For the past year, the Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut’s outlets have undergone major revamping and as a result have become livelier, younger and trendier. Eau de Vie, being one of them, has recently launched the Pink Link Sunday Brunch, which has quickly become the talk of the town. Be it the décor, the ambiance, the delicious buffet, the music, the “shots” and nurses, the entire concept has wowed customers with its creativity and fresh approach.
BeirutNightLife.com sat down with the F&B Director at the Phoenicia Hotel, Fredy Pascal – the mastermind behind this delicious and sexy concept – and asked him a few questions about himself, Pink Link and Beirut City.
Please tell us more about yourself; your professional background and where you’ve worked and lived in the past.
My background gathers over 20 Years of international experience in the Food and Beverage industry, and I am culturally well rounded with work experience in Europe, the United States, South America Venezuela – Colombia, Asia Pacific and now the Middle East as an F&B Area Director.
I organized the pre-opening of hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars, developing, coaching, training and leading employees, payroll, cost, inventories, marketing and promotions.
Created cluster beverage structures ensuring maximum profitability and alignment of products and branding.
I have opened Le Cirque 2000 in Las Vegas at the prestigious Bellagio in addition to developing the “Hilton Wine Committee” when I was in charge of coordinating year round beverage promotions for all Hilton Hotels in China.
I have been honored by the Hilton Greater China/ Mongolia 2010/2011 Food & Beverage Award.
Today the opportunity came to me to move in Lebanon and take the position of Area Director of Food & Beverage at the InterContinental Hotels Group– Phoenicia and Le Vendome.
What have you learned from living in so many cities and how does this add value to your work?
Jumping across the globe from Marseille to New York City, Las Vegas, Miami then all the way back to Shanghai and now Beirut, I acquired appreciation and knowledge of the many cultures I was introduced to. Learning their business strategies, diverse ethnic traditions, and even their behavioral attributes allowed me to widen my exposure of the hospitality industry on an international level. Cultural diversity adds value to my work in the sense that I take pleasure in learning and adapting to new things which in turn increases my productivity and my drive to succeed especially in my creativity.
What do you believe all these cities have in common, and what differentiates them?
Shanghai and the USA are both cosmopolitan but if you take NYC especially, it’s more cosmopolitan than any other city in the world, and much more diverse. The cultures are very different. The USA has a much harder/assertive and straight talking way of operating (both in business & socially). Shanghai is more ‘read between the lines’. I find NYC, Miami and Las Vegas more unforgiving versus Shanghai. France is totally different and quieter – I might say that is the reason why I always wanted to feel this business challenge in those big city lights.
You basically have cities that woke up and have been transforming over the past decade, and its people are catching up. We always joke that Shanghai is a metropolis with a farmland mentality. That is because we project our culture onto theirs. NYC is much more settled in its own identity even in the USA.
But the common point between theses cities is that we have started calling Shanghai the New NYC because it takes the same headlines to build itself…and it will succeed in that.
What do you think of Beirut so far? The people, the lifestyle, the hospitality industry.
So far for me Beirut has been a whirlwind of culture and entertainment with a splash of understated luxury and the patriotic country’s warm and charming people. I’m glad to be a part of the “Miami” of the Middle East and become an element of Beirut’s reputable history as a hub for hospitality and memorable leisure. The passion that the Lebanese have for being quality-oriented makes them leaders when it comes to hospitality. The lifestyle of course is as hectic as it is exciting with an exceptional party scene as well as satisfaction for my hunger; whatever cuisine is it I am craving! The Lebanese/Beiruti’s simply know how to enjoy life to its fullest.
How did you come up with the Pink Link brunch concept at Eau de Vie? And why did you choose this concept?
I wanted to deliver a completely new and almost electric concept for the EDV brunch, and allow the Lebanese to experience a convivial and refined brunch, yet still feel comfortable drinking the day away. After a great Saturday night, the weekend doesn’t have to stop there. It keeps going till 5pm on Sunday, as we help the trendiest crowd keep the party going.
However, the concept doesn’t stop there; I wanted people to have fun and enjoy a Sunday brunch between friends and family but to also create the awareness of breast cancer and to help create another donation for two charities, the May Jallad Foundation for Cancer, and Faire Face, to establish a new trend in the brunch culture in Lebanon: Drink, eat, dance but do your mammography and take care of yourself before it’s too late.
This concept came up to me when I was in Shanghai. I came up with this concept from the different countries I lived in and took the potential to add to it and design it with special nurses giving away shots with a huge Pink variety for food and special cocktails. People loved the “Make your Sunday your new Saturday night” and I wanted to give it a try in one of the most sophisticated places in Beirut, Eau de Vie, where the decoration and the space is the perfect area to create such an event. Every detail was studied, from the pictures in the toilets to the glasses on tables.
But the special touch as added value is to have this breast cancer awareness and to have the Pink link Sunday brunch “linked’’ to a good cause.
I might say that the town was painted pink on Sunday, 8th of January 2012, as Eau De Vie in Phoenicia launched the first new brunch concept, PINK LINK, with great success.
Can you please tell us more about the concept? The events that will be happening, how often it will be taking place.
The Pink Link Sunday brunch is bi-monthly, the next dates will be on the 5th and 19th of February 2012.
The concept will host special shows and appearances every time. Pink Link offers two different formulas for brunch enthusiasts to enjoy: a $55 formula for the open buffet and shooters, and an $85 formula that is the open buffet and free flowing Champagne with an open bar.
Throughout the brunch, the day is kept alive by a DJ and several performers who also help set a very unique tone for the day by making a show out of delicious shots. Donations for the charities are taken throughout the day, and like any event that is held for a good cause, the more given, the more good that is done. Pink Link will be serving from 1pm through 5pm on designated Sundays, and to find out more please check out the Facebook page for the upcoming dates that should not be missed.
Will you be working on any upcoming cool concepts like Pink Link in the near future?
The Pink link Sunday brunch is a start to an innovative concept in Beirut. I would like to bring this particular and original touch almost not seen in this city that doesn’t sleep.
I have a lot of projects in mind that will rock the city but I am trying as often as possible to associate these promotions with a good cause like we do for breast cancer at Pink link. The best is yet to come…and BeirutNightLife will be the first to witness it.
For an idea of what the Pink Link Brunch is like, take a look at the photos below.