The five Durban finalists taking part in the Boot Camp 2012 finals, hosted by The Gateway Hotel, have survived Day Two of their five-day learning and hands-on experience in various hospitality departments. This is what they had to say about their experience on Tuesday 2nd October…
Tayla Cecilia Kriel
Food glorious food! The biggest lesson in the kitchen and food and beverage industry is that although you are independent, you all work as a team. Teamwork is essential for success. The kitchen works like a spider web; everything is connected. From the preparation, to the cooking, to the cleaning and clearing; without the one, the chain is broken.
Today I learnt 13 different techniques to do a guest’s eggs: sunny-side up, turned over, soft, medium, well done, soft poached, medium poached, hard poached, scrambled, white omelette, omelette, hard boiled, and soft boiled. I learnt that egg makes a good moisturiser when it dries on your hands. When the chef throws a wooden spoon at someone, just know that there is a reason for doing it. The key to the heart of the guests is through their stomachs. I worked with nine amazing people today and learnt new techniques and different styles and signatures on certain dishes. I got to serve the guests breakfast and discuss the lunch menu. I decorated plates and dishes and was given the opportunity to give my opinion on some dishes. The experience was fantastic!”
I am so tired! I have so much respect for housekeepers. People think it’s easy, but it is so far from that! I learnt so much today! I can’t write any more – except that my feet are super sore.”
I must say waking up at 05:00 has been the hardest part of my day. Every morning I wake up all excited because I know today I’m going to learn something new about the hotel industry. After getting ready in a record time of one and a half hours, I must say I was quite impressed with myself since I take two hours minimum. At 06:30 I went down to the Gateway Hotel where I had breakfast with the rest of the competitors. At 07:00 I went to Front Office where my day started.
I was so excited yet nervous, but I really enjoy working with people. The staff were very friendly and helpful. They were always willing to answer any of my 100 questions that I asked. I was shown how to check in the guests and check out. I was also shown how to activate the room key which is a card. I was also shown how to answer the phone in the correct manner: “Reception, Nikita speaking, how may I assist you?”
Answering the phone must have been the scariest part of front office because you never know what the guest is going to say, but by the end of the day I wanted to answer every phone that rang because it was so exciting for me. At 12:30 Moné and I went to have lunch. I won’t lie, I’ve never been so excited to sit down before. It is very tough to be on your feet all day, but I’m getting used to it. At 15:00 we went on a walkabout through the hotel to ensure that the floors are clean and that there are no papers laying around. At 16:00 Moné and I finished our shift and went back to our hotel room. I really enjoyed my day and I learned about all the important aspects in front office.”
Michael Andrew Greef
Well Tuesday was quite an experience. I think what I really enjoyed about the Banquet was the fact that I could use all the theory that I learnt in my hospitality classes about being a waiter and table settings. I also enjoyed the fact that I got a one-on-one experience with the guests because I actually met a lot of really cool guys from the soccer teams, and even though talking to the Russian team was more sign language than anything, it was actually pretty fun.
I feel that Tuesday may have been the most intense day of the week because I really did have to run up and down, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the week with all the more enthusiasm as all the people I’ve worked with have been so nice and really shown me how it’s done in each department so far.”
One lucky Bursary Boot Camp contestant will soon find out how exciting a career in hospitality can be. Only one winner at the Durban campus can be chosen to have their full tuition fees paid for – for any IHS programme they wish to study – valued up to R180 000! The pupil who succeeds in all of the challenges will take home the bursary and winning title. Watch this space to find out who it will be…