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Acorns 2018: Jonathan Ellson, director of Restaurant Coworth Park, Coworth Park, Dorchester Collection

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Written by:
Acorns 2018: Jonathan Ellson, director of Restaurant Coworth Park, Coworth Park, Dorchester Collection

Director of Restaurant Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire (Dorchester Collection)

Nominator Zoe Jenkins, general manager

Proudest moment “Leading the front of house team and helping Restaurant Coworth Park achieve its Michelin star.”

Biggest inspiration “My general manager Zoe Jenkins, an industry legend whose commitment, drive and passion is not just for the hotel and guests, but for those we work with, day in, day out.”

Ambition “To continue to learn, grow and develop while building up and coaching those around me.”

You don’t find many neuroscience graduates in hospitality, but Jonathan Ellson is proof that they are an asset. Having graduated in 2010, he initially worked in retail, but by 2014 he realised his great passion was food and wine.

After spending a year as wine and spirits manager at the Wine Circle, Ellson joined Coworth Park hotel in 2015 as head sommelier, where he used his people skills to decrease beverage costs by driving sales, cutting waste and helping create the new Spatisserie concept.

A few hops up the career ladder revealed him as a talented manager, strengthening the restaurant team’s morale. He was the obvious choice, then, when the role of restaurant director came up in 2017, with a remit across all F&B outlets at the hotel.

By improving front and back of house relations and working with executive chef Adam Smith to relaunch Restaurant Coworth Park, he improved its profitability by 12% and helped it to gain three AA rosettes and a Michelin star in 2017. Ellson also adapted his management style after attending the company’s Expand Management Programme in 2017. This, and the time he invests in training his team, has pushed engagement up from 68.9% in 2016 to 74.9% in 2017 and employee satisfaction levels from 84.3% in 2016 to 91.4% in 2017.

Jonathan also implements cross-exposure programmes for employees wanting to gain experience in wines, and is a mentor in the company’s Ultimate Leader Programme.

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