Food Trends Q+A 2011: Carlos Baruki, InterContinental Hotels

Prevue asked Carlos Baruki, InterContinental Hotels Group’s vice preside of Sales & Marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean, his thoughts on IHG’s food trends for 2011. 

Q: How is Monaco well-suited for high value dine-arounds?
A: The Principality of Monaco boasts eight Michelin stars, a striking culinary accomplishment for such a petite state. Meeting and incentive participants can enjoy the cuisine of world-renowned chefs such as Joël Robuchon, with two restaurants at the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo, and Alain Ducasse at the Le Louis XV in the Hôtel de Paris and his newest venture, an Italian Trattoria. A relative newcomer to Monaco is Patrick Raingeard, Executive Chef at Restaurant Mandarine at the Port Palace Hotel, who caters to palates seeking contemporary, light, seasonal cuisine and creative tasting experiences.

Q: What are some exciting cultural venues often used for group dining events?
A: Monaco offers a variety of unique cultural venues such as the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, the Casino de Monte-Carlo and the famous Oceanographic Museum founded by Prince Albert I. Known for its prestigious setting, famous aquarium, historic collections and themed exhibitions, the Museum was headed for many years by Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

The Empire Room at the Hôtel de Paris and the Belle Époque Room at the Hôtel Hermitage are masterpieces of art and architecture from the turn of the century. For traditional Monégasque dishes, Monaco’s Old Town offers quaint restaurants with authentic local cuisine.

Q: What are a few of the destination’s signature WOW group dining experiences?
A: Monaco offers exceptional venues with some of the Côte d’Azur’s most breathtaking views and unparalleled prestigious settings. The Casino de Monte-Carlo and Opera House, designed by Charles Garnier in 1878 and home to such artistic giants as Matisse and Picasso, is one of the most famous and beautiful buildings in the world. The Salle Des Etoiles at the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club is a spectacular venue featuring illuminated arches, huge bay windows and a sliding roof. The Horizon Deck on the 7th floor of the Fairmont Monte Carlo offers astonishing views of the Mediterranean and Casino. The Prince’s Private Collection of Antique Cars includes almost 100 remarkable vintage vehicles.

Q: What might planners be surprised to learn about the group dining options?
A: In addition to a rich culinary heritage and legendary venues, the Principality of Monaco offers hip and modern options for a younger crowd. The Black Legend is a restaurant, bar, lounge and nightclub. It offers a musical atmosphere with live Motown-style musical entertainment and a fusion of American and Mediterranean cuisine. Zest, located along Monaco’s famous harbor, features a caviar bar and live music lounge with decor that combines Baroque and modern styles.

The new Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo located in the left wing of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, features a Zen-like ambiance, sensuous music compiled by a talented DJ and innovative cuisine combining subtle Asian and fine French flavors. Accompanied by a glass of Monaco’s national drink… Champagne, of course!