"As Group Operations Director for Legacy Hotels and Resorts, I lead the General Managers in our business across all subject matters within their unit. With an eclectic mix of provincial 3 and 4 star hotels and both new build and beautiful listed buildings, no two days are alike. With hotels from Edinburgh to Southampton and both branded and independent, there is a new opportunity almost every day.
My hospitality career started in Shrewsbury, Shropshire at the then independent Radbrook Catering College, now part of Shrewsbury College, where I won the award for outstanding student of year for 1978.
A placement at a then Trusthouse Forte hotel led to an interview in London at the Cumberland Hotel to get one of the only 17 places on the Inns Brand Trainee Managers Graduate Scheme, which I was successful in.
The next two and a half years were spent moving from one hotel to another, working through all departments, in places such as Camberley, Lavenham, Perth, Aylesbury, Grantham, Retford and Long Melford. I then took up a number of positions as Assistant and Deputy Manager, before my first General Managers Position.
Then all life changed, with my father and brother, who is currently the Exec Chef at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool following his return from 15 years working throughout South and East Africa, when we took on a family bar and restaurant in the Midlands. My father’s ill health resulted in him retiring in 1988 and I decided to go back into the hotel industry.
I joined the Midland Hotel in Birmingham in 1988 as Food and Beverage Manager and became Hotel Manager in 1992. Between 1992 and 1997 we closed the hotel for a two-year rebuild of the whole site and following a £17 million redevelopment, reopened it as the Burlington Hotel, becoming the highest rated independent four-star hotel in the city. The hotel was then taken on by Macdonald Hotels and I stayed on until 2006 as General Manager before moving to join Legacy Hotels & Resorts.
In the early 2000s, I supported Valerie Simpson in arranging the Midlands dinners at locations throughout the city. I was nominated and attended the course in 2004 where I had one of the most memorable weeks of my life. Standing in the cellars of Krug being taken through a tasting by Remi Krug still - makes the hairs on my neck bristle with excitement, and lunch with Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger and the late dearly missed Justin Llewelyn at Château de la Marquetterie, is a memory that will stay with me forever.