Nine of New Zealand’s best and brightest individuals working in the hospitality and accommodation sectors have been recognised for their hard work at the 2018 Hospitality New Zealand Rising Stars Awards.
Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Vicki Lee, said “These awards, which we introduced last year, are a way of giving our up and coming industry leaders some well-deserved recognition.”
The Rising Stars Awards cover every aspect of hospitality and are a chance for managers and mentors to personally nominate their staff.
The Emerging Accommodation Professional category this year ended up with joint winners. The judges found this category too difficult to choose between Heidi Holtz and Catherine Hepburn, as they are both benefiting from excellent mentors and are very similar. “I would hire them both today,” one judge commented.
Heide Holtz began as a housekeeper and is now the Restaurant and Bar manager at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside. She’s keen to become a General Manager one day but is happy taking her time towards this progression. She has loved taking part in training and sharing her new skills with others. Heidi was nominated by her General Manager, Jim Moore who identified her as a person who has got something special to offer.
Catherine Hepburn from the West Plaza Hotel in Wellington was nominated by the hotel’s General Manager Julie Wilcock. She was promoted in April to Rooms Division Manager and enjoys having “all hands on deck” and helping with all aspects of the hotel.
The Unsung Hero award was won by Janae Fitzgerald who is Front of House at the Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara. Janae has been working in hospitality since leaving school and loves meeting and working with people.
Dean Thompson is the winner of the Up and Coming Chef category and is Head Chef at Wahi at Oceans, Tutukaka. Judges were impressed by his energy and passion.
Up and Coming Bartender winner Zac Goy works as Manager and Bartender at Red Light District in Christchurch and the winner of Up and Coming Barista is Hannah Daken, Front of House Manager at The Arborist in Wellington.
Up and Coming Duty Manager was won by Nikita Henderson who works as Duty Manager at the Woodbourne Tavern in Renwick.
Breanna Turner, Restaurant Supervisor at Northstar Complex in Oamaru took out the Up and Coming Front of House award.
From Napier, Indigo Restaurant’s Shaun Bates was named the winner of the Up and Coming Entrepreneur category. Shaun began working at Indigo six years ago washing dishes in the kitchen and is now the General Manager and Director. He is also Hospitality New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay Branch President.