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Fitting right in

April 5th, 2018 | by LCN Editor
Fitting right in
Features
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Michael McGinn followed in his father’s footsteps when he took a post at The Stormont Hotel 15 years ago. He’s still there today and he couldn’t be happier…

When Michael McGinn (30), took a part-time position at Belfast’s Stormont Hotel 15 years ago, he was following in the footsteps of his father, Aidan, who was restaurant manager at the venue at that time.

Aidan has moved on now, but his influence was enough to introduce Michael to a profession that he has loved ever since. He still works at The Stormont today and he’s been food and beverage manager there for the last five years.

Much of Michael’s routine at the hotel these days involves working behind the bar, but since he arrived in The Stormont at the tender age of just 16, he’s filled a variety of roles in various departments around the hotel.

In the early days, while he was still at school, he would come in on a Sunday to make toast for the restaurant guests among other things, but as his aptitude and enthusiasm for the work began to manifest, he was given further shifts in the evenings.

Within a short time, Michael had left school and begun working part-time at The Stormont as a waiter. Very quickly, that post became permanent and after another year, Hastings had begun to train their new start internally as a supervisor for the restaurant and bar. That signalled Michael’s first real exposure to bar work and he took to it quickly, often finishing at 2 or 3am – late nights were just part of the job and I actually loved them, he recalls.

By the age of 21, Michael had been promoted to function and bar manager, which involved a lot more time behind the bar and increasingly, he found himself mixing cocktails:

“It was a big part of the job and I loved it,” says Michael, who has his level two WSET certificate in wine and spirits. “It’s a lot more fun than pulling pints and it’s something that a lot more customers ask about these days than would have been the case back in the day.

“We now have an artisan gin menu at The Stormont and there is big demand for that, especially among the tourists who are particularly interested in the locally-made gins.”

Such is Michael dedication to the job that a broken wrist he sustained recently didn’t hold him back – he simply transferred to reception, where he worked evenings until he was well enough to get back behind the bar.

“I’m very happy in the hotel environment and working for Hastings,” he says. “The most important thing to be aware of is customer service, making sure people have everything they need, but we also need to stay focused on developing our own team, making sure everyone has what they need to do their jobs. We need to be focused on making sure that people are ready for the next level, especially now with the Belfast Grand Central [Hasting’s newest hotel in the city] about to open.

“As for the long terms, I could see myself perhaps, as a GM in a Hastings Hotel, but that’s a few years away for me, I think. At the moment, I am focused on food and beverage and trying to move up and replay Hastings for everything they have invested in me.”

 

Michael recommends:

 

Violet Shortcross Gin and Tonic

 

Ingredients:

50ml Shortcross Gin

15ml Violet syrup

1783 Schweppes Tonic Water to tast

 

Method:

Take a healthy measure of locally-produced Shortcross gin and stir this together with Monin Violet Syrup into a gin balloon glass with cubed ice. Top it off with 1783 Schweppes Tonic Water.

 

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