The Scene


Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit

This month we had a great day out thanks to Origin Meats, with three Head Chef's, three General Managers and the Ops team for a day on a farm.

Have a look at the video below to find out more and see Vito, Carl and Ella look amazing in wellie boots, hair and beard nets.

The next incentive winners will be our Christmas Co-Ordinators....there are three prizes up for grabs! Someone will win a red letter day experience, or a gastronomic weekend away, but the top prize is a trip to Italy for you and a plus one!!!

So get out there and hand out Christmas menus to people standing in queues (British people love to queue and get bored with nothing to read!), people who work in the shops and offices around you. Fill your restaurant to bursting!!

Down on the Farm with Origin

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Employee of the Month

Jack @Henley Although Jack has been with us a short time, he has shown his enthusiasm and willingness to the best server he can be. He is always smiling and friendly to all the guests and colleagues.

Angela Parriniello @Covent Garden she has a review on tripadvisor and usually a great attitude with guest and colleagues.

Daniel Jose Quilo @St Katharine Dock He's hardworker and always ready to help every member of the staff. He is developing as chef and he is doing it with commitment.

Telma da souse @Newbury She has always been driven to deliver great SPH results and on every shift, we are guaranteed to get feed back from her customers about her service and that she is a asset to our business. It is great to have someone that will do her best to make sure her customers are well looked after and is always keen to win the challenge for her Pannacotta reward!!!

Marcy @Reading holding the restaurant while GM and AGM is away and doing a really good job

Iulius Popa @Wimbledon - team player, great in every section, hard worker

Timea @ICC - Team Work, Cheerful Disposition, Reliability, Hard Work

Lucaz @Cheltenham - As he works hard every shift and makes the best pizza

Kasia @Sheffield - Becoming a very strong key player in the kitchen, starting to be cross trained on all sections, positive attitude and always willing. Stays focused and delivers excellent looking and tasting food - getting compliments from guests!

Pawel @York - Pawel has been always a very hardworking and helpful member of the BOH team. Constantly looking to improve his skills to develop from Junior Sous Chef to Sous Chef position or Head Chef in the future

Rory Stack @Horsham has really improved as a waiter recently and stepped up his ability to use his own initiative. He is a great team player and the guests love him.

Anna @Lakeside kind, hardworking, always willing to go the extra mile. Responsible team work and reliable employee

Lucy Smith and Mark Godfrey Evans @Harpenden Lucy and Mark joined the family quite recently both have proved invaluable members of the team, willing to cover shifts stay longer when needed and are both equally excellent at providing the best service in our restaurant

Grezegorz Jalowiecki @Kingston For all his hard job , attention to detail to any dish leaving the kitchen to please our customers and members of the staff. An asset for the team and example for the rest of the team! Big well done.

Day in the Life with newly appointed General Manager of Blackheath, Amanda Harkness.....

What am I responsible for?

The whole ‘kit & caboodle’ – overseeing the business, in terms of sales, expenditure vs budgets, customer relations, staffing (incl training, H & S, progression, recruitment, etc), local marketing, stock control, etc, etc…

How did you get into the industry?

I started doing agency shifts either before or following a Hospitality Management course (I don’t quite remember now – too long ago), and from there got a supervisory position in the Central Hotel in Glasgow.

Your typical day…

I’m generally on-site earlier than scheduled for! I open up the office, email and check figures for the previous day, as well as anything new that has come through. From there I generally pop into the kitchen, and do a walk-through; checking labels/dates, appropriate storage, cleanliness, etc. Upstairs for a restaurant walk-through, and check the closedown from previous night – making a coffee en route! Deliveries are sometimes waiting on someone opening up – so if so, I receive those and check they match as expected on the invoice. I also like to check expected deliveries for that day (foh and boh). I also check livebookings, whilst in the office. I then set up the restaurant – in terms of the bar and coffee stations, mis-en-place, and briefing sheet. Team brief; first with kitchen to check we are ready for service (pass on any particulars with regards to bookings, etc) and then with the floor – always giving an objective in terms of sales/target. Throughout the shift, I check in with kitchen regularly, as well as walking the building, checking out the competition, check emails, livebookings, etc, etc… all of this can change according to plan, of course!

Your most memorable work moment…

With Strada, it would be working the Citibank event we held on 6th Sep this year at More London. It is a private annual event, but it felt more like one big party. Everyone that ran the race and came back to More (and DiMT next door) were super relaxed, the djs were keeping everyone dancing and entertained (incl our team who started a conga line going through the crowds, into DiMT and back to More), our bar team had a continuous flow of drinks for everyone and our floor team were doing the rounds with lots of nice, healthy nibbles! The organiser spoke with us and were extremely happy with how the night had gone, and expressed that it had surpassed last year and their expectations for this year!

Best part of your job?

Working wit such a diverse bunch of people. No other industry gives you the opportunity to meet so many people (both staff and customers), from so many different walks of life, with so many different stories and experiences – it can bring many challenges (language barriers, misunderstandings due to differences in customs/nationalities and/or up-bringing/beliefs), but this makes it all the more interesting. And every day can be a ‘school’ day (a learning day), when we can constantly learn new things from one another – no matter how random those things may be

Worse work moment?

I tend not to dwell too much on this (otherwise it’s wears you down too much, and it can be exhausting)! That said there have many shifts over the years, when there has been a run of customer complaints, coupled with quality issues with food, and usually staff issues in amongst all of that! I did have a few hairy shifts when I was a manager for All Bar One – having thrown out a thief or two; dealt with an outpatient from one of the psychiatric hospitals one night, whom had wandered in, sat with an elderly couple, picked up their steak knife and showed signs of being potentially threatening. Needless to say the police were called to escort him out and deal with, but myself and my bartender had to manage the situation and this man until they arrived.

After work how do you relax?

Tv, watch a movie, or a trip to the theatre. I am also a qualified clinical aromatherapist, and regularly use essential oils for their therapeutic benefits; (I do need to get back into yoga, and hope to be able to manage this into my working week as I settle into my new role at Blackheath).

What was your plan B – what did you want to be as a kid?

I wanted to be primary teacher, as well as a part time dance teacher (I took dance class right up until I was in my 20s and teached, but then working life took over and I left my hometown for Glasgow)!

The Hoff popped in to Cheltenham....what a legend!!!!

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Things you didn't know last week.....

  • The opposite of "Deja vu" is "Jamais Vu". Jamais vu is not remembering something you always see.

  • When writing, reading or studying listen to music with no vocals. It will allow you to concentrate better.

  • The sudden jerk you sometimes experience when you "slip" in a dream while half asleep is called "Hypnic Jerk".

  • If a friendship lasts longer than 7 years, psychologists say it will last for a lifetime.

  • People who spend prolonged hours working or watching TV are likely to suffer from TATT (Tired all the time) syndrome.

  • Bad handwriting? Keep this in mind: more intelligent people tend to think faster, and as a result their handwriting is more sloppy.

  • Hugging for 20 seconds releases Oxytocin, which can cause you to trust someone more.

  • More people in the UK work making sandwiches, than there are people working in the Agricultural industry in the UK

  • How are green and black olives different. If olives are left on the vine long enough they will eventually shrivel slightly and darken. But that isn’t the most efficient method for mass production, so they are normally all harvested when young, green and at their largest, then treated. Black olives are treated with caustic soda (drain unblocker, but here the quantities used are safe for consumption) and then spun in oxidised water to speed up the ripening process, turning the fruit a shiny black. A black substance, Ferrous gluconate, is then added to stop the colour from fading.

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