Mojito flavoured Macaroons? It must be Grifco’s Annual Press Day!

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We love it when the August Grifco press day comes around as it means a chance for journalists to come and meet with the team and find out all about our clients’ latest news and updates. This year, our press day was held at the beautiful Conrad St. James hotel, which was the perfect venue for journalists to pop in and say hello throughout the day!

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For those that needed a little extra pampering after an early start or long day, we had a ELEMIS spa area where some of the latest ELEMIS treatments and products were showcased.

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Our Junior Account Executive Cecile, captured all the action on the day whilst Conrad St.James provided us with fresh pastries and delicious afternoon sweet treats, including mojito-infused macaroons, mini chocolate ice cream cones and tequila sunrise jelly cocktails. Terrible for the diet but that didn’t stop us all loading up our plates!

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Grifco team members, Nicole and Nadia having a lovely catch up with writer Rod Gilchrist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To top it all off every journalist went home with a gift bag full to the brim with goodies…bottles of wine, olive oil, flip flops and enough beauty treats to fill their whole bathroom cupboard, kindly donated by our lovely clients.

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We always receive great feedback with many leads for clients following press day. Take a look at our twitter and Instagram feeds, which were buzzing with journalists sharing their favourite parts of the press day:

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…and after a hugely successful turn out, the Grifco team have gone to rest their weary feet – until next year! Big thanks to everyone who attended on the day.

 

A Garden Party To Remember – Happy 50th Birthday, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Last week, Grifco travelled to Rome to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the much-loved Rome Cavalieri, the gorgeous Waldorf Astoria property that sits proudly atop leafy Monte Mario overlooking the city.

Since opening in the Mad-Men era of 1963, the hotel has been a favourite amongst glamorous locals, international celebrities, high flying business people and discerning luxury travellers. A true beacon for La Dolce Vita, last week the hotel’s Mediterranean gardens were transformed into the setting for one of Rome’s hottest parties of the year.

We were lucky enough to get an invite so we packed our party dress and heels and took the first flight out to Fiumicino.

The setting for the party took shape under the Roman sunshine…making the most of the beautiful gardens, the event was centred around the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool.

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As dusk fell, the gardens and pool were dramatically lit and atmospheric images inspired by the decadence and romance of La Dolce Vita were projected on to a huge screen. There were some amazing dresses spotted on the orange carpet, and the gents looked dapper, suited and booted. Serge Ethuin, Managing Director of the hotel greeted over 450 guests personally together with John Vanderslice, Global Head of Luxury Brands, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

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Amazingly, Heinz Beck, the celebrated 3 Michelin-starred Chef at the hotel’s La Pergola restaurant, created ALL of the food for the party, treating guests to a Michelin standard feast to remember. Delicious morsels were paired exquisitely with a selection of Italy’s top 50 wines, served by the Italian Sommelier Association. Rumour has it that Beck created 20,000 plates of food on the evening! We joined him for a drink after the party and he seemed incredibly relaxed after that culinary feat. It’s his 50th birthday later this year too – wonder if he’s going to be celebrating in similar style?!

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Another treat, this time for the eyes rather than the taste buds, was a performance by Italy’s female Olympic synchronised swimming team. Ahead of competing in Barcelona this week the team performed two exciting routines at the party much to guests’ delight. Dressed in eye-catching super glam costumes, the ladies’ performance was gravity and oxygen defying!

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The evening ended with a beautiful fireworks display…

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And an incredible chocolate “birthday cake” by Heinz Beck, which appeared poolside at the end of the night to much fanfare amid queues of eager party-goers keen to sample the master-chef’s creation.

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We wish our birthdays involved a cake that needs multiple people to transport!

