A Very Special Zeitgeist Award Nomination

As I shared in the past, every three months we present our Zeitgeist Award to an employee who embodies the tenants of our Zeitgeist: exclusivity, loyalty, experience and legacy.  This time, we had an extraordinary nomination from one of our apprentices, Helge Unterweg, who wanted to thank the entire kitchen team here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Everybody was so overwhelmed by this nomination that I simply had to share this with you:

Helge Unterweg In The Kitchen“The clock strikes 4:45 in the morning, this is the time the early shift reports to start breakfast service.  Time flies: the buffet is set up and then joyfully serving, serving, serving: Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, a battalion of fried eggs, gluten-free pancakes – with enthusiasm the kitchen makes everything our guests desire.  Handling everything with perfect execution.  It is now 9:30am and the next shift arrives.  They support the breakfast service, while starting to arrange the kitchen for lunch, prepping the dish of the day…and then get again joyfully serving, serving, serving – steadily in great mood, because they love what they do.

After lunch (as we all know after service is before service): cleaning the kitchen, and again arranging- now for dinnertime. And all are looking forward to serving, serving, serving!  The night shift arrives punctually to complete the 24 hours cycle.

Along the way and throughout the services much more is happening.  From encouraging the staff with food, signing reports, mentoring an apprentice, writing the service schedule for the next week, making the order for the next day, tasting new dishes, preparing a food show, preparing events, taking part in many meetings…the team completes everything with an impressive passion and affectionate addiction.

Herewith, I nominate the whole kitchen team: the apprentices, the Demi Chefs, the Chefs de Partie, the Junior Sous Chef and the Executive Chef.

Whether we will win the award or not: It is an honor for me to work with you! Thank you.”

Isn’t this beautiful?!  It really paints a beautiful picture of the behind-the-scenes of our kitchen team.

Eine Ganz Besondere Zeitgeist-Award Nominierung

Wie ich Euch bereits erzählt habe, vergeben wir einmal im Quartal einen Zeitgeistaward für Mitarbeiter, die in den vergangen Monaten herausragende Leistung gezeigt haben. Dieses Mal hatten wir eine ganz außergewöhnliche Nominierung eines Kochauszubildenden, der sich bei dem gesamten Küchenteam bedanken wollte. Ich war sofort begeistert, als ich diese Nominierung las und wollte sie unbedingt mit Euch teilen! Offenbar ist an unserem Helge Unterweg ein Schriftsteller verloren gegangen.

 Helge Unterweg In The Kitchen„Die Uhr schlägt 4:45 Uhr in der Frühe, der Frühdienst meldet sich pünktlich zum Dienst. Und plötzlich geht alles ganz schnell: Buffet aufbauen, Posten organisieren und freudig Schicken, Schicken, Schicken: Eier Benedikt, Rührei, ein Bataillon von Spiegeleiern, glutenfreie Pancakes – mit Freude macht unser Küchen-Team alles, was sich unsere Gäste wünschen. Alles stets in absolut perfektionistischer, akkurater, auf den Punkt gebrachter Ausführung. Nun schlägt die Uhr 9:30 Uhr, wenn der Spätdienst seinen Dienst antritt, unterstützt das Frühstück und beginnt seinen Posten aufzubauen; Mittagsservice, Plat du Jour… und wieder fröhlich Schicken, Schicken, Schicken – stets gut gelaunt und voller Leidenschaft.

Nach dem Mittagsservice (nach dem Service ist ja bekanntlich vor dem Service) ein wenig putzen und den Posten für den Abendservice vorbereiten. Alle warten gespannt, um zu – na ratet mal – Schicken, Schicken, Schicken! Der Nachtdienst meldet sich pünktlich zu seiner Schicht um die 24 Stunden abzuschließen.

