OUR PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
The Falcon Hotel – family owned and run for nearly 200 years. A quick guide to our long-serving Managers who deliver the Warmest Welcome in The West.
Aaron means “exalted” which is appropriate for our “high priest” of the kitchen whose dishes receive high praise. Aaron, seen here with sous chef, Michael Dodson. This team is trained in fine dining cuisine. Aaron ‘cheffed’ to help put himself through Southampton University where he earned a degree in Law & Business Management. After more ‘cheffing’ in Australia and Thailand, Aaron discovered his calling; he is driven by the very high pressures of the job. Aaron is driven by the need to perform on a daily basis, the creativity of menu development and the business demands of running a very busy kitchen. His ‘brigade’ cooks a brasserie style menu, daily specials and large functions. Aaron’s reward is the positive feedback he receives from pleased guests. When Aaron has the time he likes to ride (and not fall off) his mountain bike.
Debbie ‘Officer ‘ Hatch, our Events Manager, joined the Falcon in 1996 expecting to stay for only 3 months. Driven, dynamic and dedicated, Debbie is full of extrovert energy as illustrated by her favourite saying: “Crack on!” Debbie took hotel management at college and was then selected as a Trust House Forte management trainee. She met her future husband, Colin, when he too worked at the Falcon. “He understands my total commitment to the Falcon, and knows what it takes, and gives me 100% support,” Debbie says. Debbie’s greatest joy and reward are the many testimonial messages she receives from satisfied guests thanking her and her Function Team for making their special day exceed their wildest dreams. When at home her passions are family, friends and her flower garden. When Debbie was a little girl, she wanted to be a policewoman, a goal she realized when she spent 5 years as a uniformed special constable with the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, while continuing to work in the hospitality industry. Falcon staffers know that, so they don’t mess around with the straight-from-the-shoulder-tell-it-like-it-is-plain-speaking ‘Officer Hatch’
Izzy “I like to talk” Eaton is our Bar Manager. Isabella grew up as the daughter of a publican in Stranraer – a ferry port from Scotland to Northern Ireland. She followed her father’s path and joined the RAF where she spent 7 years in the Medical Corps. She worked partly in Cyprus where she met her future husband Steve, who was in the army. Izzy became used to moving regularly and in doing so became a qualified massage therapist – Izzy was voted as one of the top ten in England. Asked why she did not pursue massage as a career, Izzy replied that “I like to talk too much”. All the time Izzy kept in touch with the hospitality business, working in pubs and clubs whenever possible. Fiercely independent, Izzy likes to get her own way, as her three children know only too well!
It is hard to think of Mel as the ‘shy and retiring’ type, which she says she was when she worked full time with horses: Eventing, Dressage and Carriage Driving. Easier to see her as the tall, cool in high heels.
But eventually Mel overcame her shyness and started at the bottom of the ladder in hospitality. She thinks her learning from horses, has helped her in hospitality. “You have to form a relationship with staff and guests, and then like horses, they will start to trust you”, says Mel. She has learned the art of patience by working and managing pubs, nightclubs and hotels, and has a great head for numbers – we call her the “spreadsheet-Queen” because she will create a new graph for every department in the hotel. Her proudest business achievement was having her pub included in the Good Beer Guide.
Others say that Mel is a cheerful, hard=working team player, who is ready to share her knowledge and expertise. Mel’s primary reward is seeing happy guests enjoying their stay at the Falcon. Mel still rides but less often than she would like.
Kelly (Service-with-a-Smile) Lee, Operations & Marketing Manager.
At an early age Kelly helped her parents out by showing guests to their accommodation at a local holiday park. Born into the Tourist Trade, she worked at the Falcon Hotel for eight years in Reception and the Office, before wanderlust struck. She moved to Reading, where she used her customer-service skills to land a job with GMAC, where she obtained a post-graduate diploma in Facilities Management. For twelve years, Kelly specialized in looking after large corporate offices in the UK and across Europe – with customer service at the heart of everything.
After relocating back to Bude, as the idyllic location to raise a family, Kelly’s current assignment includes organizing the Budelicious Food Festival, which she thoroughly enjoys as it brings her into contact with many different people and companies. The “devil is in the detail” of this multi-faceted event but Kelly’s methodical approach is equal to the challenge. Kelly has two young children, who keep her very busy, but when she has the time she likes to explore the walks around Bude and bake a cake or two.
Katy ‘Dynamite’ Morris, our Head of Housekeeping for ten years, is affectionately called “Mini” by her staff and colleagues, but her diminutive size disguises her fireball personality. “I maybe short,” she says, “but so is a stick of dynamite!” Hospitality is in Katy’s DNA: she’s one of five children who pursued careers in this field or married hoteliers, restauranteurs or innkeepers. Ten years of working in every department at various hotels in Cornwall prepared Katy for her role of ensuring guests enjoy a spotlessly clean bedroom. They also revel in her ‘towel art’. She started by creating kissing swans, which honeymooners loved to find on their beds. Far from throwing in the towel at this, she developed new designs and both children and adults now enjoy the variety of peacocks, crabs, dogs and elephants they find when they arrive. Also known as the ‘Happy Housekeeper’, Katy loves to sing while she works alongside her team. As a long-distance runner, Katy has lots of stamina, so hard work comes more to her. Her team have learned that there is a special place for everything, and things have to be in that place. Her passions include music in general and Bob Marley in particular. And, of course, her teenage daughter Kaya
Amanda is our Bar Food Manager and Assistant Function Manager and has worked at the Falcon Hotel for a total of ten years. A dairy farmer’s daughter who later ran her own catering business, which at its peak did five buffets a week, she is no stranger to hard work. Happy, cheerful and caring, Amanda loves weddings and she is dedicated to ensuring that the happy couple’s special day is the best it can be. “My passion is making guests smile,”, says Amanda. She exemplifies what the staff call the “Falcon Family” as she and Debbie, who recruited Amanda, have known one another since primary school in Holsworthy. Proud of the Falcon’s training and its high standards of guest service, Amanda encouraged her two girls to work part-time at the hotel and absorb its work ethic. She likes to walk around Bude and Holsworthy, where she found all the fine china dishes we use in the Falcon Afternoon Teas. She also loves to travel. Amanda loves to show guests the Falcon and it’s history which is why we call her the Ambassador.
