North East hotel Oscar winners announced

Ten of the North East’s stars of the hospitality industry were named the best in the region this week (Thursday 27th February) at a special awards ceremony.*

The Marriott Newcastle Gosforth Park Hotel was the venue for the 4th annual North East Hotels Association (NEHA) Excellence Awards, which attracted hundreds of entries from those working in the sector in the region.

The awards recognise and reward the achievements of team members that have gone the extra mile in providing outstanding service and who have shown passion and potential for developing their careers in the North East.

Dinner was prepared at the awards by the three winners of this year’s Great North Menu Challenge, which took place at Darlington College in October and saw some of the region’s best chefs battle it out for their dishes to be chosen as the best in the region. Judges included Terry Laybourne of 21 Hospitality Group and Paul O’Hara, executive chef at Rockliffe Hall.

The winners of the Great North Menu Challenge were: -

Paul Johnson from Close House with local lobster, blood orange and fennel

Stephen Cawley from Marriott Gosforth Park with taste of Northumberland lamb

Adam Westgarth from Matfen Hall with Sand Hutton new season Champagne rhubarb and custard assiette

NEHA was established over 30 years ago to represent and promote the region’s hotel and hospitality industry and is now thought to be the biggest regional hotels association in England, having doubled in size in the last two years.

Speaking about the awards, Ken Ellington, the NEHA’s joint chairman, said: “The hotel sector in the North East makes a huge contribution to the region’s economy, constantly striving to attract tourism, whether business or leisure. But it’s the people that work within these organisations that really matter. They put in all the hard work and it’s vital that we recognise their contribution.

NEHA Winners 2014

“It’s the fourth year of holding these awards and as membership to the NEHA has constantly grown, so too have the number of entries. We’ve seen some remarkable achievements this year and it’s been a tough choice to pick the winners, as we’re proud of all of our teams. Well done to all of the winners and finalists who really are putting the North East on the map.”

*The winners are: -

Leisure Excellence                                                     Rob Foster (Matfen Hall)

Service Excellence                                                     Laura Beacham (Durham Marriott)

Best Arrivals                                                               Pratik Ankalekar (Staybridge Suites)

Sales Champion Proactive                                          Kerry McCabe (Beamish Hall)

Sales Champion Reactive                                           Jill Russell (Rockliffe Hall)

Community Award                                                     Senior Management Team Close House (Close House)

Shooting Star                                                              Callum Gallagher (Ramside Hall)

Support Services                                                         Geoffrey Craig (Holliday Inn, Newcastle, Gosforth Park)

Cleanliness                                                                 Toi Young (Newcastle Marriott Metrocentre)

Inspirational Leader                                                   Sophie Boyd (Wynyard Hall)

NEHA Excellence Awards- the NEHA People Management Forum spent a day reviewing the submissions for all ten categories and selected the top five entries for each one.  The shortlisted candidates were then asked to make a two-minute video explaining what they enjoyed most about their job and why they thought they had been nominated for the award.  To guarantee consistent entries, a group of media students from Newcastle College conducted the filming of candidates. External judges chose the winner and two runners up for each category, which were announced at the awards ceremony.

Great North Menu- fourteen top chefs from around the region took part in the Great North Menu ‘cook-off’ at the end of 2013, judged by some of the UK’s best chefs including celebrated North East chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne, Paul O’Hara executive chef at Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth and James Butterfield, estates and facilities director at Darlington College.

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