When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
When I was about five years old, my dad worked at a golf club, which had two restaurants and a bar. I would go along with him at weekends. I always really enjoyed being in the restaurant and I would help the waiters prepare for service, with things like organising the cups and saucers. Sometimes I would hand out the menus to customers and I would often get tips, so I thought it was a fun way of earning money.
Where and how did you get your start?
During my teenage years, my father managed the Food and Beverage of a five star hotel and I convinced him that I should join him! I started helping in the events department setting up for weddings and events during the weekends throughout the last years of high school.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
The culture and high-energy environment we embody at ME by Melia is the perfect match to my lifestyle and personality.
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Definitely my father - he is a great host at home and he is extremely passionate about hospitality.
I am fortunate to be able to what I love every day; hospitality is something that comes very naturally to me too.
What is next for you?
It is important to seize the day, live in the moment and enjoy what you are doing. I believed in having a three or five-year plan but I managed to achieve those goals much sooner than I had expected - so now I enjoy what I do, try to spend quality time with my family and who knows what is waiting around the corner…
What is one piece of advice to someone starting out?
Try to gain experience in all areas of the business, not only the operational side but also the financial aspects of the business, i.e. revenue management, finance and sales and marketing. In order to progress to senior roles, you need to have strong business acumen. I would definitely advise an internship in finance and revenue management as well as operations.
Where did you last have a great meal?
I was on a short break in Sussex recently and we found a hidden gem, The Wild Mushroom, - the service was very ‘old school almost’ but excellent and the food was amazing. Husband and wife Paul and Rebecca Webbe own it and they have two other seafood restaurants in Sussex, one in Hastings and one in Rye. You do not get restaurants like this anymore, so it is definitely worth a try!
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
It is very exciting for London to have a Peninsula Hotel opening soon. I think it is important to have a leading brand like that in London.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality?
New York. One of my favourite hotels would probably be The Royalton, which was an Ian Schrager and Philippe Starck collaboration. It was my first real introduction to lifestyle hotels and realizing that hotel lobbies can be multifunctional.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
There is a restaurant called Xier in Marylebone and the Chef Carlos Scotto’s food is incredible. Xier is his first solo project and the service is spot on. I visited recently and I had the tasting menu –and I will definitely be returning.