Meet the team: Catherine Maddocks
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we sat down with the woman that leads our team in all things food and drink, Catherine Maddocks – here’s what she had to say!
I’m Catherine Maddocks, I’m 27 and the Food and Beverage Lead at The Principal York. I joined the business in April 2018, but it feels like only yesterday(!), and I look after everything to do with the food, drinks, meetings, weddings and other events we offer here. I’m often asked ‘what’s my favourite thing on the menu?’, and if I could only order one food and drink item, it would be the slow-cooked beef shin with a Flying Scotsman cocktail on the side. Although I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on our menu!
My favourite thing about my job is that no day is the same, and I think that can be said for most roles within the hospitality industry. You get to meet guests from all walks of life and from over the world, and get to play a part in helping them make amazing memories. Working in operations can be exhausting and involve unsociable hours, but the buzz you get from seeing guests happy, or seeing your team smile when a great review comes in, makes it all worthwhile.
I always knew that hospitality was the industry for me. I started working part-time as a waitress in a coffee shop when I was 14 and just loved the positive impact you could have on someone’s day: simply by giving them a smile and asking how they are (a nice big slice of cake helps too!). Since then, I’ve had a number of roles in the industry and loved them all so much, and I decided to undertake a degree in Hospitality, Leadership & Management at Leeds Metropolitan University. As part of this, I had the opportunity to spend six months on a placement at a private country club in Miami. If I’m ever lucky enough to have the opportunity to work internationally in the future, I’d pick Dubai – I love the thought of living and working by the beach, but still being in the vibrant city. The sunny weather would be nice too!
Travelling for work, whilst an amazing opportunity, comes pretty naturally to me. Growing up, my father was in the military, this meant I got to spend my childhood exploring different areas and constantly meeting new people. I was born in Suffolk before moving to Germany and then to a small town in North Yorkshire before relocating to Guildford for three years to complete my graduate scheme.
After university, I then went on to complete The Principal Graduate scheme in a hotel in the south of England. It gave me a great insight into several roles and how they’re all integral to the successful running of a hotel – it really does take an entire team! A grad scheme is a great way to understand more about an industry, especially if you’re undecided on what the right role for you might be.
I would definitely recommend hospitality to anyone who wants to be able to go home each day with a sense of satisfaction. Seeing guests have their expectations exceeded every day fills me with great pride and makes me love what I do. We also get to spend our days in beautiful hotels – what could be better than that?