F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

RSS
Cool Food Jobs

People Get Paid to Create Restaurant Soundtracks

Consultant Lori Hon judges restaurants with her ears.

read more
Cool Food Jobs

A Hotel Empire’s City and Culture Scout

Dino Michael.

Though he studied to be a lawyer, Dino Michael’s work is more befitting for a trained anthropologist. As the senior director of food and beverage concepts for Hilton, he spends about half of the year traveling the globe, absorbing cities and their cultural trends to inform the megabrand’s local food concepts: Should the hotel restaurant be a franchise? An original? Or a partnership with an established company?

When he and his team researched the concept for the Waldorf Astoria’s Amsterdam location, Michael spent two weeks in the city visiting shops, restaurants and competing hotels. He discovered that the Dutch like dining in relaxed environments and that the concept of coziness and togetherness is at the heart of their culture. This influenced the build-out of the hotel’s intimate, low-ceilinged bar, which lacks the traditional barrier separating bartender and patrons: “It’s just a talented individual making a drink,” Michael says.

Bartenders, he adds, “are always a great source of information: They always know what’s hot and what’s not.” For example, he learned from Berlin’s Soho House bartender that the local bar scene was as important as its restaurant scene in understanding Berlin and its culture.

Michael got his start carrying menus at Planet Hollywood while he was studying to be a lawyer; law school didn’t take, but the hospitality industry did. Today, he juggles three to four projects a week. “I think the pendulum is swinging back in our favor,” he says of hotel dining. “For a long time, people rejected hotels because the industry had lost its way completely. But now there’s such choice, such diversity.”

Related: Insider Guide to Berlin
10 American Artisans We Love
Awesome Products Made in America

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
How we use your email address
advertisement
Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.