Introducing Mr. Robert Skala – maître at Brasserie Le Faubourg Berlin
Guests staying at Hotel Concorde Berlin will have no doubt experienced the fashionable French cuisine on offer at our Brasserie Le Faubourg and chatted to our maître, Mr.Robert Skala. What our guests may not realise, however, is that despite already being at home with the team Mr. Skala is in fact a new edition to the restaurant. We caught up with him one evening at to get to know him a little better and find out what being a maître is all about.
Hello Robert, could you introduce yourself and tell our readers when and why you started working at Le Faubourg?
I started working here on 1st of October last month. My old boss at the Ritz-Carlton worked here before he started there and he always spoke of Concorde Berlin. I worked for six years at the Ritz Carlton, at the Brasserie Desbrosses and worked my way up to assistant restaurant manager so then I saw my next step to be restaurant manager. The main reason for me to start here is the intimate set up of the restaurant where it is easier to build up relationships with the guests. I’m happy to be part of the service and kitchen team.
And what does your job as a maître actually entail, can you give us an example of a typical shift?
I start at 1 or 3pm, my first task of the day is to check my emails and to be updated about the current events. After that I meet with my team to discuss and check the reservations for the evening. Together we prepare the wine display and the tables. Later on I write the menus for the evening, this is necessary due to special events such as the culinary and cinema menu. Afterwards we (chefs and service team) all brief. Dinner service starts with the first guests come between 7 and 8pm. It is fun to be the host for my guests and to work with a great team. The important thing is to be in line with the chef and have a good understanding about the food and wine.
Have you hosted any dinner parties/event receptions here that have been particularly enjoyable?
This week we had many guests for the Bambi 2013. It was an exciting experience because we are the official Bambi hotel. Just before I started I missed out on the art berlin contemporary, where we hosted an exclusive get together. I am excited about the upcoming event in December – the European Film Festival.
What is your favourite current dish at Le Faubourg?
I love the smoked scallops with beetroot. The speciality of the dish is the smokey flavor, I have tasted roasted scallops or a carpaccio but never like this. Another highlight for me is the tomato essence – it is served with a paté, some vegetables, barbecue sauce and a cup with tomato essence which can be infused by the herb filled tea bag. If I had to choose a fish dish I would go for the monk fish, otherwise I am a big meat eater. I like the classic steak, the rack of lamb, the classic French steak-frites…every meat dish!
Lovely. Which is your favourite wine at Le Faubourg?
It’s the wine I presented on Facebook, the 2007 Chassagne Montrachet. It is a tasty and dry red wine with a perfect balance and a hint of some nice spices and berries. It is a good combination with nearly every meat dish, particularly with the lamb and steak.
What is your favourite dessert or warming drink for the winter months?
I drink classic German drinks like mulled wine! It warms you from the inside. I lived for a long time near the Baltic sea and the weather was very windy and cold, a grog (ask Nico our bar chef for his recipe) was the perfect beverage.
In regards to the dessert this is a very difficult question. On my dessert charts number one is the the creamy and crunchy crème brûlée and on second place is the chocolate ”blanc & noir”.
Where is your favourite place to go food shopping in Berlin?
Normally I go to supermarkets with a good, large selection of fish and cheese. When I want a fillet of beef it’s hard to find a good quality in the supermarket so I go to KaDeWe or the gourmet section of the Galeries Lafayette. You can be sure to get a good value for your money.
And your favourite place in City West?
Berlin has so many nice places and parks, I feel like I haven’t been to the same place twice! I enjoy walking in the Tiergarten with my family, it’s nice when the autumn leaves are falling.