From head waiter to heading operations for an entire restaurant group, David Perlmutter has taken on just about every role in the restaurant industry over the last two decades. His latest challenge sees him stepping into the hotel sector as Fusion’s Group Food & Beverage Manager.
Perlmutter joins Fusion, which operates several wellness-inspired resorts and hotels throughout Vietnam, at a fertile time for the group. The company plans to open two new properties in 2019, with two “all-suite” hotels and three “all-spa-inclusive” resorts already in the Fusion portfolio alongside the recently launched Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion. As the group expands, Perlmutter’s role will involve taking Fusion’s signature onsite restaurants back to their roots, elevating simplicity and authenticity over blue-sky reinvention.
“Vietnamese food is famous all over the world for its freshness and its unique flavour combinations, so why change it?” said Perlmutter. “People come here wanting a ‘back to the source’ experience. We will aim to provide this, with dishes cooked, prepared and presented in the most traditional way possible, to the highest standards possible, and with the best locally sourced ingredients possible.”
It’s a direction that will also complement Fusion’s holistic wellbeing philosophy, with healthy cooking styles, little to no use of oils or added fats, and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables all ubiquitous in Vietnamese cuisine.
“It’s the ideal balanced diet,” adds Perlmutter “with many dishes accompanied by large baskets of garden-fresh leaves and herbs.”
While the French-national now lives and breathes all things food related, working in F&B wasn’t initially on his radar.
“I studied history but all of that changed in 1996 when I got a job as a waiter,” he explains. “I quickly developed a passion for food and slowly worked my way through almost every position in the business – even sometimes jumping into the kitchen when needed.”
Since switching paths, he eventually went on to manage several restaurants in Paris and made the move to Asia three years ago. His most recent position was group director of operations for the Farandole Group in Bangkok, where he was responsible for oversight of three popular restaurants and bars in the city.
Perlmutter’s position with Fusion is his first F&B role within a hotel group.
“I think [coming from the restaurant side] is actually a positive point in today’s super-competitive industry,” said Perlmutter. “A hotel or resort’s restaurant needs to have an identity, a soul – something that appeals to guests and non-guests alike. Many owners around the world are starting to realise this. It’s no longer enough to provide a convenient place to eat. People want an experience.”