I hope you have not missed me too much whilst I have been away on my travels in the US for the last couple of weeks! I certainly seem to have brought the New York winter weather back with me – let’s hope it is not here to stay for too long and hopefully spring is on it’s way with some warmer weather to look forward to!!
So this week we were delighted to have been notified that the hotel had been included in the Trip Advisor 2012 Travellers Choice Awards which are designed to honour the best hotels – so the team here and I were really delighted to be recognised as one of the UK’s Top Luxury Hotels with a top twenty ranking!! This award means a huge amount to us as it is based on the reviews and opinions of the guests that have stayed at the Royal Horseguards. I am enormously proud of the team here for achieving this award as it really recognises their hard work, dedication and commitment to deliver exceptional, consistent five star service – it is no easy task to achieve day in and day out – and it shows what a dynamic high performing team they are! So tomorrow in our Executive team meeting I will be discussing ideas of how we are going to celebrate this fabulous accolade!!
Today I attended the London Advisory Board Meeting for Springboard where we had some lively and energetic discussions about what our objectives will be this year for fundraising. As I have posted before on this blog Springboard is a charity whose main objectives are to help young people achieve their potential, relieve unemployment and encourage young people to consider a job or career within hospitality – so a lot of our efforts are channelled into fundraising in order to finance some of Springboard’s initiatives such as Summer School for school leavers to give them a taste of working in hotels, Future Chef encouraging 12-16 year olds into careers in the kitchen and also a structured work placement process called Inspire that ensures the experience works well for the school, the student and the employer! It is a great team to be part of this charity as this industry has given many of us so many opportunities so this gives us the opportunity to give a bit back!
We are very proud to have three of our team in the kitchen that have come to work at the hotel via Springboard and are now on our Guoman Kitchen Apprenticeship programme – firstly Ramon Drummond who is 22 years old and heard about Springboard via the Job Centre Plus – his first experience of cooking was at the London Taste Show in 2007 where he saw Chefs creating menus and meal which he found fascinating and exciting and realized he wanted to do the same. Ramon’s mother was a chef so he has been inspired about working in the kitchen from an early age. Ramon enjoys creating meals from scratch using different ingredients and really enjoys the opportunity to attend college and learn more new skills thanks to the Guoman Chefs Apprentice course which he is looking forward to transferring what he has learnt at college into the kitchens at the Royal Horseguards Hotel.
Then we have Terrence Barrow who is 24 years old and also heard about Springboard from the Job Centre Plus – who always wanted to learn to cook but never had the opportunity to learn growing up so he decided to make it happen himself. He really enjoys working as part of the brigade for the One Twenty One Two restaurant in the hotel. He looks up to and is inspired by chefs like Heston Blumenthal. He is really enjoying the responsibility that he has been entrusted with in the kitchen and thrives on being encouraged to come up with new ideas and dishes on a daily basis.
And our third apprentice is Lucy Wigmore who is 17 years old and works in our Pastry Department under the watchful eye of our superb Pastry Chef Joanne Todd – Lucy became involved with Springboard as part of the Future Chef competition where she was mentored by our very own Executive Chef Ben Purton. She is now one of our kitchen apprentices and continues to go from strength to strength –she is also a keen Sea Cadet so holds her own in the kitchen environment!!
As a result of working with Springboard we have been able to provide an opportunity for these three rising stars to grow and develop a career within our industry and we look forward to working with them this year as they complete their apprenticeships.
Anyway time to get back to work – I hope you all have a fabulous and successful week ahead – more to follow from Royal Horseguards in a few days!