David Blythe, gardener at country house hotel Stapleford Park in Leicestershire, is Caterer‘s June Star of the Month. Put forward by the hotel's new general manager, Kenneth Sharp, David was nominated after he took time out from his duties in the property's formal gardens to help out the hard-pressed front-of-house staff with a high-profile celebrity-studded function for 200 guests. They talk to Emily Manson
Why did you nominate David?
Kenneth Sharp I'd only been back at the hotel for six weeks and there were three big celebrity events in the book. David had done a lot of work on the gardening and maintenance of the exterior areas and had been a great liaison with other departments. Then he volunteered to help with service on the night and turned up suited and booted rather than in his gardening greens. He helped with the porterage and was unbelievably proactive throughout the night, interacting with guests, clearing tables and emptying full ashtrays till way past 4am. He showed a great eye for detail and, for someone who'd had only a brief introductory training session, took to it like a duck to water. He was totally versatile and self-motivated. It really was an amazing performance from someone who's barely set foot inside the house before.
How did it feel to win?
David Blythe I had no idea I'd been nominated, so I was over the moon. I didn't think what I did was special. I was just helping out and getting a bit of experience on the inside of the hotel.
Did you enjoy working in-house?
DB Yes, I really enjoyed it - especially interacting with the guests, helping other staff out, and just getting to know the hotel a lot better.
Does this mark a move to front of house for you, then?
DB No, I think I'd rather stay on the gardening side of things, as I do really enjoy that, but I will happily give them a hand again on the odd occasion when extra manpower is needed.
Why do you think you were so good at spotting the attention-to-detail bits?
DB My mum worked in a pub all her life and I helped out there a lot when I was younger. I think I must have picked it up from there, and also I really don't like to see anything untidy - it's the same with the gardens.
Did you meet any celebrities?
DB I did hold an umbrella for Michael Jackson, but I wasn't really interested in the celebs, I was just doing my job, and my key motivation was helping the other staff and getting a bit more experience.
And finally, what do you plan to do with the £500 cash?
DB I've been saving up for my motorbike test - which, handily, costs £500 - so that will really help, and I'll hopefully take the test at the end of the summer so I can go up to 1,000cc.
• To nominate someone for this award go to www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth