One of the highlights of my visit to Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado was dining on the exquisite creations of Executive Chef Christian Apetz. Another was getting to meet him and talk about how he creates unique F&B experiences for groups.
PREVUE: How integral to the group experience is dining at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek?
APETZ: In my opinion the group dining experience here at the resort is the single most important aspect when it comes to creating that “wow” experience for our group guests. Whether it is displaying unique sliders on snowboard and ski racks for a display piece, creating the most intimate setting with white linen and rustic wood pieces on a communal dining table on our back lawn or scooping house-made ice creams and pouring the best local microbrews created right here in Colorado for a more “adult beer float” at a reception, we try to push the envelope when engineering food and beverage experiences for our group guests. We hear all the time that we create restaurant style experiences within our banquet events.
Tell me some of the more popular F&B options for groups at Park Hyatt.
I think the most well received events we provide here are our “Personal Preference” plated dinner events. We essentially provide our existing 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill dinner menu for guests in a banquet setting. How often do groups get to feel as though the restaurant is open this evening for them alone? The dining experience in 8100 is such a pleasure for our guests, and to be able to taste the foods coming off our Open Pit Wood Fire Grill for group guests is truly an amazing experience.
Anything really unique?
Each day for our clients our chefs personally create “delighters” and deliver them to the clients at different periods throughout the day. It gives the chefs a chance to play a bit, whether making fruit pizza or homemade maple glazed “cronuts.” Our clients really enjoy having the opportunity to speak to the individuals that are directly responsible for the foods they’ve been enjoying during their events.
What do you want meeting attendees to feel after they’ve dined here?
I want them to feel personally connected to this property. So much that I want them to bring their families back for a vacation of their own so share their experiences. I want them to get to know me and know my team because when we make that personal connection with our clients they truly appreciate all of the hard work and dedication my chefs have put in to their meetings and events. When they leave here having been surprised at every breakfast, break, lunch and dinner then we’ve done our job and we can feel good knowing that our group guests will come back.
How can meeting planners help you help them create a great culinary experience here?
That’s easy! I personally work with our meeting planners to find out first in what way they feel we at the Park Hyatt can impact their guests with a positive takeaway experience. Then I work closely with my culinary team to engineer experiences that we have never done before. We thrive in “creating” experiences never before seen at this property and I always joke by saying that sometimes it places our team in an uncomfortable situation because it’s never been tested or done before here. When we all come together to put on our best we always come out on top leaving our clients completely floored! I’ve always had success playing to the strengths of my team where so many other operations feel they need to put in what they feel is missing from them. I’ve always drawn out what was already there which is why my team is so confident in all of my “dreamy engineering”!