549 days ago
Two members of the Sodexo team in Northern Ireland were honoured at the recent Institute of Hospitality Northern Ireland Awards for Professionalism in 2018.
At a glittering ceremony in the Titanic Centre in Belfast on 11 May, Friederich (Fritz) Machala, head chef at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast, won the Contract Catering Chef of the Year Award while Laura Wilson, business manager at NI Hospice, was the inaugural winner of the Unsung Hero of the Year Award.
The Awards recognise talented individuals who have contributed to their business and the industry in Northern Ireland over the past year.
Chef Fritz Machala has over 25 years’ experience in the catering industry, working to Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosette standard before becoming head chef for Sodexo at Windsor Park in 2016. Fritz is renowned for creating expertly designed menus and delicious gourmet dishes for a range of corporate and private events at the Stadium, using the best locally sourced produce.
Commenting on his win, Fritz said: “It’s my first time to be in the Awards and I was amazed and honoured to hear my name called out. The Award I received is not just for culinary ability as it is a given that all chefs operating at this level are exceptional in that regard. Instead, contenders have to demonstrate their success in key performance indicators like how their leadership style has improved health and safety standards and driven employee engagement along with menu development initiatives and astute financial management.”
The Unsung Hero Award is one of four new categories this year, and for which outstanding individuals at any level were nominated by a work colleague or manager.
The inaugural winner, Laura Wilson, joined Sodexo in 2007 and is now business manager at the NI Hospice. She was nominated by Suzanne Pollock, client relations manager, because ‘she is a true partner to her client and has fostered great relationships built on trust and respect. She has built a capable and engaged team that is empowered to carry on when she is not there. She treats everyone as a valued individual and truly helps the Hospice patients in their final days with one to one attention, personalised food choices, quirky ideas and other innovations that help to bring happiness to them and their families.’
Laura said,” I was in shock at first when I was told that not only had my line manager Suzanne Pollock entered me for the Awards but that I had also made the final! When I won, I was in shock again, I can hardly remember coming up to the podium and being presented with the Award. It was a fantastic night for me and the rest of the Sodexo team there.”
Fritz Machala (2nd from left) is presented with the Contract Catering Chef of the Year Award by Marianne Hood, chair of IOH NI, Michael Murphy, chief executive of category sponsor Irwin’s Bakery and UTV presenter Pamela Ballantine, the Awards host.
(Main Image) Laura Wilson (3rd from left) is presented with the Unsung Hero Award by Marianne Hood, chair of IOH NI, Michael Cotter, managing director of Net Affinity, the category sponsor and UTV presenter Pamela Ballantine, the Awards host.
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