Nebenbei und außerhalb der Servicezeiten geschehen noch viel mehr Dinge: Das Personal mit Personalessen begeistern, Berichte unterschreiben, seinen Aufgaben als Azubipaten nachkommen, Dienstpläne schreiben und ausdrucken, Bestellungen machen, neue Gerichte testen, Foodshows vorbereiten, die Äpfel im Living Room auffüllen Banketts vor- und nachbereiten, Berichte schreiben und Azubimeetings besuchen…

Hiermit nominiere ich das Küchenteam für den Zeitgeist-Award für das zweite Quartal. Vom Auszubildenden im ersten Lehrjahr über den Demichef und Chef de Partie über den Junior Souschef bis hin zum Küchenchef.

Ob wir den Zeitgeist-Award gewinnen oder nicht: Es war und ist mir eine Ehre mit euch zu arbeiten! Danke.“

Ist das nicht schön?!

The Capella Diaries: Diary Of A Housekeeper

One of the most magical things about working in a hotel is witnessing how the whole team works together to meet the personalized needs of all our guests.  This is especially true at Capella Singapore, where we take all our guest preferences to heart.

Diary of A Housekeeper

This episode of the Capella Diaries, I follow Maidin Rhazzamir Nicolas, affectionately known as Rhazz, as he goes about his daily duties as Housekeeping Assistant Manager.  What I discovered during my day with him was remarkable.  Rhazz’ passion, enthusiasm and love for his job was clearly evident, and so was the teamwork and camaraderie that he shared with his colleagues from other departments.  It made me proud to work here at Capella Singapore!

Diary Of A Housekeeper:

Behind The Weddings At Capella Singapore

My team and I are working on a social media video project to showcase the excitement that takes place behind the scenes at Capella Singapore.  In this reality mini-series, the camera follows the staff from five departments closely to allow viewers to experience a day in their shoes.

One of the five episodes will feature Weddings Manager Charlene Hendricks to find out the tricks of her trade and in the process I learned just how passionate she is about her job.

I followed Charlene to her meetings to discuss the wedding menus, cake and decoration. There is an overwhelming number of details to coordinate!  Everything from choosing the table linens to bridal march rehearsals and wine selections and much, much more.

As no two love stories will never be the same, no two weddings are alike at Capella Singapore.  Charlene uses each couples suggestions as a jumping off point and then helps to articulate them in a way that captures the couple’s uniqueness.

As the sun set against the glorious backdrop of violet and orange hues, I filmed on as Charlene, filled with emotion, watched one of her brides walk down the aisle.  It is apparent to me that Charlene has become more than just a wedding planner to the couple; they have formed a friendship that will add a special chapter to Charlene’s love for her craft.

I am so excited to share my day with Charlene, so that you can get to know more about her and team behind the weddings at Capella Singapore.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!

Behind The Scenes At Capella Washington DC: JFW Inc.

“It has been the highlight of my 30 some odd year career.” These are the words of Jim Wilson, President of JFW, Inc. speaking about his working collaboration with his son, Jim Wilson Jr., Project Manager of JFW Inc.  The duo are the project management team behind the construction of the upcoming Capella Washington DC, Georgetown.  They took some time to sit down with me to discuss working with family and this special hotel project.

What are your backgrounds and how did you end up in this business?

Jim – “I am an engineer and a large commercial construction builder.  Twenty years ago I started my own firm, working as an owner’s representative and project manager for many independent organizations that don’t have a project management expertise on staff.”

Jim Jr. – “I graduated in 2007 from the University of Maryland as a Mechanical Engineer.  For three years I worked for a general contractor and spent one year as an owner’s representative for the federal government.  I am currently working on my MBA at Johns Hopkins University while being the Project Manager for JFW and Capella Washington DC, Georgetown.

What is it like working with your son?

Jim – “I cannot be more proud of the quality of his work and his integrity. He represents the owners and me as his father extremely well.  Jim is an extraordinary individual.  He is a classical pianist and a great athlete and very talented, more than I am [laughing].  He works hard to help others and is an unusually humble young man that I appreciate and highly respect.  Much of his talents and smarts also come from his mother!”

