Food and beverage operations manager, Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Milton, Hampshire
Nominator Beth Hawkes, marketing manager, Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa
Proudest moment “The development and success of others, having promoted 50 people during my time at Chewton Glen.”
Greatest inspiration “Two restaurant managers at Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa: Werner Wentzel, who supported me as a waiter, and Chris Olivier, who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of F&B and sparked my curiosity.”
Why hospitality is a great career “It’s so diverse. It has taken me across the world and brought me into contact with amazing people I would never otherwise have met. I’ve found something rewarding in every day.”
Alex von Ulmenstein has the distinction of being headhunted at a young age. He started his career in 2010 as a waiter at Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa and, within two years, was promoted to restaurant manager. His flair caught the eye of Chewton Glen’s previous owners during their holiday in 2014, and they offered him a deputy restaurant manager role.
It proved a win-win situation. Von Ulmenstein moved to England and, six months later, was promoted to restaurant manager. In 2017, he grew the Dining Room revenue by 30% and launched the Kitchen & Cookery School, which at the end of 2018 had achieved £728,150 in revenue, an increase of £200,000 on 2017.
As F&B operations manager he looks after 90 staff. Thanks to his hard work, this year’s F&B budget is £7m, a £500,000 increase on the 2018 target, partly down to the fact he has created a strong team. He holds weekly training sessions on F&B to encourage individuals to develop and this has helped him promote 50 employees.
What’s really impressive about von Ulmenstein, however, is that he goes the extra mile. After seeking advice from Hospitality Action, he attended AA meetings with an employee who had alcohol problems, runs mental health drop-in workshops, and his level-headedness enabled him to carry out CPR on
a casualty at work until the paramedics arrived.