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Chef Talk: JW Marriott’s Christian Schneider

If Marriott Hotels held a “Mr Marriott” competition, Chef Christian Schneider would be a shoo-in. For the past decade he’s worked his way up the kitchen ranks in their hotel brands around Asia. From F&B Culinary Trainee at New World Hotel Saigon to Executive Chef at Miri Marriott Resort and Spa in Malaysia and the Renaissance Tianjin, Schneider knows the Marriott brand inside and out. Now he’s proud to call the JW Marriott Shanghai home. 

“This hotel has a great history,” Schneider says as he looks out the windows of the JW Grill and Lounge, one of five F&B outlets at the iconic property. “It’s a focus hotel for the brand.”

It’s no surprise that the German native opted for a career in hotels; hospitality runs in the Schneider family’s blood. “My parents owned a bed and breakfast. We grew up in the hotel business,” he explains. “Food was always very important. In Germany, hotels are all about the food. People will drive to remote places for good food.”

Schneider has leveraged his family trade into a successful career path with one of the most recognisable hotel brands in the world, and along with that success comes a lot of responsibility. When he first arrived at the JW Marriott nine months ago, he was taken aback by the large scale outside catering operation he inherited. His first assignment? Pulling off an off-site catering gig for a crowd of 2,800.

“I had catered an event for 1,500 people in Malaysia, and that was a bit of stretch,” he laughs. “And I had to put together an event for almost double that amount of people!”

Luckily, the Marriott machine is well-oiled, and the systems were already in place to help Schneider and his team of more than 100 chefs and 350 waiters pulled off the event without a hitch. Now mega catering events no longer intimidate the chef; in fact, he welcomes the challenge.

“The first outside catering job gave me a lot of confidence and trust in my team. It was a very long day, but 2,800 people left fat, satisfied and saying they’d come back next year,” he says. “Now I like these events because I can work with the customers directly and it’s a lot more satisfying and motivating.”

When he’s not busy planning menus for thousands of guests, Schneider focuses on maintaining Marriott’s standards across all the hotel’s menus. “A burger in Chicago should taste just like a burger in Beijing,” he says. Schneider also strives to implement “Future Fish”, Marriott’s sustainable seafood program, by removing blue fin tuna from the menu and opting for ethically sourced fish, like barramundi and wild salmon.


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