Tuesday, 24 August 2010 10:01
Cairns 20 June 2010....Hideaway Resorts, the management company of Dunk and Bedarra Islands, is pleased to provide biography details for senior staff:
Karen Taylor, Group General Manager,
Karen completed the Diploma of Hotel Management as Dux of her year at William Angliss, and after working in Europe for a year in a small boutique Inn Karen decided to return and undertake studies in Interior Architecture at RMIT. Working in the hospitality industry at the same time, Karen became General Manager of the Frankston Ambassador. This grew to become the Ambassador Hotel Group, the 10th largest accommodation group in Australia with Karen the Group General Manager. Karen undertook the design and project management of the hotel refurbishments whilst re-establishing them operationally. These successful hotels won awards in their local communities for excellence in service delivery.
At this time Karen was an inaugural committee member for the new tourism marketing organisation which is still known as the Mornington Peninsula Agency for Tourism. After 8 years Karen took on a new challenge as Resort Manager, to turnaround Turtle Island, a remote luxury boutique resort in Fiji. After this unique, challenging yet rewarding experience, Karen returned home to have her first child and ran the catering contract for Peter Rowland at the National Gallery of Victoria for four years.
Head hunted to manage the ailing Jean Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, the resort has since enjoyed national and international acclaim in both industry and public voting forums for the fourth year in a row winning Best Resort Fiji in the World Travel Industry Awards, and Australasia Best Eco Resort. Most significantly, The Villa designed by Karen won Best Luxury Villa Fiji in Fiji Tourism Awards and The Best Villa Fiji in the World Travel Awards. The hallmark of Karens career has been the execution of change management whilst undertaking strategic resort redevelopment.
She is looking forward to working with a privately owned, boutique operator. “I am delighted to have the chance to work with two of the original iconic Australian island destinations and shape the future of these resorts,” she said.
“Dunk and Bedarra are both such unique niche products that deliver an alternative experience for savvy travelers seeking more than a bed. We’re all about giving real experiences in amazing settings and memories that will last a lifetime - or at least until a return visit!” she said.
Claudia McFadden, Director of Sales
The Hideaway Group’s new Director of Sales, Claudia McFadden, has a background which includes management roles at Fitzroy Island Resort and 15 years as Director of Sales at the Cairns Colonial Club Resort. Claudia has extensive expertise in international tourism marketing particularly in UK/Europe and speaks German and Danish. She has experience in all aspects of resort and hotel operations in Ayers Rock, Fitzroy Island and Coconut Beach Resort (Cape Tribulation) which she launched in Europe, and latterly at the Pacific International Hotel in Cairns as DOS before joining Hideaway Resorts in February 2010.
David Henry, General Manager Dunk Island Resort
After starting a career in commercial diving in Asia and Africa, David connected with tourism and hospitality during a stint at a Northern Territory wildlife park near Katherine. Moving into resort management, he worked in Kakadu before moving to Alan Bond's Cockatoo Island in the Buchaneer Archipeligo. A five year stint at Clear Mountain Health Resort north of Brisbane followed. Moving further north, he came to Dunk Island as general manager for six years, during which time he accepted the role as Area Manager for the Queensland Islands in the Voyages portfolio, before leaving to take up a similiar role at El Questro. After five years as GM of the East Kimberley property, David has just returned to Dunk Island and is once again general manager. During time out from the resort, David loves a game of golf and time to pursue his interests in the esoteric and the mystical.
Karika Houghton, Executive Chef Dunk Island Resort
Originally from Rotorua, New Zealand, Executive Chef Karika Houghton was lured into the culinary world at a very young age, his passion inspired by his Grandmother and his Polynesian upbringing.
He had the privilege to be tutored by many leading chefs in NZ such as Chef Graham McFarlene (Captain NZ Culinary team 1988-2002) and Chef Bill McDonald. His culinary efforts have also been recognised by the Singapore Chefs Association and major corporate identities in New Zealand.
Karika has developed his own culinary experience focusing on polyfusion cuisine, winning numerous awards through the prestigious New Zealand Culinary Fare competition and working with the Accor chain (Novotel Tainui Hamilton and Royal Lakeside Novotel Rotorua) before heading two award winning restaurants in New Zealand.
Crossing to Australia, Karika became involved with the Voyages Property Group being appointed the Executive Sous Chef on Heron Island and then Executive Chef of Wilson Island. Next, Karika become Sous Chef at restaurant "Koi" in Broadbeach, Gold Coast before moving on to Executive Chef of Dunk Island.
Karika's passion (aside from cuisine) is to aid younger chefs to discover their own talents in the same way he was encouraged. He believes whole-heartedly in staying active, continuously learning and always having fun.
Mark Eletr, General Manager Bedarra Island
As a young civil engineer in the 1990s, Mark fell in love with Tropical North Queensland during a road trip and made the switch to hospitality. Growing up in a family passionate about food, wine and the good life, Mark adapted quickly and was drawn to island life. At Green Island Resort, he was promoted through the ranks at a time when the property was humming with major celebrities, politicians and unique C&I events. Mark honed his skills as Food & Beverage manager at Angsana Resort, Palm Cove, then accepted a contract as F&B manager in the Caribbean aboard Carnival’s super liners based out of Miami. Returning to Australia to take up the assistant General Manager position at Lizard Island Resort, Mark again thrived on island life and was promoted to the GM position within a year. Three years, ago he was offered the role as GM of Bedarra Island Resort and made the move. In September 2010, he’s about to take on another challenge - fatherhood!
James Ward, Executive Chef, Bedarra Island Resort
Bedarra’s long serving executive chef Geoffrey Crabbe has been farewelled and James Ward, who has been on the island for 18 months, has replaced him in this key role. James has worked at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and St Petroc’s Bistro in Padstow, Cornwall UK, as well as Raymond Blanc’s 2 Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Chat’Saisons in Oxford.
“After a rather traditional start years ago when I was apprenticed at what is now Aria Restaurant in Brisbane (owned by Matt Moran), being overseas was like doing a whole new apprenticeship. The UK experience taught me the importance of ingredients and how to respect food by keeping it uncomplicated,” he says.
James believes Bedarra is a chef's paradise. "I'm interested in sourcing as many local ingredients as possible, even catching our own fish and serving it as I think there's nothing better than serving fresh fish on the deck and being able to point to where it was caught that morning. I'd also like to showcase higher end food, particularly what's not readily available such as West Australian pearl meat, Hand dived scallops from South Australia, Castricum lamb from Glenn Innes, Vanilla beans and Jersey milk from North Queensland.
Interviews: Karen Taylor, Group General Manager, Hideaway Resorts
Phone +61 3 9854 5740
Mobile +61 411 033 532