Lukas Hyner gives his view on hospitality, sourcing local, chef Luke Selby and what’s new at this bastion of fine dining.
Q: What was it that attracted you to hospitality and the world of wine?
LH: I studied hotel management. Even before I started I knew that I wanted to travel the world; meet people and experience different cultures. The hotel business was the obvious choice for me. I really felt that being expert in our particular subject, wine, could elevate my career which it did. Wine is area where you never feel that you know it all.
Q: What are the challenges in your role?
LH: Finding good people with the right talent. Awakening their enthusiasm, passion and obsession for hospitality. I must say the business naturally attracts talented people, so it is (mostly) smooth sailing.
Q: It’s a big responsibility being the custodian of all drinks at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – an establishment of such reputation and status. How do you cope?
LH: I feel like the industry has chosen me. We work on certain level, delivering the highest possible standards and experiences to our customers on daily basis. There must be consistency in everything we do and when you enjoy it. You learn every day, and most importantly, from your colleagues. It’s really not about coping, is about setting the standards for the industry, having the confidence to stand on top and say “This will work, or not.” I love it.
Q: What’s new at Le Manoir?
LH: The new executive, head chef Luke Selby. It is an honour to work with someone so skilled, talented and humble at the same time. There are lots of projects we are working on in the background including securing the planning permission to build a new wellness spa, bistro and hotel suites.
Q: What are your customers drinking right now?
LH: The wine and beverage program at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is very much aligned with the whole kitchen ethos; what is garden is to plate in the kitchen, is garden to glass in our bar. Our cocktails are driven by the season, using local sparkling wines (Hundred Hills), our very own gin which is made using botanicals from our garden. We have just distilled our first pear eau de vie using forty different pear varieties from our orchard. We are so enthusiastic about what we can produce here. It is important to share the right stories.
Q: Are your customers increasingly looking for sustainable and locally sourced products?
LH: Both are deeply engraved into our ethos. Our restaurant concept is very much garden to plate. This means that “local” at Le Manoir means using fresh produce from our garden, our orchard…its all very close to home. We concentrate on purity, quality and provenance. We work with small farmers, producers, all using organic or biodynamic practices. People who do not have big marketing teams to promote their wines, need sommeliers to sell their story. Of course, we do like to keep the classics without those famous names and brands the wine world wouldn’t be what it is today. We have to respect that.