During the first month in the hotel, things were not very busy as this is low/rainy season but now after the second month there have been a few weeks of full occupancy and I have a taste of how crazy it can get. I barely noticed that another month had gone by.
My major focus this month has been doing some menu revisions and putting together a Pick up Chart for the service team. My wine course came in very handy for this. I had an entire a la carte menu, an extensive wine list, pictures and an ingredients list to work with. It took some long hours of consideration and much back and forth with corrections and revisions between the Chef and me and the GM and me but I finally finished. Having learned the importance of knowing exactly what was on the menu at school, I knew the pressure was on the make sure what I came up with was on the ball.
So now every day in briefing time the whole service team is doing pick up chart training with an emphasis on the wine pairings.
Otherwise, I have been getting more and more used to being here and the different customs of the culture. And as I get more involved in the work itself, I realize just how valuable the little things we learn at Les Roches are. That when you know how to do something properly, it simply makes things easier and quicker. If I could add a word of advice to any new or prospective students: there will be times when you wonder, why am I learning this or how in the world could this be useful? Embrace all of the training that we get because it will be important and I am try to help my Cambodian colleagues who don’t have much formal training to see these little things and ways of working and adopt them.
On one of my days off, I went to visit the BanteaySrey Butterfly Centre where they farm butterflies and provide some local residents with the tools and equipment to participate in this sustainable activity and a small source of income as some of the cocooned specimens are sold and shipped abroad.
I also saw the War museum where local men who fought in the various Cambodian wars have a tour of the old artifacts. There was everything there from fighter jets to landmine shells, most were either Russian or Chinese made. It gives you a sense of the destruction that took place here, but as I left, it made me realize how far Cambodia has come in the small number of years they have had war-free.