Kitchen parties can really only take places in homes that have decent-sized kitchens, mostly found in the Great US of A (in the gal’s experience, even the poshest Parisien pad may have genuine antiques to sit on, and Baccarat out of which to sip the Ch Pétrus, but the kitchen can well be not even big enough to swing the proverbial cat). Kitchen parties are also ideal for luxury hotels that have great behind-the-scenes culinary areas, and no-one hosts events there better than Steigenberger Hotel Berlin, run by GM Gondra Wettley – see her, in blue, in the big photo above, showing a chef-call last week.
The party, to celebrate the annual ITB, is always hosted by the lovely El Chiaty family, who own not only the massive Travco travel company but also the Steigenberger brand. Guests were welcomed by Steigenberger CEO Puneet Chhatwal – see him, in the video below, explaining his philosophy. There were drinks and canapés, and then he introduced a brilliant video made by David Keen, the Bangkok-based branding expert who really seems to impart depth, as well as experience, in what he produces. Steigenberger is German, and it is taking German professionalism and enthusiasm to the world. Steigenberger has tradition (going back to 1930) and it is also absolutely up to date, today and tomorrow.
After that, curtains were pulled back and we all trooped into what are indeed the busy production kitchens of this busy hotel. Chefs had come in from many other Steigenberger hotels, and here they were preparing, and serving. As always, the hot smoked salmon and blini production line was very popular – as always, David Keen commandeered one of the stand-up tables and, according to annual custom, I joined him there. But there were so many other delicacies to try, and the locals among the hundreds of guests seemed particularly to crave desserts. I love this party for the chance to meet up, not only with Hamed and Dora El Chiaty but their children, and with Hans Olbertz, on the Steigenberger board.
Steigenberger certainly shows lots of imagination. One year the kitchen party here in Berlin featured circus artists. An event at Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof in Frankfurt included stilt walkers, and a bed on the outside terrace where guests could relax while sipping their Schmucker Rosé Bock or 2014 Weingut Künstler Riesling Feinherb. I always look forward to a Steinberger event because, in true German style, I know they will be reliable, and then these luxury hotels add plenty of stylish surprises. Roll on the Berlin kitchen party 2017!