Hard work pays for prize-winning host

GILL EVANS - NORTH TARANAKI MIDWEEK
Last updated 14:29 21/11/2012
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Gill Evans

Winning host: Rachel Deegan, co-owner at Frederic's, has been recognised as Taranaki's most outstanding hostess at the recent Halamoana Hospitality Awards.

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Treating customers like family has won Frederic's co-owner the Taranaki Halamoana Hospitality award for Outstanding Hostess.

Rachel Deegan said being a good host was all about making customers feel welcome, doing what you could to accommodate them and doing it with a smile.

"I treat them like my family, in fact after four years here I know more about some of the regulars than I do some of my family."

She said getting out and talking with the customers and creating a good rapport with them was the key.

The trained chef said she came back to New Plymouth in early 2009, after a year in Canada, looking to work as a chef. But Frederic's had just opened and having previously worked for the Macfarlanes Group co-owners decided to help them out managing the bar.

"After a couple of years as bar manager they offered me the opportunity to buy into the business - so I'm still here."

Before her year in Canada and catering for the Macfarlanes Group, the 31-year-old spent four years working as a chef in England and France.

The former Opunake resident, who trained to be a chef at what was then Waikato Polytechnic, won a scholarship through the polytechnic to go to England.

"During my first year I was based in Suffolk which was interesting. I got to cook for Prince Charles, Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet."

Next stop was the English Channel island of Jersey before spending a couple of ski seasons as a chalet chef at Meribel in the French Alps.

In between ski seasons she worked as a temp chef in London at Inner Temple Court which she said was where all the high court judges and lawyers lived.

"Staff food was fine dining choices - like duck breast - for lunch everyday. It's something we would expect if we were going out for a fancy meal."

Back at Frederic's Miss Deegan said winning the Outstanding Hostess award gave them confidence they were still getting the basics right.

"With all the new bars and competition opening up it's nice to still be recognised and acknowledged for what we are doing - it makes all the hard work pay off a little bit more."

Gill Evans is a Witt journalism student.

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