While all the coverage so far has focused on the £7 million refurbishment of the building, Queens Hotel owner Farid Yeganeh knows the value of investing in his staff.
Since taking the helm, he has worked hard to draw together the right team to deliver his vision for the Queens.
Back in April, Matthieu Pagniez and Miraslav Mirchev (known to all as Super Mario) were delighted when they were selected to undertake an intensive three-day training with cocktail–maker extraordinaire, Stefano Di Carlo.
The charismatic Italian’s own bar in Palma, Majorca is THE place to be seen – and the cocktails are legendary. Stefano now travels the world advising top bars and hotels on the perfect mix for their own establishments.
He has been travelling regularly to the Queen’s Hotel to impart his knowledge and guide the bar staff as they develop their skills.
“It is exciting to be working with the staff at the Queen’s Hotel, sharing the vision for how the hotel is developing and what the bigger picture will look like.
‘’It has been amazing to receive such great feedback as we only gave them the basics in the hope, they will apply this knowledge back in Portsmouth.
“I hear both are still as enthusiastic as during their training and I can’t wait to see them at the Queens’’ said Stefano.
Watching the cocktail duo put their newfound skills to work at the hotel has been a proud moment for Farid.
‘’It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Matthieu and Mario push their boundaries, work very hard and to see them putting their new skills into action. I feel like they ‘own the bar’ now and I couldn’t be more excited to see them evolve,’’ he said.
But what about Mario and Matthieu? What did they make of the experience?
For Bar Team Leader, Matthieu, the chance to train with Stefano and his team was an opportunity to expand his skills and broaden his horizons.
It was only the second time Matthieu, who hails from France, had been abroad and he really enjoyed seeing how the staff at the LAB bar in Mallorca stay focused and professional when the bar was really busy.
“Mario and I were very happy about our stay in Mallorca. Everything was amazing and very helpful for our job.
“We learned a lot of things about theory and practice, the history and the process involved in making spirits, liquors and cocktails.
“We learned a lot about the bartender’s job and this makes a difference when you are behind the bar, serving people, sharing your knowledge and enjoying your job.
“The biggest surprise for me was seeing how Stefano’s team work behind the bar. Each action is calculated and realised perfectly. They definitely know their job, so they enjoy the work and they shared that passion with us.
“When you see Stefano and his manager Manuel share their knowledge, it’s not just to teach someone, it is to give them their passion. Hospitality is not just a job, it’s our passion.
“We came back with a lot of ideas to bring to the Queens Hotel especially about the relationship between the bartender and guest,” he said.
For Mario, it was the little details that counted.
“The last day of our training was focused on garnish, decoration and presentation. For me it was the most interesting part of the training and I’m sure we can apply it at the Queens.
“I also learned how to make my own bitters and infusions – and that is something we can use at the Queens too,” he said.
Both Matthieu and Mario were delighted to have the opportunity to train with the LAB team on the holiday isle.
Matthieu said: “I don’t know how to say thank you enough to Mr Farid and the Queens Hotel as well as Stefano and his team.
“This experience was amazing and very helpful with our job at the Queens Hotel.
“When we came back, we just wanted to share everything with our team and try to share the passion like they did at the LAB.
“Thank you ...”