Photograph of Edge Hotel Student Sam GrantAs a hospitality management student who joined Edge Hotel School in October 2020, myself and the other students in my year were unable to work in Wivenhoe House in 1st year due to COVID-19. This meant that by the end of second year, I had only received hotel work experience for one year and as an aspiring future hospitality leader, I felt it best to seek out extra work experience over the summer so that I can continue to grow and develop my skills in the industry between my studies. The staff at Edge Hotel School have been especially supportive of students acquiring additional work experience and have provided us with many guest speakers and opportunities from well-established hotels across the south of England, and with quite a few of my classmates participating in internships, this pushed me to do the same.

I initially received the job offer through my classmate Will Harrison who I have gone down to Beaverbrook with, though he works in a different restaurant on the estate to myself.

My official job title at Beaverbrook is “Food and Beverage Management Trainee” and for me this entails the management of their Ishiyaki Balloon Dining Experience.

A standard day for me involves running the lunch and dinner service of six stationary hot air balloons parked in the Italian garden next to the main house. There is a small team of us of two to three people where we take the guests on a five course Japanese set menu offering the best of Japanese cuisine Beaverbrook provides. The main course includes a 350 degree volcanic hot stone that is provided by us for the guests to cook their “volcano” course on; a selection of kobe, wagyu, toro, venison and more. Within an average day, myself and the team will be setting up the balloons for service, running lunch and dinner, and packing down at the end of each night. However it is also my shared responsibility to oversee the bookings on Res-diary, liaise with the kitchen and reception, complete the weekly rota, help with cash up and end of day reports and provide various solutions for balloons for things like wet weather, allergies etc.

Whilst this is the main area that I cover, I have also received cocktail training in Sir Franks Bar, helped with events operations, cross departmental training in housekeeping, sales and reservations, HR, reception, porter, duty management, as well as experience working in The Coach House Pizzeria and The Garden House Restaurant.

Union flag hot air balloons sat around outside dining arrangments

My experience at Beaverbrook has been immensely helpful in shaping my wider understanding of the luxury services provided by a 5-star hotel. Additionally, working in non-student-oriented hotel has allowed me to take a very hands-on approach to the day-to-day operations of Beaverbrook, as well as acknowledging the areas for improvement and difficulties that such a newly established hotel has to face. With this experience I now have a clearer understanding of my post-university aspirations and where I would like to go next in my career!