Melanie Hamedl: Hospitality is in the Blood
Taking a new perspective of open-minded passion in understanding a city’s growing F&B industry.
WITH OVER 20 years of experience, part of it spent in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, Austrian-born Melanie Hamedl is no stranger to the workings of Asia’s hospitality industry. Melanie is currently the Director of Food and Beverage at Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta, where she oversees the hotel’s entire F&B operations, including French fine dining restaurant Lyon, Jakarta’s Best Eats winner – elegant Cantonese eatery Li Feng, Cinnamon all-day dining, the fashionable MO Bar, and Azure poolside restaurant, and not to mention the hotel’s other offerings such as events and outside caterings.
Growing up in the scenic city of Salzburg surrounded by the majestic Alpine surroundings, Melanie was exposed to the world of hospitality from a very early age. “My family has always been in hospitality. They managed hotels and my dad managed a restaurant afterwards. Funnily enough, when I said I wanted to follow in their footstep in hospitality, they said, ‘no, no, you will not do hotels as well.’ But me and my siblings – all three of use – we ended up in the industry anyway. My brother is a brewer for a local beer company, my sister is married to a chef and run their own restaurant, and I’m managing F&B in hotels.”
Although living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Melanie dreamed of seeing the world and discovering her true potential, and this is led her to choose hospitality and F&B as her lifelong career. “I think it was when I chose my apprenticeship. I wanted to travel the world instead of going to school and studying. Hospitality was obviously the right choice of career for this.” And hospitality agreed with her! It was there that Melanie digested the fundamental aspects of the hotel business, including the restaurant, kitchen, housekeeping, and hotel management. When she started the apprenticeship, Melanie spoke German and English, but today she speaks fluent English, German, French, conversational Mandarin, Italian and Spanish, and she’s on the fast track to learning the Indonesian language.
“The Indonesian people are great, always with a natural smile and very polite, and they do their job with the heart. Quite perfect for hospitality, I have to say,” Melanie remarked when sharing what she thinks about her new working and living environment in Jakarta.
Thanks to her ever-burning adventurous spirit, Melanie has explored much of Jakarta within her first months, and her discoveries in the F&B industry were both fun and enlightening. “I think Jakarta is a very underdog city, especially in the F&B world. When I look around places I’ve been to I see great food with a lot of flavor, and I see this everywhere. From the eateries at the old town to stunning sky bars and night life, there’s a lot that the city has to offer with plenty of potential to develop. The younger generation also plays an important role. The other day I met the founder of GO-JEK, and he’s still young with more ideas to develop. So I think these young entrepreneurs and movers-and-shakers play a very vital role in the city’s F&B and lifestyle development.”
And where is Jakarta’s F&B scene at the moment compared to its peers in the region? “I would say Jakarta is a combination of Hong Kong and Vietnam. You have the relaxed, casual pace of Vietnam as well as the dynamic evolution of venues and trends as you see in Hong Kong. And when we talk about rooftop bars or sky bars, I think Jakarta has even more to offer compared to Hong Kong,” Melanie explained.
A bit of a sweet tooth who enjoys a good chocolate to jumpstart her day, Melanie is very excited about her position at Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta, and she’s also looking forward to explore the many beautiful coasts all over Indonesia.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL, JAKARTA
Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta
T: +62 21 29938888