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I was born and raised in South Africa, where hospitality is a way of life. When you walk into any South African’s home, you will not only be offered something to drink, but something to eat (no matter the time of day) and be encouraged to stay longer than you expected and then, be sent home with a parting gift of ‘padkos’ (an Afrikaans word meaning “food for the road”).
My love for hospitality started when I was a child. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was a world-famous chef. Making dinner for the family after school, while pretending to be on my own cooking show was my nirvana. Unfortunately, this entailed using just about every bowl in the kitchen. I very clearly remember going to fancy restaurants when I was around 12 years old and the maître d' was the most dapper and sophisticated person I had ever met and he made me feel like I was royalty. The experience was magical and I wanted to make people feel like that every day.
I studied hospitality management straight out of high school and started working for a hotel up the road. I began as a waiter, then receptionist, moving to the duty manager and finishing as Food and Beverage Manager, all the while, completing my studies.
Once I graduated, I expanded my exposure to the industry, working in cost-control and finance, cellar management (for a cellar with over 400 bins and 6000 bottles of some of South Africa’s finest wines), front office, housekeeping, and Assistant General Manager. It was the wedding industry to which I dedicated the majority of my career (well over 10 years), coordinating, managing and executing over 700 weddings, including weddings for local and international hospitality and business industry leaders, African royalty and a South African Springbok Rugby player. Throughout these roles, I always placed a strong focus on training and developing my teams, succession-planning and upliftment .
I have had the pleasure of working in some of the most beautiful and prestigious hotels in the Western Cape, including V&A Hotel, Hunter’s Country House, 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa and Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Resort and Wellness Retreat. I always chose to work for brands which represented the true spirit of the inn-keeper, who focused on outstanding guest service, and integrity…happened to be generally family-owned.
When my family and I decided to immigrate to the UK in the midst of the pandemic, I found myself wanting to step out of operations, but still, be involved in developing individual team members in the hospitality industry…
This was when I found Off to Work and found the next step in my career. From my screening call (which I was told would take 10 min and ended up lasting over an hour), I knew it was a business with which I could align myself, and the rest, as they say, is history. I joined the team and dedicate my day to being of service to our team and customers with honesty, openness and a bit of a laugh for good measure.