Ptuj – Behind the scenes
Ever wondered what might be going on at the hotel reception before your event, or what might be the challenges for the chef’s team? Maybe what the thoughts are, or what the ‘team talk’ might be, to inspire the team of waiters before going out in front of the guests? Going behind the scenes we get a glimpse of that world…
THE BIJOU CITY OF PTUJ
Branka Serba, Head of Reception
The work of a head receptionist is always dynamic and changing, with a stream of diverse guests passing through and the essential mission being to satisfy almost every need in a discreet and courteous way. It’s hard work, and work that Branka Serba fell in love with at a time when the foundation of the tourist offer was apartment complexes and long before the emergence of the modern Primus Hotels. Today, she knows that congress guests can be distinguished from regular guests by their focus on the event and the task of the reception is that they provide the agreed services and room in the quickest time possible; there is less time to chat and socialize. Over the last decade the work at the reception has changed technologically, but discretion, friendliness and professionalism remain the guiding principles. An effort has to be made for each and every guest and her motto remains: “treat guests how you would like to be treated”. She recognises that many guests are returning to the destination because of the diverse offer of Ptuj and Hotel Primus, and it is with great satisfaction that she promotes her native city. Congress guests want to explore Ptuj too, as the city centre is just a stone’s throw from the hotel. The guests are always stunned by the extraordinary cultural heritage and the rich choice of events and activities in Slovenia’s oldest city.
Bernarda Kepe, Chef
At home in the kitchen and in the company of her culinary team, Bernarda’s enthusiasm for cooking has been with her from a very early age, so she quickly picked up every essential skill. Today, she is responsible for a big team in Hotel Primus that prepares everything from small lunches to the most demanding services at main events. In the business of cooking she is most attracted to the arrangement of food on the plates and their decoration. The work on the preparation of food begins early in the morning and the whole process is a great challenge that draws on a lot of organisational knowledge. Time planning and flavour combinations are extremely important, and it is also really important to know how to stay calm. Following local tradition, on the hotel’s menu there are many dishes based on poultry and she always swears on seasonal, locally grown food. Bernarda’s kitchen is primarily focussed on ‘healthy’, and “Be fit” is a special programme where meals are made up solely on the recommendations of recognized nutritionist Mojca Cepuš. The desserts are especially popular with guests, from the Primus cake to the other, various unleavened cakes. Her biggest challenge is the revival of old Roman recipes that are especially famous and that she wants to prepare for congress guests.
“I really enjoy cooking, although catering is very strenuous for women.”
COFFEE AND A SMILE CAN MAKE A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Damjana Trstenjak, Service
Damjana Trstenjak isn’t short of optimism and goodwill. And not only that, but she is able to brew up what is probably the best coffee in Ptuj! Damjana was inspired by working with people in the bar back in Economics school and since then she has always understood and knew how to listen to guests’ needs. She has been working in Hotel Primus for seven years and is today one of the hotel’s most recognizable faces who is always looking forward to the friendly smiles of guests and cheering them up with a good morning coffee and some positive energy. Positive energy is indeed her mantra, something that she always gets back when she shares it, a characteristic that is typical for this part of Slovenia and is something that foreigners particularly appreciate. The small things, like a friendly, glowing smile, cost nothing, but can really brighten up the day for a congress guest. Understanding that congress guests stay at hotel for a shorter time, she knows that they must be very well looked after and that even a few short minutes of socializing can determine whether the guests will decide to return. The food service, which is particularly important for large congresses, is therefore a real team effort. Without this team and the mutual trust that has been engendered, the success would be difficult to achieve.
“We locals are really friendly and hospitable, and love to show our city to our foreign guests.”