Name: Michael W.
Position: Senior Assistant Restaurant Manager
Hotel: St. Regis Hong Kong
Dream destination: Spain
Drink or treat of choice: A glass of beer. Our team likes to have a quick beer after the day of work.
Michael works as a senior assistant manager in Rùn, the two Michelin star Cantonese restaurant at The St. Regis Hong Kong. For those who are wondering, that means Michael handles everything from ensuring guests at the distinguished hotel have an exquisite dining experience to organizing weekly trainings for the restaurant team to making sure the food and beverage monthly expenses align with the monthly budget.
After starting his career at Marriott as a food and beverage supervisor in 2019, he was promoted to Assistant Manager in 2020 and then added a Senior badge to his title with his latest promotion just last month.
For Michael, what attracted him to this role and what makes St. Regis truly extraordinary is the brand’s history and its timeless traditions.
“The St. Regis culture is historical and it shows in every detail, like the hotel’s perfume (Carline 400), the music (Jazz), and, my personal favorite, the evening ritual,” he says of one of the hotels most delicious traditions, sabrage — inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte whom famously opened champagne with his saber both when he won and when he lost a battle.
“In 2019, when we first did the champagne sabering everyone in the Hongkongese social media was talking about that and we had a lot of followers. We definitely created a new tradition of enjoying champagne.”
Learn more about Michael’s exceptional experience in his own words below.
Favorite part of working at St. Regis?
Achieving the goal, I had since I first joined in 2019 of getting a Michelin Star. We got our first star, which is a good start, but two stars was our main target. After three years of hard work, we finally received the second star in 2023. I really appreciate every department’s support, including the back of the house, and, of course, our service team and the kitchen team. It was the happiest moment in my career so far. I worked in a three-star restaurant before, but this was the first time I got to be part of the process, going from zero to one and from one to two.
What was your St. Regis interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
During the interview I met with the HR manager, the Food and Beverage Director, and the General Manager. They asked about my previous experience in the hotel industry, but they wanted to know more about my personality and why I wanted to join St. Regis. My tips for candidates when interviewing would be being positive and showing your energy and passion and how much you would like to be one of us.
Describe a moment you felt supported at St. Regis.
There was a distinctive moment last year when our restaurant’s most loyal guest planned a retreat for his family members who returned to Hong Kong after having left the city for years. They stayed at our Presidential Suite; a car picked them up at their home in Hong Kong and they appreciated every dining experience they had in Rùn during the stay, as they found the same traditional Cantonese gastronomy rooted in their childhood memories. One night, Chef Hung, the Executive Chef, and I presented the couple with the final dish: Knickerbocker Glory. This is a colorful and impressive-sized ice-cream tower they both loved in their childhood. The couple was able to celebrate the memory with their grandsons on this memorable night.
How has St. Regis supported your family?
During the pandemic the HR team would send us a support kit including medicine, food and of course masks. On top of that, I had a home problem and I needed to work flexible hours and my managers showed support. It really helped me to get through it.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
My daily goal at work is that all the diners enjoy the food and our hospitality with their loved one or their family. A good day is a day when we create unforgettable memories for the occasion.
How have you been provided with the training and support you need to grow your career?
We have an online training system which provides lessons in different areas in order to build up our professional skill set. Besides that, HR has a program for us that allows us to study different courses like the one I’m planning to take next year, a sake certificate.
When have you felt like a part of a community at St. Regis?
We have different kinds of charity work like cleaning elderly homes. It shows us to be part of the community in Hong Kong.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Connect is the word I will use to describe my favorite part of my job. The relationship between guests and us is the biggest motivation of the job. We have had a regular guest since the opening of the hotel, and he shows a lot of support to the restaurant. In fact, he is so happy [for us] he organized a Gala dinner to celebrate our two stars’ achievement. That night was phenomenal.
How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?
Actually, I just used the Marriott Explore Rate with my family in Bangkok this year. We stayed in three different hotels during the trip. Many other hotel groups only offer special rates for the staff itself, but I’m so glad to be part of the Marriott group so that I can enjoy the special rate with my family.