Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

In your trav­els, what were some of your most awein­spir­ing mo­ments?

Tough ques­tion, but I’ll go with the time I vis­ited Le Méri­dien Kota Kin­a­balu. We were fas­ci­nated by the warm wel­come of the Malaysian peo­ple. The concierge or­ga­nized a unique tour for us that in­cluded a ride on the long­est zi­pline in Malaysia from is­land to is­land, lo­cal au­then­tic lunch and a mind blow­ing seafood din­ner right next to the ocean.

You’re also Le Méri­dien’s Global Mas­ter Barista. Cof­fee can be an even more per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence than cock­tails. How do you ap­peal across such a wide range of tastes?

For me, espresso is the orig­i­nal Face­book. Cof­fee is all about so­cial­iz­ing, get­ting to­gether with friends, fam­ily and col­leagues. Cof­fee is part of our day to day rou­tine and ev­ery one of us knows ex­actly how we would like to en­joy our daily cup. In­creased aware­ness about the art of grow­ing and pre­par­ing cof­fee has made the prod­uct eas­ily com­pa­ra­ble with wine.

It’s clear you’re pas­sion­ate about ex­per­i­ment­ing with new ideas while still pleas­ing your guests. Where do you find the bal­ance?

I have worked with Le Méri­dien since 2009 when I started my ca­reer at our Vi­enna ho­tel. There’s no greater plea­sure for me than tast­ing some­thing new. Even when I am not work­ing, I just love to dis­cover new trends, prod­ucts, bars or restau­rants, and ex­change ideas or sim­ply just jump be­hind my home bar and try out some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

Where do you find the in­spi­ra­tion?

My fam­ily owns a restau­rant back home in Aus­tria and whilst I was grow­ing up, I sup­ported the busi­ness along with my dad from an early age. In the be­gin­ning, I was usu­ally work­ing be­hind the bar and the best sell­ing drink on a hot Sun­day is a pint of beer. In Aus­tria it’s an art to draft a beer. No mat­ter if the restau­rant was packed, there was no chance my dad would ever serve a less than per­fect beer. I was lucky enough to learn from my dad, wit­ness­ing his pas­sion for ev­ery sin­gle de­tail. Ever since then, I al­ways knew that this was ex­actly the in­dus­try I wanted to work in and to­day I am still as pas­sion­ate as ever.

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