It’s a new era of hospitality. Patrick Pollak is the new General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. His natural charm and international sophistication put him right at home in this multi-cultural city.
Following studies in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, the young Frenchman began an impressive twenty-five-year tenure with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts that took him to Mexico City, Chicago, Punta Mita, Dallas, Hualalai and GuangZhou before coming to Toronto.
If you see him at the Honda Indy Grand Prix or Toronto Football Club matches, it’s because he’s also a devoted soccer fan and a former rally car driver.
We’re meeting at d|bar, in a luxurious curved velvet booth which gives us a view of the street panorama. I ask Patrick his first thoughts on the Hotel. “This hotel was built to be the inspiration for future Four Seasons properties. It has a different way of being run, because it was truly created for a different generation of customers.”
The dapper GM is familiarizing himself with the rhythm of the hotel, greeting the staff, meeting guests and dining in the restaurants. How exciting for us that he will bring his extensive, cuisine du monde culinary background to Café Boulud, and d|bar. “We have a new Chef de Cuisine, Colin Henderson, at the helm of Café Boulud, who was appointed by Daniel Boulud a few weeks ago. We believe his fresh approach to the restaurant and his revised menu will entice guests to try something new.”
While Four Seasons still fulfills the service promise, the service delivery looks different. “Over the past few years, everyone has changed the way they work. It’s a tricky balance that we need to achieve,” he says, “and obviously, it’s about leading the team towards that goal. We give them support because good ideas and execution happen through other people. It’s about being truly connected with the team so we meet the changing expectations of the customer. It has been a challenging time period as we adjust.” His take is, “We are in a fluid situation and have become very agile and quick to react and to adapt.”
Every new General Manager responds to the tenor of the times with his own personality and expertise. With his wealth of international experience and longevity, Patrick Pollak has the nimble touch and methodical approach to usher Four Seasons Hotel Toronto into its next exciting chapter. Stay tuned.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.