Seven of New Zealand’s best and brightest individuals working in the hospitality and accommodation sectors have been recognised for their hard work at the 2019 Hospitality New Zealand Rising Stars Awards.

Members of the New Zealand hospitality community  gathered at the Masonic Art Deco Hotel in Napier on tonight to celebrate the future of New Zealand’s hospitality sector.

The Rising Star Awards, covering every aspect of hospitality and accommodation, are a chance for managers and mentors to acknowledge their exceptional staff by nominating them into the Rising Star Awards.

Hospitality New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Julie White says, “These awards, now in their third year, are our way of giving our up and coming industry leaders some well-deserved recognition.” Through initiatives like the Rising Stars Awards, we aim to promote within the hospitality industry a spirit of striving for excellence and foster a culture of celebrating achievements.”

The Emerging Accommodation Professional award was won by Sam von Hartitzsch, a Duty Manager at Rydges Wellington. Since joining the Hotel in June 2017, Sam’s incredible commitment defines his career so far. According to the Judges, his strong leadership, ability to make things happen, a clear idea of how he wants to make his mark, as well as his commitment to the Hospitality sector as a career, have identified Sam as the “Ultimate Hospitality Pro”.

The Unsung Hero category was awarded to Amy Farquharson, Head Housekeeper at Larnock Castle, Dunedin. Judges say, “Amy is a super-duper undercover manager and an unofficial regional ambassador too.” Giving much in her role, Amy is also gaining: “Hospitality is a great industry for learning, meeting people and exploring the world. With constant opportunities to progress and diverse options to find your strengths, I find it truly rewarding.”

The Up and Coming Barista award went to Jasmine McDermott, venue manager and head barista at Burger Boy, Auckland. “When I saw how much my mum loved her coffee, I wanted to be part of something like that: “If you want to make others happy and be part of a fun industry, this is it,” she says. According to the Judges, “The Hospitality and Barista industries need more people like Jasmine; people who have a continual drive for improvement.”

Up and Coming Duty Manager was won by Melanie Campbell from The Riverhead, at Riverhead in Auckland. As a single mum, Melanie started in Hospitality three years ago and is keen to gain all the experience she can and grow herself as a leader. Grateful for her supportive family and employers, and growing in confidence in a friendly, family environment, she says the people you meet in Hospitality is a highlight for her.

Based in Invercargill, Industry Café’s owner and head chef Mark Heffer was named the winner of the Up and Coming Entrepreneur category. Mark bought Industry Café  in July last year and is no stranger to awards. He was head chef at The Batch when it won HNZ Best Café and the Supreme Award for Excellence in Staff Training and Development in 2013. Mark says: “Hospitality is a great way to express yourself. You can be creative, try out your own ideas, and there are masses of opportunities.” The Judges say, “He’s rocking.”

Tarsh Versey, Function Co-ordinator, Zenders Café and Venue Waikato, took out the Up and Coming Front of House award. Leaving school at 15, Tarsh found her niche early on, studying F&B at Wintec and quickly reached the top 5% in class. “It’s important to follow your own dreams,” she says. Tarsh then discovered a passion for event management alongside F&B and has combined both skill sets with her role at Zenders. “Hospo is fast paced, different every day and has loads of opportunities,” she says.

Madison Grace, winner of the Up and Coming Chef category, is Chef de Partie at the Bolton Hotel, Wellington. A keen baker at 10 years old and starting work in a restaurant by 14, Madison realised early on the joy you can bring to people through food. Inspired by her Nan, she loves working in a well-structured kitchen for inspirational people; learning their styles and developing her own aesthetic and hopes to one day open her own restaurant.

The Judges describe Up and Coming Bartender winner Glori Karika from Emersons Taproom and Restaurant in Dunedin as a, “Leader on the floor and the go to person”, who aspires next to become a manager. Inspired by her barista mum, and taking a Beer Sommeliers course, she’s now working in a state-of-the-art brewery that couldn’t be more passionate about its craft. Keen to be a manager, the Judges say her future’s “looking bright.”

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