Breakfast chef reaches 30 years of sizzling service

1138893_354_MARRIOTT_DUO_SR_2/11/11'The manager of the Marriott Hotel at North Harbour with Brett Whitelock (left) and Pravin Perema (right) who have been at the hotel since it opened 20 years ago.''Picture:Steve Reid 113893-354

1138893_354_MARRIOTT_DUO_SR_2/11/11'The manager of the Marriott Hotel at North Harbour with Brett Whitelock (left) and Pravin Perema (right) who have been at the hotel since it opened 20 years ago.''Picture:Steve Reid 113893-354

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HE’S rustled up breakfasts for thousands of guests over the past three decades.

Now Marriott Hotel chef Brett Whitelock, 50, is to be recognised today for his long service in the kitchen.

He started work in December 1980 when the hotel – then a Holiday Inn – opened on the Southampton Road site in Portsmouth.

Starting at the same time was assistant chief engineer Pravin Preema, 58, who has ensured the hotel is in tip-top shape from day one.

Both will be recognised at the hotel’s 30th anniversary reception today.

The pair have fond memories of their combined 60 years of service and say they are proud of the time they have spent doing their jobs.

Mr Whitelock joined the hotel aged 19 and recalls leaving a long-standing impression after his interview.

‘As I left the building, I turned the wrong way and walked through wet cement!’ said Mr Whitelock. ‘I’m not sure if my footprints are still there as the hotel has changed so much over the years.

‘I also remember Gary Numan staying at the hotel and I was a huge fan of him.

‘Through my job as breakfast chef, I have got to know customers and their requirements, but the time has flown so quickly.

‘I love travelling, and this job has enabled me to stay in Marriott Hotels in Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, Australia and Brussels over the years.’

Mr Preema joined the chain after completing his apprenticeship as an electrician at St Mary’s Hospital.

He said: ‘I have stayed here for this long because of the people and the staff.

‘The people I meet are always different; different religions and ethnicities. You also get lots of celebrities, footballers, groups and pop stars coming to stay.

‘I remember Chuck Berry, Cliff Richard, Rolf Harris and Steve Davis here.

‘There are some guests who return here after so many years and say “hey, I remember you! You’re still here!”’

More than 150 guests are set to attend today’s reception.

The hotel prides itself on being part of the Portsmouth community and raised funds last year to help Mary Rose School in Southsea open a sensory garden.

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