The festive season in the hospitality industry is full-on and at The Old Government House, on the island of Guernsey, this year has been no exception. However, all work and no play is not the best way to go about creating a really good team spirit and a number of members of staff have been finding unusual ways to let off steam.
On Sunday 20th December, Michael Liffmann (Deputy GM) Jerome Barbancon (Executive Chef) and Ross Tucker (Chef de Partie) donned their Santa Claus outfits and joined 400 other willing participants for the annual Santa Fun Run. Starting from Pembroke Bay they progressed to the Halfway, then made their way along the seafront into St Peter Port, finishing at Town Church – a total distance of approximately 8km.
Michael said “when we arrived at Pembroke there was only a handful of people there, but all of a sudden a mass of others in Santa Claus outfits arrived. It was a great feeling and my first “run” so I was really pleased at how well I did. It was challenging running in costume as my beard kept blowing up into my face!” Jerome said “the weather was perfect – a beautifully sunny day, but freezing cold when we started – but you soon forgot that.” Jerome also finished as one of the fastest runners. Our picture shows from right to left Ross Tucker, Jerome Barbancon and Michael Liffmann holding their medals.
At 10am on Christmas Day, prior to serving lunch at the hotel for 120 people, a number of staff from the kitchen and restaurant teams took part in the annual Polar Bear swim at La Vallette Bathing Pools in St Peter Port. These are tidal swimming pools constructed in 19th century – so not heated!. Decked out in their OGH bath robes, the “team” included Executive Chef Jerome Barbancon and Management Program Participant Agata Swidowska. Agata commented “the water was beautiful even though it was only 9 degrees! The first step in was the most difficult but we were all really proud that we did it. There was a real team effort and huge motivation to have us there doing it together”. Jerome added “ lots of people recognised us as being Team OGH with our matching bathrobes and commented that they would tell Mr Raggett how well the OGH did! I think that our GM, Andrew was worried we wouldn’t make it to serve lunch but the adrenalin was pumping once we got into the water! Our feet were frozen but we soon warmed up when we got back to the hotel and had a glass of mulled wine for our endeavours!!” Asked why he hadn’t participated, General Manager Andrew Chantrell said that it was important to have someone at the hotel to ensure that arrangements were all in place for lunch!
Led by Jerome, the kitchen team then went to Cobo Bay on Boxing Day to participate in the swim there which was in aid of our hotel charity The Guernsey Cheshire Home.