Paolo Randone has recently been appointed as Executive Assistant Manager, Food and Beverage, at Singapore’s iconic Raffles Hotel. With extensive experience in the industry, including many years in Jakarta – he was part of the team that brought the legendary Zigolinis to the city at the Mandarin in the 1990s – he was recently involved in developing the fast expanding creative restaurant concepts at Deliciae Hospitality Management in Singapore. We caught up with him over lunch at The Raffles Grill to ask him about his new appointment.
What is it like to be working in a five-star hotel environment again after your experience building new restaurant concepts at Delicae?
It’s a fantastic feeling to be working at Raffles. It’s a very different environment of course but Raffles is a very special hotel so I’m very excited about the new challenge.
How does Raffles differ from other hotels you have worked for?
Well you cannot compare Raffles to other hotels I have worked at because Raffles is more than just a hotel, it’s an institution, a historical monument to the style and romance of travel in the past, which still delivers an extraordinary experience to visitors now in the 21st century.
What are the main challenges that lie ahead?
I think we need to change the public perspective on the hotel. Everybody knows about Raffles and has maybe visited once in the past to look at the architecture but they are not necessary aware of the amazing quality we have here at our restaurants. Take the Raffles Grill here for instance, our chef Mikael Calvez is doing amazing things in the kitchen at very competitive prices. Our two-course Business Lunch is just S$48, which is amazing value and not what the public might associate with the hotel .
Has Singapore got a lot to offer visitors?
Modern day Singapore is a wonderfully diverse destination to visit with more than enough attractions and points of interest to keep visitors entertained for many days. It’s not just a shopping destination so I’d encourage people to go beyond Orchard Road and dig a little deeper.
Would you encourage visitors to come back and experience the hotel again?
Yes of course, it’s not just a museum that you visit once, it’s one of the best hotels in the world, with some of the highest standards you will find anywhere. Take our Wine Director Stephane Soret – he is one of the leading authorities on wine in Asia and heads a growing team of local sommeliers he has trained in the hotel, so guests can enjoy a supreme wine experience. With over 800 labels in the hotel’s cellar, this should be the first place that wine enthusiasts visit when in Singapore. It’s one of the many surprises the hotel has to offer!
How else has the hotel surprised you?
Well the most surprising thing is the way I feel when I leave for home in the evenings. After having spent a day in the hotel’s grounds, I feel almost disorientated going out into the noise and traffic of the modern city. Being here is like an escape, a magical gateway to a time when people were less busy and spent more time enjoying their surroundings. So that’s what I would recommend, come to Raffles and spend some quality time in the hotel, enjoy the Business Lunch at Raffles Grill, the famous High Tea at The Tiffin Room or the Sunday Brunch at the Billiard Room and then relax in the grounds and let the hotel work its magic.
Final Frenzy Singapore became the first city in the Asia Pacific