Thank you to Rome Cavalieri and to Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts for hosting an unforgettable party.

 www.romecavalieri.com

www.waldorfastoria.com

An Andaz Liverpool Street Birthday Party By Bompas and Parr

Grifco recently had the pleasure of celebrating Andaz Liverpool Street’s 5th birthday in serious style.

flyer_front_1_resizedAndaz Liverpool Street teamed up with Bompas and Parr to create an unforgettable evening celebrating the past, present, and future of food in honour of Andaz’s 5th birthday. The evening started in Andaz’s 1901 restaurant, where the birthday party guests mingled…

IMG_6199_1901… and sampled the dangerously delicious elderflower liqueur cocktail, which was served out of a silver cauldron.

IMG_6198_1901Guests were then treated to specially designed scallop, salmon, tomato jelly, and cucumber sauce appetizer – Bompas and Parr’s take on a modern day culinary treat.

IMG_6205_1901The birthday party then went back in time to the year of 1913 in Andaz’s secret Masonic Temple, which was illuminated with candles – the perfect setting for an extraordinary event.

IMG_3735Guests feasted on aged sirloin, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, various side dishes, and a delicious 2005 Rioja Reserve from Luis Cañas, Spain.

IMG_3793For the final course, guests headed to the future in Andaz’s studio, where the Galaxy of Puddings were served on an eye-catching liquid table.

IMG_6235Apparently liquid tables will be a popular dinner party staple in the future – it certainly was an out of this world dinner setting and a great conversation starter!

IMG_6223Instead of a traditional birthday cake, guests sampled Nebular Jellies, Binary Macaroon, Passion Fruit and Sour Candy, Minted Absinthe, Rubix Fruit Salad with Pipette Syrups and much more.

IMG_6215We cannot wait to try further exciting and yummy futuristic edibles – especially more of these highly addictive Petit Fours Pills.

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By the end of the evening, we were full, merry, and exhausted from laughing so much. Happy birthday Andaz Liverpool Street – we loved every minute of your outstanding culinary adventure of past, present, and future, curated by Bompas and Parr!

menuTo book dinner at Andaz, visit andazdining.com or visit the Andaz website.

World Travel Market, 5th – 8th November 2012

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, at London’s ExCel Exhibition Centre. The event is a fantastic opportunity to showcase a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and international travel professionals; where people can network and conduct business with the global travel trade.

During my three days at WTM, I came across a mixture of lively and interesting people from all over the world, each offering very different opportunities and experiences. In total, there were nearly 5,000 exhibitors at the event. I was impressed and humbled to see such an enormous coming together of so many countries in one space, given the world today and its many conflicts.

My first two days at WTM were spent working on the Hyatt Hotels stand where I met Andrew Ashmore, the Vice President of Global Sales EAME (pictured below far right with Karen Roberts, Sales Executive for Leisure Travel). Joining Andrew and Karen in the photo are Adi Sidhwa, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Grand Hyatt Erawan (far left), and Stephen Radcliffe (middle left), General Manager at Bali Hyatt.

There were a number of other Hyatt general managers from around the world who I spoke to at length about future Hyatt events and projects, including Patrik Bayardo from the recently opened Andaz Amsterdam. Here he is, showing us the November issue of Hyatt Life:

Next door to the Hyatt stand was Qatar Airways who were offering tea and pastries to visitors, as well as a chance to meet their resident falcon, for all the bird lovers!

 

Which I made friends with too!

On my third day at WTM, I met the lovely Wilderness Safaris team who had flown over especially from South Africa for the event. I spoke with various members of the team, including Tracy Bamber, Kim Nixon, Outi Bourke, Grant Woodrow, and Bruce Simpson. Unfortunately, my mobile ran out of battery before I could get a proper picture of them all, but I did manage to sneak a pic of some of their amazing local art.

I also had the chance to meet some other special characters who had flown in from Kenya for the event.

During my spare time, I was able to explore the ExCel centre in its entirety with my round-the-world ticket. My tour began in Slovakia, where I came across a woman selling some eccentric-looking hats – Ascot next year maybe?

