Stephen Pilkington has been appointed managing director of Bright Futures - the new trading identity of Restaurants at Work and Jill Bartlett & Company.
Pilkington began his career in the hospitality industry in 1993 with Gardner Merchant - now Sodexo - working in operational and business development roles in the company's education division and later its business and industry London team. After a period of self-employment, he rejoined Sodexo in 2004 as a corporate business development manager and two years later was appointed business development director by independent contract caterer Restaurants at Work.
Matthew Rivett has been appointed general manager of the new St John hotel, which will be located at Number One Leicester Street, in London's West End. Rivett spent 10 years at the Ritz, London, working his way up to the position of food and beverage operations manager. The hotel is set to open in summer 2010.
Von Essen Hotels has appointed Justin Hickman as a regional operations manager. Hickman will look after the Elms in Worcestershire, Sharrow Bay and the Samling in Cumbria, Ickworth in Suffolk, Congham Hall in Norfolk, Callow Hall in Derbyshire, Seaham Hall in Co Durham and Dalhousie Castle in Edinburgh.
Hickman has more than 18 years' experience in the hotel and hospitality industry. His most recent position was at Forestdale Hotel Group where he was a regional manager.
Corinthia Hotels International has made Brona Kelly director of sales and marketing for the Corinthia Hotel London, scheduled to open later this year. The five-star hotel is being developed on the site of the former Metropole, on Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall Place.
The Best Western Reading Moat House hotel has appointed Willem Hamel as its new general manager. Hamel previously ran his own hotel in Burgundy, France for eight years.
Jason Lu has joined Centara Hotels & Resorts as director of sales - Southern. Centara Hotels & Resorts has resort hotels across the south of Thailand, with three on the island of Phuket and a fourth under development; four on the island of Samui and one on the neighbouring island of Koh Pha Ngan; one in Krabi; and one at Hat Yai, on the Malaysian border.
Peter Kienast has joined the Rocco Forte Collection's Lowry hotel as general manager, while Melanie Cash has been appointed director of sales and marketing. German-born Kienast has 20 years' experience in five-star hotels across the world, most recently as general manager of Schloss Elmau in Germany. Cash's previous roles include director of sales at the Marriott Forest of Arden hotel and country club, training manager for Marriott Hotels and UK and Ireland and sales training manager for the Hilton Group.
Move of the week
Vincent Menager has joined the Sofitel London St James as its new executive chef. Menager is expected to work closely with consultant chef Albert Roux and will oversee the hotel's entire food operation, including Brasserie Roux.
Menager joins the hotel from Sofitel Sukhumvit in Thailand, where he was part of the pre-opening team.
Originally from Brive la Gaillarde, in France, Menager received his culinary degree from the Hotel School of Souillac, Périgord.
After an internship at Frédéric Anton's two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Pré Catelan in Paris, Menager started his career in 1998 with Alain Ducasse at Il Cortile, a one-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant at the Castille Sofitel Demeure hotel in Paris.
In 1999, Menager joined the Sofitel Le Parc as chef de partie at Le Relais du Parc restaurant where Ducasse was consultant chef. In 2000, he moved to the Sofitel Le Faubourg to work with Alain Dutournier at the Café Faubourg.
After three years, Menager went to Sofitel New York as sous chef for the restaurant Gaby before being promoted to executive chef in 2005.
General manager of Sofitel London St James, Denis Dupart said: "We are delighted to welcome Vincent to the team. He has a long history with Sofitel hotels and brings with him a wealth of experience and a passion for French cuisine with an innovative touch."
Sam Harrison Proprietor, Sam's Brasserie and Harrison's, London
What was your worst job?
As part of my placement year from Oxford Brookes University I spent a month working at a tourist trap pub in Oxford. Having just done six months at Chewton Glen hotel, it was something of an eye-opener.
The contrast in terms of product provided could not have been more different. However, I think it was actually really good for me to experience both places and I believe you learn from all jobs.
What was so bad about it?
As someone who was beginning to develop a passion for delivering great food and fantastic service, on night one I was shown how to use the microwave to prepare all dishes. All the food was described as home-cooked, but was prepared off-site and then reheated to order. There was also a complete lack of management - a very young team was left to get on with it, which was great fun, but total chaos.
What did you learn from the job?
I learned about serving a lot of customers in a very short period of time. I would do 300 covers on a busy weekend lunch.
Also, it was one of my first experiences of working in a really big team and it taught me a lot about the dynamics of making this work and the importance of strong leadership and management.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I love that every day is different; you never know quite what is going to happen. I also enjoy building a strong team around me and developing together as my restaurants grow.
I am beginning to work on some ideas for a third site and seeing what is out there. I think there are areas of London where a Sam's Brasserie/Harrison's-style operation could work… well, I hope so!