Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Association

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Harrogate’s hospitality heroes celebrated at sell-out awards evening

Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards 2023

Harrogate’s hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night (12th June) during a gala dinner to celebrate the best the town has to offer at Harrogate’s Royal Hall.

This year was the fifteenth year of the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by the Harrogate Hospitality & Tourism Association (HHTA), and hosts Simon Cotton and David Ritson were joined by the General Managers from the member Harrogate hotels from HHTA to present the coveted award categories.

The Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards aim to promote the town’s hospitality offering through celebrating and rewarding those individuals who show the highest levels of commitment and strive towards excellence on the town’s behalf.

During February and March members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition and helped generate over 1000 nominations before a shortlist was chosen by the category sponsors who judge the awards.

David Ritson, General Manager of the Old Swan Hotel and co-organiser of the event said; “The awards are a fantastic occasion for the town and beyond. They reward not only the winners, but all those who are shortlisted and work in every area of hospitality, recognising the effort and commitment they make on a daily basis.”

He added; “We received so many entries this year and after what our industry has been through recently it was great to see such a large number of the community getting involved. We have been able to reward some very worthy winners. The nominations we receive outline the amazing feats that this industry can generate. We are extremely lucky to live and work in a town where the community comes together to make it such a great place.”

Simon Cotton, Managing Director at the HRH Group and co-organiser of the awards
commented “We would like to thank everyone who supported us in the awards; we had a record response to nominations and a record number of people wanting to attend the dinner and awards at the Royal Hall. The hospitality sector is so important to this town’s economy and it is wonderful to see the crème de la crème of their category being acclaimed for their efforts; both those shortlisted and those who won deserve their ‘moment’ in the spotlight and it was great to see everyone celebrating tonight!”

What could be described as the most prestigious award of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year was won by Stephanie Moon.

A Yorkshire girl born and bred, Stephanie went to London at an early age to train under some of the industry’s leading Chefs. Completing an apprenticeship at The Dorchester, she then went on to work in Switzerland, Germany and Australia before returning to Yorkshire where she has been a leading figure in the kitchen world ever since.

As a professional Chef, Stephanie continually strives for the highest standards. Effective leadership and strong motivational skills ensure continued team success in high pressure environments. As a regular on the food show circuit, Stephanie is confident in media situations and has appeared on TV, radio and in the press, performing cooking demonstrations, publicising events, judging food awards and championing local produce.

Following a successful career as Executive Chef at Rudding Park Hotel, where she maintained 2 Rosettes in the Clocktower Restaurant for over 8 years, Stephanie embarked on her new venture as Chef Consultant 10 years ago. Taking her business from strength to strength, Stephanie enjoys the fresh challenges and opportunities this role brings – advising on food standards, supporting staff, developing new products and creating exciting menus.

Carrying the torch for Harrogate and all things Yorkshire, Stephanie has appeared on the BBC’s ‘Great British Menu’, twice reaching the judges’ chambers. She is also the holder of a Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver’s Award and is a Deliciousl yorkshire Champion. Other accolades include Yorkshire Life ‘Chef of the Year’ winner, finalist in National Chef of the Year BBC One ‘Chefs: Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is’ and Channel 5 ‘Street Market Chefs’ amongst others.

The Award winners were:

Waiter/Waitress of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate Spring Water
Tania Nelson – Konak Meze

Bar Person of the Year – sponsored by Matthew Clark
Kieron Long – Pickled Sprout

Chef of the Year – sponsored by Sykes House Farm
Tom Dungey – Rudding Park

Team of the Year – sponsored by Platinum
Rudding Park Spa

Newcomer of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate College
Best Bar

Unsung Hero – sponsored by Bidfood
Ray Carter – Sportsmans Arms/Drum and Monkey

Outstanding Customer Service – sponsored by Slingsby
Karen Knowles – West Park Hotel

Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by the World of James Herriot
La Feria

Bar of the Year – sponsored by Timothy Taylor’s
Starling Bar Café Kitchen

Receptionist of the Year – sponsored by Harrogate Christmas & Gift
Rebecca Hewison – Grantley Hall

Housekeeper of the Year – sponsored by Beaucare
Lisa Ambler – Old Swan hotel

Harrogate Ambassador of the Year - sponsored by Your Harrogate
Stephanie Moon

With 12 member hotels, the HHTA welcomes over 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 1000 members of staff. The Association has been in existence for many years with the enduring goal of promoting Harrogate as a destination, working in close partnership with the Harrogate Convention Centre and the Yorkshire Event Centre to promote conferences and local businesses for leisure breaks. Members work together and with other tourism-led businesses in order to promote high standards within the industry and the town.