Blair ‘Quirky Kiwi’ Sinclair, our Lord Tennyson Restaurant Manager for the last two years is a New Zealander : charming, friendly, funny, energetic, bubbly, spontaneous and happy-go-lucky. Guests respond favourably to being called “folks” by Blair, and enjoy his easy-going chat and repartee. Blair’s favourite word is ‘quirky’. His career in hospitality was sparked by “Cocktail”, the Tom Cruise movie. “What a way to meet girls, and get paid doing it!” Blair’s father worked for the Bank of New Zealand, as a result of which, Blair grew up partly in Los Angeles and Tokyo. Blair served his apprenticeship in New Zealand, becoming Manager of Functions at the prestigious Auckland Club, but wanderlust took him to London (twice), to Sydney (Australia), to Dublin …and to Bude, where he had spent many holidays before moving here. “Travel exposes you to different cuisines, wines, people all of which adds to your knowledge and appreciation,” says Blair, adding, “I still make my mother’s chicken recipe made with honey, soya, chilli and ginger.” His passions include his 8-year-old daughter, Edie, and his rock guitar (garage band anyone?!) Blair still shakes a mean cocktail and advises on the Lord Tennyson wine list which includes some rare labels and vintages, including some wines from New Zealand
Alan ‘I love to serve’ Giles has been senior waiter at the Falcon Hotel for 26 years. Alan has refused promotions many times, because it would take him away from his passion which is to serve and interact with guests. “This is our stage and we are the performers” Alan says… and what a performer! Alan remembers an astounding number of names of the regulars in his ‘audience’, and most of the football teams they support as well! Building personal relationships is the true mark of someone destined for the hospitality industry, which Alan loved since his time at St Austell College. In fact, his brother and sisters have also been in the hotel business. “I love working as part of the Falcon team, which is the Number 1 hotel in Bude”. Alan adds “I love the comradeship, the teasing and the verbal jokes we play on one another, and sometime with the guests too”. To much applause, Alan appeared as Manuel on the ‘Falcon Towers’ float which won a prize at the 2016 Bude Carnival; he threw to the crowds lining the streets, Falcon chocolates and a very realistic rubber rat on an elastic string! When Alan is not looking after his son Alex (aged 11) he, like his father, collects stamps and enjoys sailing on the Tamar Lakes. Alan supports Everton F.C. in the Premier League, and the local team, Plymouth Argyle F.C.
Rupert ‘Blogger’ Brendon is the Chairman and his whole working life has been wrapped up in the Falcon Hotel and the Brendon Arms. His other successful business career was in marketing, often defined as “understanding and fulfilling consumer needs” – and with a hotel that means meeting and exceeding guests’ expectations. His brother, Piers, is a much published author, whose many books of history and biography, are on display in reception. Rupert wrote these Falcon staff mini-biographies, and also blogs on marketing – see https://rupertbrendonsblog.wordpress.com/ Rupert is passionate about food, wine and travel; the Falcon cellars and wine list selections reflect his knowledge and expertise. He also collects Victorian and Edwardian paintings, some of which hang in the Carriage Room. Rupert is the controlling Shareholder of the Brendon family’s business at both the Falcon Hotel and the Brendon Arms. You can ask him to open a bottle of wine, but please don’t ask him to pull a proper pint. Real ales are his daughter, Sophia’s area of expertise.
Sophia ‘I’ll have a pint’ Brendon, is MD in charge of Operations, at both the Falcon and the Brendon Arms. After completing a PGCE at St Luke’s College, Exeter in the 1990s, Sophia spent five years running the on-site day-to-day management of the Brendon Arms. She took a different path from the previous and famous landlord, Des Gregory, who for a record 35 years, was known as “the rudest landlord in Cornwall”! Sophia worked very long hours, while maintaining high-quality food and beverages, with exemplary service; that all translates to great value for money for the guest. Sophia has a teenage daughter, Sydney, (7th generation Brendon) who works as a hostess in the summer and loves Bude! Sophia can be seen pulling a proper pint as in this photo except when a major tennis tournament is being televised.
Christine ‘I’ll have a chardonnay’ Brendon is the Manager of HR and Finance. About ten years ago, Chris and Rupert built Captain’s Cottage in Bude, with a novel” upside-down” design. Arguably the upstairs living room/kitchen/conservatory provide the best sea and harbour views on Breakwater Road… and only 50 yards from the Falcon Hotel and Brendon Arms! Chris’ corporate life in marketing also involved managing sales force/trade customer relations and HR, and this expertise is invaluable in her role at the Falcon Hotel, where she is also a key shareholder. A hotel is only as good as its staff, which in the Falcon’s case are outstanding. Chris has worked behind the scenes tirelessly at the Brendon Arms and is doing the same at the Falcon Hotel, where she is described as a very caring and generous people-person. Her favourite tipple is a rich, oaky, buttery-tasting chardonnay!