Thank you so much for talking to me today, Monica. I really look forward to your next series of Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. This is your fourth series now, but I want to go back to the beginning. How did this happen? Obviously, we mostly see you work with food on MasterChef, but have you always been a passion for travel too?
I’ve always loved traveling, just as much as cooking. Traveling has always been a big part of it for me. So when I called the BBC to present Amazing Hotels with Giles Corin, frankly, it was a dream come true. It worked out really well because my restaurant opening was three months late. So I can be suitable for filming in the first series.
Think working with food makes you want to explore different cultures and travel more?
Naturally. That’s why I love to travel. It’s about paying attention to different cultures, and of course the style of the kitchen comes into it.
I would say you have the luckiest job in the world, but you have to work when you’re in hotels, and by watching previous series I see you’re really stuck. Why is this important to you?
It definitely gives you a better understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes. You wouldn’t really understand the hotel and find out what’s going on there or get to know the people who work there if you’re sitting by the pool and ordering drinks all day. Although this sounds amazing.
When we were filming, the hotels were actually more appreciative of us while we were doing the show because we really really got stuck. Also, we already get to know the team better. So it’s like staying with friends because we spend so much time with everyone. It’s actually a great thing to do.
At Wanderlust, we’re excited to conquer a destination. Are you saying you do this in your chain?
So much so. Sometimes it’s really amazing when you walk into these hotels and realize how deep the design, the sourcing of the ingredients, or the interior design is. We figure out the numbers of how many guests are going to visit, and figure out what kind of awful requests guests have, the really curious bits. Then of course, if there’s a bit of history behind it, it’s always interesting. For example, we were in Croatia and there was this beautiful old town there, and the hotel cleaned up its streets as part of its renovation. It is just wonderful.