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I’m writing from The Moodie Report’s (sadly) temporary bureau at the magnificent Okura Hotel in Amsterdam, where the annual Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards kicks off in a few hours.
After all the stresses of last-minute event preparations and the biggest breaking news week I can remember in the history of The Moodie Report, I calmed myself en route at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 (brilliantly dressed up as the 2012 Olympic Games gateway) with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a ‘tsarina’ (lightly toasted bilini topped with crème fraiche and served with smoked salmon and Prunier Caviar) at Caviar House & Prunier’s wonderful Seafood Bar.
Caviar House is one of the great successes of airport food & beverage, an oasis of tranquility after all the stress of check-in (KLM at T4 needs a good kick in the rear end for their snail-like check-in procedures) and security (take a bow Heathrow Airport, fast, efficient and friendly – and I haven’t said that too many times before).
I was served by the lovely and friendly Paulina who was just great in terms of customer interaction (and even took my photo for the occasion) and Jose from Portugal. The quality of staff service in F&B is absolutely vital and here they’ve got it just right.
So to Amsterdam. Amsterdam Schiphol is one of the world’s great airports, bustling with people, with commercial activity, with Sense of Place. I love it here. Their food & beverage offer is one of the world’s best and the airport company is bound to be a wonderful host of FAB 2012.
Talking of hosts, F&B concessionaire HMSHost kicked off FAB 2012 in glorious style last night with one of the most amazing opening cocktail parties I have ever attended in my 25 years in this business. Delegates were whisked on to canal boats for Champagne and canapes and taken throught the beautiful waterways of Amsterdam to the lovely atmospheric Hotel Dylan for a splendidly engaging, informal ‘walking dinner’ that was a great ‘foodie’ experience.
Details will have to wait until another Blog as I have a conference to run in three hours from now. It’s set to be absolutely FAB-ulous.