People from different countries can have quite different tastes when it comes to food and drink, making it hard for many to find cuisines outside their home countries that contain their favourite flavours. But when Eduardo Frausto Cornish, Kigali Marriott Hotel’s new Executive Chef as of last month, is in charge, appetites will grow to insatiable levels.
Clad in white kitchen attire, the 41-year old master of delivering delectable delicacies reveals to IGIHE, that he is fond of Kigali, a city he has called “my city” after working in 10 countries including China, Egypt, Qatar and Oman where he previously served as Executive Chef.
“In my few days in Kigali, I have noticed that Rwanda is the most organized country I have been to. People are nice and the country is clean. In my point of view, Rwanda has the potential to become the economical centre of Africa in the coming years,” said Cornish, adding that the presence of Marriott, the best hotel chain in the world, is a clear sign that the best companies and investors are interested in the country.
Describing himself as a traveller with passion for food and service, Cornish hailed Rwandan products for their flavour and pledged Marriott Hotel will always promote and purchase local products.
“I have seen a lot of products with unbelievable quality in this country. The fruits, especially, are amazing. Rwandan pineapple, the papaya, and the tree tomato are precious products. I have never tasted better pineapple than what is here. I eat a piece of pineapple every morning when I start work. There are many opportunities to develop the local market to reach international expectations. The green banana (matooke) will be soon known by the entire world,” he said.
Cornish said that he met with local farmers and suppliers over the last two days for a collaboration that will see the hotel promote and purchase local products.
He stressed again the sweetness of Rwandan pineapple saying “I liked the Rwandan pineapple the most. Rwandans may just say it is ok, but for people from outside the country or tourists, it is highly recommended.”
Kitchen like the army
Holding a Masters Degree in Food and Beverages Management, Cornish says quality hotel services start from a good kitchen that produces quality cuisine for clients.
“I believe that the kitchen is like the army. We all depend on each other. Minimal mistakes will make the team fall down; so respect and trust is my philosophy. I respect and trust my chefs and they respect and trust me.” He noted his team should never fail to deliver to clients’ expectations.
The five-star Kigali Marriott Hotel is a subsidiary of Marriott International which is present in more than 110 countries with more than 6,000 hotels globally, according to Cornish.
He explains the hotel’s commitment for excellence and his own tastes in these interview excerpts:
IGIHE: It has always been said there is a low uptake of hotel services by Rwandans, what would be your strategy to win more clients?
Cornish: Quality. Marriott is a company that focuses on quality and people. We came to make a difference in Rwanda, lifting the standards of what a hotel means.
IGIHE: You are not alone in Rwanda’s hospitality industry, what is special about your hotel’s services to win a wider market?
Cornish: We never stop learning and performing. This is why Marriott International is the best. We came to Rwanda with high expectations to be the best hotel with quality standards. Having an international team plus local expertise will deliver great products and we will continue learning to be the best.
IGIHE: Drawing on your cuisine experience, what would you do to deliver greater customer service?
Cornish: I have worked in 10 countries and visited more than 20. My culinary experience makes me focus on the diversity and variety of culinary dishes. We will have the best Italian restaurant Cucina, where we have Chef Carmine, who has culinary experience from all around the globe. In Soko, our international dinner buffet, we have a variety of offerings such as Indian, Chinese, African, Mexican, etc. We are a brigade of chefs with experience from different countries that want to transmit the taste to our guest.
IGIHE: Drawing on your food and drinks pairing skills, what would you advise your clients about good pairing?
Cornish: We have great selections of wines that can be paired with our different food options to satisfy even the most discerning guest. We have specialized people here who guide our guests on pairings, but we always respect clients’ tastes.
IGIHE: What are the specialties to expect when dining at the Marriott?
Cornish: Our famous brochettes with piri piri aioli served with roasted potatoes. We are also focused on seafood and to serve the best dishes in Cucina.
IGIHE: What’s your stress level like and how do you unwind?
Cornish: When I stress, I work harder. I believe that stress can be managed with team work and clear objectives. However, seeing my family is what relaxes me.
IGIHE: As Cornish personally, what’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Cornish: I consider myself as a simple person. A good rib eye on the grill, fresh leaves salad with yogurt dressing and a good red wine in the company of my family is my best food and drink pairing experience.
IGIHE: Anything else do you want to share with your esteemed clients?
Cornish: We are at your service. Come and enjoy our Sunday Brunch with access to the pool at Kigali Marriott.
By Jean d’Amour Mugabo