Pastry Guru Happy to Share his Secrets
Meet Danny ho, the guru that shares
This article was contributed by Megan Rowe for Hotelsmag.com
To further understand what’s on the mind of next-gen leaders, HOTELSMAG interviewed 20 rising stars all 40 and under, asking questions about these issues as well as their views on trends and opportunities of the day. Amongst the 20 under 40, Hotel ICON's beloved pastry Chef, Danny Ho, was one of them.
Danny Ho has put Hotel ICON on the foodie map with his decadent and innovative pastries. The 37-year-old executive pastry chef has racked up numerous awards for his Asian-influenced French desserts, and his contribution to the hotel’s The Market buffet has helped it earn The best buffet in Hong Kong honours for seven years running. He also has an uncanny sense for what will click on social media, which has helped drive the hotel’s reputation as a must-see for food lovers. Ever on the hunt for the next disruptive dessert — his latest obsession is durian, the controversial Southeast Asian fruit — Ho is an enthusiastic leader and coach as well.
In the following interview, Danny talked about the needs and wants of next generation leaders, how to keep them motivated and cultivate them to become even better pioneers, industry trends, social media and more.
HOTELS: What are people getting into the hotel business looking for?
Danny Ho: The young generation wants to know that management cares about them and wants to develop their skills for the future. At this hotel, we try to send the team overseas for training so they can see what’s happening around the world and connect with different ideas and people. I also give them a lot of freedom to develop their own style instead of me creating and them executing.
H: Do you think the glass ceiling/“old boys’ network” in the hotel industry remains, or is that changing?
DH: In the pastry profession, at least in Asia, I think most of the chefs are men, but in the younger generation, we are seeing many more women. They want to learn how to make pastry and then go home to start their own shop.
H: What about the business or your job keeps you up at night?
DH: Social media! In Hong Kong, people like things that are trendy and new. I’m from Malaysia, and there you could use one cheesecake recipe for five or 10 years. In Hong Kong, that won’t work because the guests and social media gravitate toward new things. So the biggest challenge for me is always thinking about the next promotion, how to attract social media interest, get people into the hotel to try the product, take pictures and get the word out.
H: What are the changing needs and priorities of next-gen leaders?
DH: The older generations, especially in Asia, weren’t ready to share — they wouldn’t share their techniques or baking secrets because they were afraid (of the competition). But I don’t think this is the right way to inspire the younger generation. So I decided to share all the secrets and skills involved in my recipes. I share recipes for my best-selling pastries on social media as well. I feel that there is no secret recipe for chefs. We need to share with each other — it’s the only way we can improve.
H: What’s your best advice to the next generation of people in your position? What would you tell people entering the industry now?
DH: They need to work hard, not give up so easily, have more passion about their job and work with their heart. I know that’s not easy. But there are no shortcuts.