WTM is exhausting, so when I started feeling a bit peckish, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some kind ladies from Torún, Poland, who offered me some local gingerbread they were making:

After fuelling up nicely, I continued on my travels where I soon received a cheery welcome from a bunch of Israeli musicians.

After all that dancing with my new Israeli friends, I needed some time to relax, so I headed to the Islas Canarias…

…where I was joined by my good friends Antonio Banderas…

 

…and Barack Obama!

Once I was fully recharged again, I packed my bags and caught a train from Italy…

…to India, where on arrival I was greeted by my new friends…

…only to be waved off shortly again afterwards as I headed on towards…

But I couldn’t stay long there as I had to meet my friends for tea in Bhutan…

…and then make my way to Vietnam to pick up some pretty souvenirs…

 …followed by a quick stop via Japan.

Suddenly I realised it was getting late and I should be heading home soon. So, after grabbing a quick re-energising cup of Colombian coffee…

…I jumped in a boat from Costa Rica…

…and headed up to El Savador to say goodbye to my new friend Pedro…

…and borrow his Formula 1 car…

…which I drove all the way up to my final destination…

A few cocktails later, I finally hopped in a black cab back to London, exhausted after having experienced the trip of a lifetime!

WTM is an amazing opportunity to meet various cultures and peoples from around the world. For those of you who have never been before, I strongly recommend visiting next year’s event. For a chance to travel around the world, visit WTM – no passport needed!

Who knew that Beetroot could be so delicious?

Every job has its perks and as a foodie, being invited to an exclusive dinner hosted by Tom Aikens (headlining act of the London restaurant scene and the youngest chef ever to be awarded two Michelin stars don’t you know), was not only the highlight of my week…but my month! 

Tom Aikens

On behalf of Beachcomber Hotels and Tom Aikens, I was fortunate enough to experience some of Tom’s innovative, creative dishes at one of his stunning restaurants in Chelsea, London. The event was to launch the series of one-off Master Classes Tom will be presenting at the prestigious Beachcomber Royal Palm in Mauritius. For three days only, in March 2013 guests will be able to partake in these classes but also enjoy sit down, private four-course dinners cooked by the celebrity chef over these three nights. 

Tom Aikens Restaurant

To Start: The night began with Jasmine cured salmon with viola flowers, pickled apple & jasmine oil. The combination of the salmon and viola flowers was something completely new to me. It was light, fresh and the salmon… simply ‘melt in your mouth’ delicious. The other guests and I agreed this dish presented to you in Mauritius, on a warm tropical evening with the waves gently crashing ashore would be magical. However, as it was drizzling outside we had to come back to reality. Our main course sounded perfect for the cold British weather. 

Main: After reading the main on the menu, Piglet belly, braised & then roasted with squid & pineapple, I was slightly dubious. I have had both pork belly and squid however never together. As I now know, the two complement each other hugely and it was absolutely delicious, the best piglet belly I had experienced. The small cubes of pork meant it wasn’t too overwhelming and I took my time to enjoy the flavours.

 I wasn’t prepared though for the pudding…

Pudding: The diners at the table quietly told their neighbour that beetroot ‘wasn’t really their thing’. I agreed…to me it tastes a little too earthy… but Tom created something that can only be described as utterly unusual and utterly….flamboyant, ‘Candied Beetroot, yoghurt parfait, sweetened beets and port syrup’.

From beetroot meringue to beetroot sorbet each little beetroot delight was so different from the next… how can you make one vegetable into a desert and create quite so many things from it? (Read this fantastic analysis on Tom’s well known beetroot dessert…http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/09/27/plate-deconstruction-tom-aikens-restaurants-candie

The Tom Aikens Master Classes will take place at Royal Palm, Mauritius between 25th-27th March 2013 and will include:

•           Two morning master classes with Tom Aikens

•           Champagne on the beach with a joint demonstration of Mauritian cuisine hosted by Tom Aikens and Michel de Matteis

•           Three Four-Course Dinners cooked by Tom Aikens each evening

Dedicated to serving ethically sourced, seasonal ingredients of the highest quality, Tom will be working with the Royal Palm and the island’s local suppliers to re-craft his acclaimed signature dishes and give them a Mauritian-inspired twist.

