Julian Cohen heads up F&B at Sandton Sun

{ Posted on Aug 13 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

Five-star Sandton Sun hotel in Johannesburg has appointed Julian Cohen as the new food and beverage manager. Cohen has a strong background in the hospitality industry, and is well known in the industry in his previous role as operations manager at Thai Africa Restaurants.

Cohen's career in the hospitality industry started in the mid 1970′s as a disc jockey, which lasted for 11 years in various high profile night clubs and ended as manager of the renowned downtown Johannesburg Supper Club in the late 1980′s.

In 1987, he joined Gold Reef City, managing Rosie O'Grady's and the Consolidated Saloon. In 1990 he moved to Fedics Food Services as banqueting manager.

During his eight years at Fedics, Cohen was project manager then district manager for the fine dining and outdoor catering division.

After leaving Fedics, he worked as a consultant on projects such as the opening of Wangthai restaurant in Sandton, the opening of the Saxon with Mantis Collection and the Castle Kyalami.

In 2002 Cohen joined Thai Africa Restaurants permanently as operations manager to expand the group and restaurants.

He says, "Over my years in the industry I have completed various courses with the Cape Wine Academy and Stellenbosch University. I have been privileged to spend my life working with my passions - food, wine and music."

Julian Cohen shares his views on the hospitality industry:

What have been the biggest changes you have seen in this sector?

"The public have become more discerning and they are spoilt for choice. The growth in the restaurant industry and the advent of different styles of cuisine and service have created new experiences of food and service. Overseas travel and tourism have meant that the levels of service need to improve to allow us to compete on a global scale."

What is your secret to success?

"My reputation, which has been earned over a long period in different facets including food, wine, banqueting, catering in a fast moving, ever changing leisure industry."

What has been your biggest challenge in the hospitality industry?

"Maintaining and improving the standards within the hospitality industry. The high staff turnover is particularly challenging when dealing in a frontline, guest focused and service oriented environment, due to the perception that working in this industry is not regarded as a 'profession'."

What advice do you have for anyone starting out in this industry and hoping to follow in your footsteps?

"Learn from every experience, good and bad. This is an industry that requires commitment and dedication - not for the faint-hearted. Enduring the challenges not only makes you stronger but helps you recognise success."

What F&B trends do see coming out of South Africa at the moment?

"An awareness of fresh and local has developed with the assistance of travel and foodie TV. People are looking for an experience, not just a plate of food. The time constraints of everyday living and business have created a sector for 'fast food' and this has been usurped by the 'junk food' industry. There is no reason for fast food to be junk food."

What are your goals and objectives for the Sandton Sun's F&B offerings?

"To be the preferred choice for local and international guests, measured by the number of return guests through word of mouth. To exceed expectations and create a positive and memorable experience. To motivate staff to be part of these goals ensuring growth and staff retention."

What do you believe are your strongest assets that you are bringing to the Sandton Sun?

"Experience, reputation, passion and commitment to the industry. To excel."

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