such people and form lasting business partnerships’ said,.’Hector Pliego, Director of Food & Beverage at the JW Marriott Beijing Central commented.
Chefs usually like to explore local markets and organic farms to source their supplies. Quite often when it comes to meat and fish they would go for trusted suppliers that can guarantee safety regulation compliance like Carrefour and Walmart.
Kevin Thomson Executive Chef for both JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Central Place mentioned that he personally likes to support local farmers and vendors
‘I like to buy locally to support the local farmers and vendors whenever possible, especially from organic farms. I always look for sustainable fish to purchase’
Executive Chinese Chef at Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing,Leo Li added*:*
‘For seafood, I go to the Jingshen seafood market located in Fengtai district’ added
What challenges do chefs face in sourcing ingredients in China?
Finding trusted suppliers seems to be one of the main challenges tha hotel F&B executives face.
‘You have to work around the challenges that you face. Always buy seasonal products, visit the markets then adapt your menu accordingly to what you find. Yes it can be challenging’ said Kevin Thomson.
Hector from the JW Marriott Beijing Central concurs.
‘Probably the biggest challenge is being able to trust our vendors to ensure that whatever product attributes they claim are legitimate and not just marketing buzz. We spend a tremendous amount of time and effort corroborating that what the supplier promises is actually true’
What is the solution when finding trusted suppliers?
Leo Li sums it up:
‘*The solution is to have a very good relationship with your purchasing department to ensure they find the best ingredients available. Furthermore, every day you must double-check the ingredients. It’s about constant vigilance. You can’t let your guard down for one instant’’ *
It is often difficult to separate fact from myth when it comes to China, its economic growth and health and safety issues. From our research, it is good to see that as China opens up and increasingly caters to international markets, there are people taking the issues of quality control, health and safety seriously and implementing them in their businesses across China..