Behind the Scenes at the Portola Hotel & Spa

This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog will highlight the amazing staff right here at the Portola! From food service to operations, here’s your chance to meet a great group of professionals, who not only love their job, but truly care about the experience each and every individual has, the moment they step through the doors at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay.

The first department I will be featuring is the one and only Food & Beverage crew.  With experience that spans from Grocery Bagging to Food Serving, the Portola’s Food & Beverage team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet.

 

Kevin Clark, Peter B’s Head Brewer on why he brews and advice for someone looking to start brewing –

“Because I love to be creative and I also really loved beer. Start brewing at home and read some books. Also start drinking other beers you normally don’t.”

 June 20, 2013

Kevin Clark bottling beer at Peter B’s Brewpub.

Devin Gray, Food & Beverage Coordinator on why she choose to work in hospitality –

“I went to college with the intention of becoming a Physical Therapist. It didn’t take long to realize that I was on the completely wrong path – I hated my classes, I was squeamish about the work, and I didn’t feel any real connection to the profession. After weeks, months, and finally two years of trying to decide what brought me to Physical Therapy in the first place, I realized that it was really just a desire to make people comfortable and happy. Well, there’s more than one way to reach that goal – I eventually found my way to the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where I studied Hospitality Management. One of the most important things that I’ve learned throughout my eight years in hospitality is that your attitude directly affects the guest – for better or for worse. So do what you love, and they’ll (almost) always be happy!”

Jim Bridges, Banquet Manager on advice for someone interested in managing a banquet team –

“Working in banquets it’s important to expect the unexpected. Every client and every meeting is different.  If you start your day expecting changes your will be more prepared to tackle the variety of requests and adjustments of the day.”

Sonny Petersson, Director of Food and Beverage on why he choose to work in hospitality and advice for those in the industry –

“After finishing College in Sweden I moved to London in order to improve my English. The easiest way to get a job was in the hospitality industry, it was there I realized that I loved the industry and what it brings to you. It is a fast paced, cultural, rewarding and so much more industry. Not one day is the same and what I enjoyed the most is seeing instant gratification in the guest’s eyes and body language when you have exceeded their expectations. I have been very fortunate in my career and have worked at so many great places as well as with so many great people. I live and work by this motto – What separates a professional from an amateur is how you recover from a mistake. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we all make them but it is how you recover and learn from one that is important.”

 Sonny

Sonny Petersson encouraging guests to relax and have a glass of wine during the holidays in Jacks Lounge.

Franco Vasquez, Peter B’s Brewpub Restaurant Manager on why he choose Restaurant Management –

“Restaurant Management is a very noble profession.  As with any job, there is the good and not so good and, more importantly, it truly is what you make it. My years working in restaurants have been extremely rewarding, exciting and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!  I have had the privilege to work with, inspire (and be inspired by) incredible employees and managers and, hopefully, made a difference in their lives.  I have made thousands and thousands of customers happy by serving the highest quality food I could possibly serve with fast and friendly service in clean restaurants. I’ve met people along the way, customers, employees, managers and superiors that I’ll never forget.  Looking back?  Good stuff. Very good stuff.”

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Franco Vasquez helping out at Eggstravaganza.

Peter Radler, Jacks Restaurant Manager on why he choose to work in hospitality

“I work in Hospitality because it’s the perfect business if you want to travel. When I was first starting out, I had no idea of the adventures that I would soon be taking. I’ve been in F&B for 32 years, and have had the amazing opportunity to work in Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Colorado, Los Angeles, and now Monterey. I’ve worked in free standing restaurants, in corporate situations, and have even owned my own restaurant. Each position I’ve held has been completely unique, and has taught me that you can work in the industry for years and years and it’ll still find ways to surprise you.”

Jason Giles, Executive Chef on why he choose to become a Chef and his funniest moment in his career

“I got in this field because it allows me to be creative and share my passion for great food with other people. My funniest moment was when I was working 21 days straight, 16 to 18 hours a day while opening a restaurant and falling asleep standing pitting cherries for the pastry station.”

Chef Jason Giles 2010 Tequilia Expo

Jason Giles at the Tequila Expo for a live cooking demo.

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