Been in Jakarta for three weeks now, moved from Australia with his wife and two kids, Alex Sheppard has been appointed Grand Hyatt Jakarta’s new director of food and beverage. Alex graduated in 2001 from New Zealand’s Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in French literature and a Bachelor of Tourism management. And, what’s his story?
WNJ – What is your first impression about Jakarta on your first time arrival?
Answer – Well, Jakarta is a very busy city, the traffic can be the main focus the first time I arrive, but the hospitality of the people is very amazing. They are very friendly to me and my family.
WNJ – Do you find any difficulties here in Jakarta, especially this is your first time here and working in Asia?
Answer – No, not at all, I have no difficulties with the people here. I think it’s on the other way, they have some difficulties with me, with my accent and my lack of Bahasa. Well, I guess I can catch up by learning Bahasa soon because actually I will start my Bahasa class next week.
WNJ – I have read about your personal information that you were graduated in 2001 from New Zealand’s Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in French Literature and a Bachelor of Tourism management. There’s no correlation to the hospitality industry that you are in right now. Can you tell us more about it?
Answer – Yes, it is no correlation between my major of study and the work I am in now. This is what I am interest that related to my life, here, in hospitality industry. I certainly very glad to have my work now and very pleased to see a lot of new people around the world.
WNJ – This is your first time working in Asia, what do you think?
Answer – I think Asia is a very interesting place of food and beverage in some particular points. I feel like Asia is giving more opportunity for some of that points. The food and beverage industry here is much increasing than other country in Asia. So, I guess the best opportunity I get was here in Indonesia. Which I am so excited to have!
WNJ – And what makes you fell in love with this kind of job?
Answer – Because it is an unlimited creative job which give pleasure to people and as well because give a lot of opportunity to travel around the world for meet different culture, extend and open my mind to adjusting in different countries.
WNJ – What do you do during the weekend?
Answer – Me and my wife likes to travel. If we we both have some sphare time together, we would love to go to the places we’ve never been before. Last week we’ve been to India and try some of the culinary adventure there. We’re travelling around when we got the chance. I also play tenis, I never have the opportunity to play tennis since I got here, but I look forward to play soon.
WNJ – What kind of goals you would like to achieve here in Grand Hyatt Jakarta?
Answer – What I like to bring to the team here in Grand Hyatt Jakarta is that renewed vibrancy. I think we have some fantastic staffs and the culinary aspects, I would like to bring some new energy in our fantastic products in our restaurants, which are already have. It certainly not about changing some things, but it is more about re-energizing for what we already have. I also support the local farmers by using the traditional herbs and other ingredients that are produced here. With no chemical production, I think that’s the reason why I’m really excited to be here in Indonesia.
WNJ – How do you managed the people you work with here in this hotelier industry?
Answer – I think the only way to really managed people is to work along beside them, and be supportive each other. As the Director of Food and Beverage in this hotel is the big responsibility for me is to make sure that I am available to support them anytime, and as much as I can. So they would feel that they are not facing the challenge by themselves.
WNJ – Do you think Jakarta have a big opportunity to stand up among the world’s industry?
Answer – There are a lot of restaurants here which is very iconic by having the professional selebrity chefs. I think these are one of the advantages of the hospitality industry, especially food and beverage where such a great focus here.