Double Victory For Hilton Sydney At The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards

This information originated in Australian English.

August 25, 2011

SYDNEY - Hilton Sydney has won two coveted awards for Chef of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Training at the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence Gala in Sydney.

The AHA National Awards represents the industry’s greatest honour for high performing hotels in a number of categories. Award finalists are made up from the winners in that category from each AHA state/territory branch.

Following the NSW state finals, Hilton Sydney took three finalists, Gary Johnson (Executive Chef) Michael Burgess (Learning & Development Manager) and Mamdoh Kiriakos (Hotel Ambassador) to the nationals, scooping two of the top accolades and a finalist place for Employee Excellence in Service.

Gary Johnson, executive chef and joint winner of the coveted Chef of the Year award, said, “It is a great honour to be rewarded by the industry and I feel incredibly proud of my entire team. I am passionate about leading 50 incredibly talented chefs here at Hilton Sydney, over six kitchens and catering to multiple outlets. We feed 40,000 – 55,000 covers a month and I will continue to be innovative and dynamic in doing so.”

Gary has developed Hilton Sydney’s menus with an emphasis on healthy cooking, seasonality and regional produce. Events menus have become more participative, introducing ‘kitchen theatre’ which incorporates live stations where guests can individualise their experience at cocktail parties, breakfasts, buffets, lunches and dinners. Gary believes that with a growing food culture, guests want to be engaged with the kitchen and its chefs more than ever.

All of Gary’s menus are weekly and seasonally changed and incorporate dietary requirements such as individual low fat servings, low salt and low calorie, selections of gluten-free and low GI or hi-energy morning and afternoon teas. Hilton Sydney meeting menus now eliminate trans-fats and unhealthy additives and Gary has increased the usage of natural and organic produce and sustainable seafood across the board.

Second award winner, Michael Burgess, learning & development manager, said, “This year we recognised that to offer our guests the best possible five star experience, we needed to continue to grow our investment in training and team development. That is exactly what we have achieved and over the course of the last year, we delivered 97 classroom based training courses to 1156 participants. This adds value to the team, the business and most importantly to our guests. I feel honoured to have been recognised for the implementation of such a positive program and will continue to drive it forward.”

In addition to its training courses, all Hilton Sydney team members have access to ‘Hilton University’, free of charge, from 24 hour access computers in the hotel or from home. Where appropriate, courses are assigned, but teams are also able to use this valuable resource for their own personal and professional development; 2864 online Hilton University courses across a range of topics were completed in the last year alone.

Paul Hutton, general manager, Hilton Sydney said, “I am incredibly proud of all of our finalists as they have highlighted the exceptional service that we offer at Hilton Sydney on a national stage.”

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