All for just £150 per participant.  Non-cooking partners are welcome at the evening dinners for no additional charge.

For more information on Beachcomber Hotels visit www.beachcombertours.co.uk visit and for Royal Palm see www.royalpalm-hotel.com.

The X Factor At Anse Chastanet, St Lucia

Did you spot the hotel resort in tonight’s episode of X Factor? Tulisa Contostavlos, and her entourage chose to film and scrutinise her contestant’s vocal talent in style at the gorgeous Anse Chastanet, St Lucia. We spoke with Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet owner, Karolin Troubetzkoy, who gave us the exclusive insight into Tulisa and the X Factor’s experience filming at Anse Chastanet.

“When you’re holidaying at Jade Mountain St Lucia, things tend to be pretty quiet as everyone is either relaxing in their infinity pool, exploring the ocean floor, scuba diving, zip lining, mountain biking, or experiencing a variety of other activities. So when guests heard a squeal of excitement break the calm serenity of the resort, there was a huge temptation to peer through sanctuary doors to see what all the commotion was about. There in front of the resort was Tulisa and her entourage.”  Had X Factor really come to Anse Chastanet? Guests holidays suddenly were all about keeping up with the goings on of the X Factor!

THE DIARY

Day 1

Several lucky guests had dinner at Trou au Diable, the delicious beach restaurant at Anse Chastanet, where they sat next to the judges. The contestants were off to bed early after dinner whilst guests danced away into the night at Anse Chastanet as the local steel band continued to entertain into the wee hours.

Day 2

Guests could see the camera crew filming Tulisa crossing the bridge into her sanctuary as the contestants were being filmed walking up and down the beach. In the afternoon the contestants had more hard work ahead of them as the judges were dispatched off on a half day yacht cruise around the glorious Pitons.

Day 3

Everyone had had a great time down at the beach with standing room only in the beachbar! On the way to breakfast guests were serenaded by the contestants as they warmed up (singing that is). And hey, there was a new face at breakfast: Dermot O’Leary arrived! But we couldn’t hang around… Zip wiring, diving and spa treatments await!

For the faint hearted that want to appear ‘warrior brave’– the Zip Wire at Morne Coubaril Estate is just the ticket, picturesque with views over the Pitons, Mount Gimie (highest peak in St Lucia at just over 3,000 ft), lush rainforest and water traps.

A return to Jade Mountain and X Factor was in full swing as contestants; one by one nervously climb the steps to the Jade Mountain Club and eventually up to the Celestial Terrace for the make or break moment.

Day 4

The crew we hear were up for a 3am breakfast – the last day and results day – a real dilemma for us – half want to go to the beach and half want to see who’s got through – eventually some sort of compromise is reached: for the first 4 hours we stay indoors sneaking a peak and  the last 2 we head down to the beach from our top floor sanctuary while still occasionally craning our necks for a view. So there it is we’ve seen it: 2 are clearly through, 2 are inconsolable and in true X Factor fashion 2 wouldn’t tell! By 1.30pm it’s all over and they’re on their way back to the airport. Later we catch up with the gossip – some of which must be of course is said in the old travel saying: what happens away, stays away! But now we know who really did get through and one of the unlucky ones who through floods of tears confessed her love for Anse Chastanet and promises this is where she is to be married!

So I will leave the surprise of who ended up going through to tonight’s episode, I for one will enjoy revisiting the beauty that was Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain in St Lucia.

A Private View: Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street

“A preview of Prism Cabinet in the Masonic Temple at Andaz Liverpool Street”…the beautifully designed invitation sounded mysterious…intriguing…unmissable!

