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Saffire: A Tasmanian Gem

27th September 2011

Hello. My name is Andrew Michalanney and I am the Food and Beverage Services Manager of Saffire.  I have over 23 years experience in the hospitality industry, across a wide range of businesses. My main area of skill is in Greenfield operations, with Saffire being my seventh start-up operation, at a six-star level.

I have always had a wine focus; it is a passion of mine and I have set up many wine lists in the past. I’ve worked both interstate and internationally including in: Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Maldives, France and also London. I've worked within well-known hotels, restaurants, bars, even supply companies. First and foremost however, I love the challenges of the hospitality  industry and its ability to bring food, wine and people together.

 I started working for The Federal Group in November 2009, which left me 7 months to source as much Tasmanian produce as I could, before opening the doors to Safire in June 2010. It was so rewarding see the  resort evolve from a construction site to what it is today; a very unique project for Australia, particularly Tasmania.

Saffire architect, Morris Nunn, recently won first place for the resort in the international design awards in San Francisco.  AHA also awarded us ‘Best New Resort’ for Australia. We just took out ‘Best fine-dining restaurant in the Tasmanian AHA Awards and were the runner up for Australia. Not bad for a restaurant that’s not even open to the public!

The location is breathtaking; all of the rooms have an amazing view of the Hazards and Coles Bay. But what makes Saffire truly unique is the personalised level of service the guests receive during their stay, thanks to a 40-guest capacity. We offer a superior level of service, boasting up to 48 staff members during peak times.

They say Tasmania produces the best sparkling outside Champagne. We've seen an explosion of grape varietals coming out of the state, including some amazing Pinot Gris and Chardonnay as well as the more common varieties of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.  The diversity down here is amazing; the ability to have a pinot from one vineyard then go next door and sample a completely different pinot makes this place a wine-lover’s paradise.

I believe it’s about ‘where' you want to drink not ‘what' you want to drink so I constructed an extensive list of 320 labels from around the world, with a 35% focus on the best Tasmanian wine.  Once you've satisfied your palate, you can explore some the other great experiences Saffire has to offer.

Wineglass Bay/Shouten Island: The Saffire boat is a must-do while you're here. Our boat offers several tours and I highly recommend the Shouten Island experience. Whales, seals, sea eagles, dolphins, albatross are just the beginning.  Our charter takes you all the way out to the open sea. The scenery is exquisite and is accompanied by informative commentary and morning tea. My mouth still drops when I go out on the boat and I always return with a camera full of great shots.

Marine Farm:  Wade waist-deep into Great Oyster Cove then enjoy being served Tasmanian sparking and fed freshly-shucked oysters from the bay. Dine on a floating table with Riedel stemware while you listen to our knowledgeable guides.

Relax: Indulge in a treatment in the Saffire Spa. Grab a book and sit by the fire in the Lounge or join us for a mixology or cooking class.

It’s a busy time for Saffire; we're still getting over the wave of media and awards we recently received.  If you’re looking to see what all the hype is about, consider our 3-day food and wine break on offer at the end of August. Indulge in cooking classes, demonstrations and discussions with many of Australia’s fine food and wine producers. Check out the website for more of our current specials and bear in mind we also offer exclusive availability for weddings and corporate events.

When it comes to my own travel interests, I find I keep returning to Singapore. The city is so far ahead in terms of hospitality. I've visited some amazing restaurants and bars there. Although the humidity is rather tenuous, the people are so friendly and there is more than enough to keep a food and wine connoisseur busy...

- Andrew Michalanney
Food & Beverage Services Manager, Saffire, Tasmania.

My experience is only half the story. Share yours in the comments section below.

*All photos courtesy of Saffire Freycinet Gallery