Staff mark a huge milestone at family-run hotels
Owner: Jason Delf
Published: 28th February, 2020
Nigel Carter, head chef at Palm Court, and Scott Barnes, hotel manager at Marine Lodge, have been with the family-run businesses – both run by brothers Jason and Nick Delf – for a combined total of 55 years.
The long service has seen them work for three generations of the same family, while building up a firm friendship of their own.
Both started at just 15 and 16 years old, with Nigel recently completing 30 years, and Scott, 25 years.
Scott said: “Nigel was at Palm Court on my very first shift and was one of the first people who spoke to me. From there we became great friends. He was best man at my wedding and I was an usher at his. We got married the same year in the same month and we both have children of the same age.”
Palm Court has been in the Delf family since 1959 and run originally by Jason and Nick’s grandfather Joseph.
Nigel and Scott began their careers working for Joseph at Palm Court, before his son Richard took over, with sisters Carol and Pat and brother-in-law Arthur Hollis.
When Marine Lodge was purchased in 1996, Nick became the director and Jason took over as director of Palm Court around four years ago. While studying catering at college, Nigel helped out in the kitchen learning practical skills, until he worked his way up to head chef.
Nigel said: “My best friend and I both saw some notices up at school advertising jobs. One was for a chef’s position at Palm Court and another was for a job at the gas board. We took them down so no-one else would see them. My mate is still with the gas board and I’m still at Palm Court – so it worked!”
“We use all fresh produce and make everything in house as much as we can. My speciality is beef wellington and I also enjoy making a black cherry and apricot bread and butter pudding.”
Scott first started in the Burlington Restaurant at Palm Court in 1994, but relocated to Marine Lodge after the family purchased it – living on site for 10 years.
“There was a position available in charge of the restaurant, so I was asked to run that and then I became deputy manager in 2001. When Richard retired and Nick took over as director, I became hotel manager.”
“Being front of house I am often the first port of call for guests. I’ve been seeing some of them for years and years and we have built up a good rapport. Some visit four or five times a year and there are a few people who came as children and now have children themselves.”
“Jason and Nick are great to work for. We have both been given all the necessary training and great opportunities to progress.”
“We seem to retain staff at both of our hotels, lots have been with us for over 10 years, which I think is testament to the way we are treated.”
Nigel said: “I just really enjoy my work. I’ve never thought that I don’t want to go in. There’s great stability and a fantastic family atmosphere.”