What is it like working with your father?

Jim Jr. – “I love working with my dad, he’s very well respected and what I appreciate most is his high level of integrity.  He has a very clear compass of what’s right and what’s wrong.  I’ve always enjoyed the problem aspect of construction.  Growing up watching my dad I realized it was something I enjoyed doing too.  I began to understand how well respected he was and that he truly is one of the best in the field.  That is the moment when I knew I wanted to work for him.”

What makes working on this project so special and different from other projects?

Jim – “This project is like building a very large jewelry box; all the details are very intricate.  There isn’t a lot of repetition going on anywhere in the building— each room is unique.  The wood floor for the bar is from a castle in France, and the marble stone that lays in the lobby as well as the millwork is coming from Austria.”

Jim Jr. – “I’d say the level of finishes and the beauty of the design itself.  I’ve done a number of projects for school and for the government, and I have to say none of them were as aesthetically pleasing.  It is something to be very proud of when we are done.”

What makes Capella Special?

Jim – “It is like the difference between being on a 747 versus a private jet, and Capella is the jet.  Capella is nimble; you are dealing very, very closely with decision makers.  Capella is lean in its operation and organization, you feel like this is a real team of people working together, not just working for a corporate company.  There are a lot of devoted, hardworking people.”

Jim Jr. – “What’s neat is there is a real strong emphasis with the people that they are going to ultimately serve with this building.  You can see it with all Capella employees; they are very nice, kind people and focused on others.  I think that comes across in how this hotel is being built.  There’s a focus on the person that is going to stay here, making sure the building is beautiful for the clients.”

How does it feel to see your son following in your footsteps?

Jim – “He is much smarter and more talented than I am.  I just hope that I can get him started in a way that he can be as successful and influential as the Capella Canon is.  We have a lot of fun and we love to laugh together.  We love playing golf together and we are very, very close.  He tells me he loves me every day.  I hope he still enjoys it after a number of years, I don’t want to wear him out!”


Before The Light Changes At Capella Singapore

Last week we had a photoshoot here at Capella Singapore, as we update some of our brand photography.  Needless to say that it was a very interesting experience, being up and about the hotel at sunset and again before the break of dawn, just to catch that one spectacular moment where the light casts the perfect shadows and reflections.

Taking a walk in the early hours of the morning is almost surreal and it really brought a whole new perspective.  If you ask me, this is really what life is like behind the scenes in a hotel.

At 5am, the kitchen is already bustling with busy chefs and culinary assistants whipping up the perfect breakfast spread.  As I pass through the kitchen, I catch a delicious aroma of fresh pastries— the perfect way to start a morning!

Over at the lobby, all is quiet except for the occasional guest checking out for an early morning flight and the brisk business traveller looking for a cup of coffee in the library before heading out for a day of meetings.

Outside by the pool, our hardworking housekeeping team is diligently clearing the pool from all the fallen leaves and twigs, the evidence of a midnight shower.

Daybreak here at Capella Singapore is indeed breathtaking.  Perched high up in one of our rooms, where the balcony overlooks the gleaming waters of our cascading pools and the magnificent South China Sea, is where the photoshoot begins.  After the intricate set up and the photographer finding the right angle, we wait for sunrise.  As dawn approaches, the skylights begin to change, ever so slowly that you don’t even realise how much it’s changed.

It’s just before 7am and our photographer springs to attention, sensing that the light is just about right.  A few shots are taken, each shot notably different from the previous one.  In just 15 minutes, the shoot is done, the light has changed and morning has come. Who could have imagined that only a moment ago, the pool side still glowed in the semi dark sky and now it glistens in the morning light.

The next time you’re in town with us, consider taking an early morning stroll about the grounds and enjoy the fresh sea breeze.  It’s really peaceful and calm and an experience unlike any other.