After practising our secret handshakes, and joined by press including Dezeen, Sunday Times Style, Wallpaper, Shortlist and InStyle, the Grifco team headed along to an exclusive preview of Prism Cabinet, a satellite installation of Veuve Clicquot Prism at the V&A, a must-see highlight of the 2012 London Design Festival programme. Held in the Masonic Temple at Andaz Liverpool Street, which was dramatically candlelit for the occasion, the event kicked off LDF 2012 perfectly last week. We mingled with a hip design and media crowd over chilled Veuve Cliquot and admired the striking piece in the inspiring surroundings until late.

On show in the Temple last Thursday evening before being moved to its LDF location in the Andaz Lounge, Prism Cabinet for Veuve Clicquot and Andaz Liverpool Street has been developed and constructed by designers Studio Swine and Keiichi Matsuda, who held an enlightening Q&A with journalist Marie Le Fort at the event on the 13th.

A beautifully designed wooden cabinet opens its doors to reveal its “augmented contents” – a glowing hologram, linked to Veuve Clicquot Prism at the V&A. Appearing as a giant suspended iceberg set into the V&A’s uppermost cupola, the sculpture is lit up like a lantern, displaying live data flows on different aspects of the installation via internal projectors. Data such as the number of Boris bikes in use from a certain docking point, to the amount of electricity used by Number 10, has an effect on the visual appearance of the Prism.

After checking out Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street, we are definitely hot-footing it down to the V&A to see the Prism in the flesh! Be warned though – tickets are selling out fast.

Intrigued, but missed out on tickets to the V&A installation? You can still admire the Prism, through Prism Cabinet at Andaz Liverpool Street, which is open to all.

www.andaz.com

An Evening With Park Hyatt

After months of preparation, canapé deliberation and champagne tasting, all was in place and the much anticipated Park Hyatt Event was finally upon us. Last night we were pleased to welcome 29 General Managers from Park Hyatt hotels across the globe, as well as a host of special guests, including Britain’s finest travel writers, Elle McPherson, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, Lisa Maxwell and Alice Beer, for an exquisite evening held at the esteemed HamiltonsGallery in Mayfair.

As a fond follower of the Park Hyatt brand, gallery owner Tim Jefferies kindly opened his doors for this exclusive event, adorning walls with an especially curated collection of artworks including iconic pieces such as Irving Penn’s Cigarettes, Richard Avedon’s Dovima With Elephants and Helmut Newton’s photograph of Elsa Peretti in a bunny costume.

With a strong emphasis on art at the heart of the Park Hyatt brand, Hamiltonswas the perfect location for this special occasion providing an elegant and sophisticated back drop for a perfect evening.

Throughout the event Billecart- Salmon Brut Rose and Blanc de Blanc Brut champagne flowed as guests and General Managers mingled; many holidays were planned, honeymoons inspired and a couple of elaborate PR ideas were born…watch this space!

Chef, Jean Francois Rouquette from Park Hyatt Paris- Vendome and Chef Andrea Aprea from Park Hyatt Milan flew over to London for the event representing Park Hyatt chefs from around the world with a recipe book of delicious canapés created and collated especially for the event offering ‘Kamchatka Crab Bruschettafrom Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow; ‘Foie Gras Lolliops, Grapes Gelee and Yoghurt Flakes’ from Park Hyatt Paris Vendome; ‘Yuzu Marinated Salmon’ from Park Hyatt Tokyo; ‘Beef Tartare with Quail Egg and Summer Truffle’ from the Park Hyatt Milan and to finish a delectable ‘Chocolate Crème with Carrot- Orange Jelly and White Chocolate Crumble’ from the Park Hyatt Zurich. Needless to say there was not a leftover in sight!

As the evening came to an end, guests began to leave in a champagne haze dreaming of their next Park Hyatt holiday and clutching their goody bags containing a beautiful box of gift certificates, kindly donated by the Park Hyatt General Managers, exclusively for the evening’s guests.

My feet may still be throbbing from wearing 6 inch stilettos but it was worth it!!