January 2012 archive

- 11 Jan 2012

Happy 2012 and let me introduce Aoife

It is finally here, the long awaited Olympic year. I will be blogging about all things Olympics around Westminster in future blogs but for now wanted to introduce you to a member of my team. Here is a guest blog post from Aoife Hanly

Aoife horse jumping
I am Aoife and I’m the Wedding Co-ordinator at One Great George Street. Most people find it a challenge to know how to pronounce my name and there have many funny attempts but it’s actually Irish and pronounced like ‘Eefa’ for those not in the know. My parents are from Ireland hence the name. Perry has invited me on to his blog to introduce myself and to say a little bit about our weddings business.

You may be wondering why there is a picture of a show jumper on this blog. Well that’s me, admittedly a while back, well….quite a while ago really, jumping a competition at Windsor. You may be wondering what the significance is here though. Well, I just wanted to share with you my passion for horses and although Coppa, my horse in the photo is now semi-retired, part of my VERY early morning routine is to care for him at his stable every day come rain or shine.

At work, I concentrate solely on the wedding market and my role involves among other things the wedding show rounds as well as planning with the clients, usually over many months and culminating with the actual co-ordination on the day. Since I have been here the number of weddings has grown steadily year on year and in 2011 we handled 27 which is very good going given that we usually only offer the venue at weekends and when you consider that most people want Saturdays that is more than one every other week.

I suppose the biggest difference I noticed after coming to work at One Great George Street from my previous venue in Moor Park, Hertfordshire was the number of mixed culture weddings. Obviously, working in the world’s most multi-cultural capital city brings a different clientele and this was probably my biggest learning curve in the early days but it has given me an immense wealth of knowledge about so many cultures and traditions which now makes my job so much easier when advising prospective clients. I believe a lot of our success comes from the constantly growing experience and knowledge that our whole team offers our wedding clientèle.

Last October I felt really priviledged to be asked to make a presentation to a group of students from a Japanese Bridal School. We had been researched and selected by them as one of the top London wedding venues.

Since I got back last week after the break, we have been really busy with new enquiries for weddings this year which often happens following Christmas proposals. If you have a wedding to discuss please give me a call and I’ll be happy to arrange a time for you to see our beautiful venue. We have a few dates left for this year including Saturday the 10th of November and Saturday the 22nd December 2011 and mainly Sundays now but availability is still reasonably good for 2013.

Oh, and so that you recognise me, click this link.

Best wishes for a great 2012!

Aoife

- 05 Jan 2012

Welcome! My first blog from the OGGS kitchens….

Welcome to the first chef’s Blog from the kitchens at One Great George Street in Westminster or OGGS as we are often fondly referred to by our regulars. My name is David Wilkinson and it has been my pleasure to have been the head chef here for the past 11 years, where I have lucky enough to see the business develop from promising but fairly modest beginnings into the highly professional, flexible and articulate organization that we operate today.
I came to OGGS in June 2000 with the best part of 20 years experience in 5 Star hotels behind me but even with Intercontinental hotels, The Savoy and Claridges included on my resume, I have to say that this has been the most rewarding and stimulating job I have ever had. The photo below is of The Savoy kitchen team taken back in 1985, yes I am that old and I am somewhere in the back, you will have to take my word for it.

collection of chefs one great george street
As a stand alone venue with dedicated, in-house catering, we are in complete control of every aspect of the operation from the suppliers we use to the moment the food arrives on the plate, and everything in between. The advantage of course for our customers is that because we are not governed by restrictive corporate or contractual limitations, it gives us unique flexibility.


All this flexibility and autonomy would of course be for nothing without the right team to make it work. A kitchen is only as good as the people working in it and I am privileged to say that I work with the most fantastic team. It would be difficult to imagine a more diverse group of characters with people from as far a-field as the Philippines, Singapore, the Caribbean, South Africa, Poland and Slovakia. I’ve even got someone from Birmingham!! Before I forget, we are currently recruiting for a Senior Chef de Partie so do let me know if you know suitable candidates.


In future Blogs I will fill you in with details! I’ll tell you more about the team, the food, unusual functions and maybe name drop some VIP guests! There is also so much to talk about and discuss in this Jubilee and Olympic year and the challenges and opportunities it brings to a conference venue in Westminster with proud responsibility for hosting the London Media Centre for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Until then thank you for reading the first chefs Blog.