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Trevor Wolverson, food and beverage manager for Silverstar Casino, has a passion for producing exceptional gastronomic experiences. This plays out in his leadership of his departmental team of 256 – the largest department at Silverstar – which includes about 50 chefs. He believes strongly in empowering people to achieve their potential and has undergone additional training to enable him to upskill staff.

How has the food and beverage (F&B) industry changed over the past five years?
Guests have become more aware of what they are putting in their bodies, paying particular attention to how the food has been produced/sourced. Free-range products are in the lime light and there has been a demand for the industry to source ingredients responsibly. Also there has been an explosion of home-cooking TV shows, which has created an awareness of current trends.

What would you identify as the primary mistakes people make when catering for meetings and events?
Overthinking, trying too hard to impress and over-complicating dishes. Putting an innovative spin on old favourites always works. Delegates are already in a formal environment, so food should be the one thing that brings a sense of comfort.

What is your number one catering tip?
Plan, plan, plan. If you are properly prepared, the execution of an event should be a breeze but plan for curveballs. These always come your way, but when you love what you do, curveballs make your job exciting! 

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?
A coffee machine, simply because people would cease to function without their cup of coffee in the morning –and the F&B staff make that happen!

When did you know you wanted to work in the hospitality industry?
During school holidays, we would stay at a hotel my step grandfather managed called Natal Spa in Paulpietersburg, KwaZulu-Natal. I was always impressed with the way he managed to get this massive operation to run so smoothly. He was always so busy and this showed me that he took pride in making every guest happy. I admired this so much that it became my own mission.

What is the proudest moment in your career?
Being appointed as the F&B manager of Silverstar.

What are your favourite foods to cook with?
Venison – it is the purest protein. Also, I can’t go a week without braaiing.

What would your ‘death row’ meal, as the late Anthony Bourdain put it?
A mutton bunny chow with plenty of fresh chilli. I love authentic South African food.