Shambolic Hotel GB makes mockery of hospitality industry

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It promised so much. And delivered so little. As I feared, and strongly suspected, Hotel GB made a complete mockery of the hospitality industry. Or at least it did for the first 75 minutes that I watched before I could endure no more. 

During that time I saw young Natasha apparently crumble to the point of no return in just five hours prompting a scornful response from co-general managers Mary Portas and Gordon Ramsay. God forbid anyone might consider offering a bit of support.

I also discovered that in TV world it is perfectly acceptable to suggest that one can fully learn how to be a mâitre d' in just 30 minutes. Well gosh, if it's that easy I simply cannot understand why the industry has a skills shortage. Excellent front of house staff should be ten a penny. 
My retinas were then scarred by the sight of 'head of housekeeping' Kim Woodburn sexually accosting gym boss and host of Embarrassing Bodies Dr Chris Jessen in a manner that would be completely unacceptable had their genders been reversed.

The straw that broke the camel's back and made me switch off was witnessing Kim W pay a visit to a guest's bedroom to join in the party shenanigans going on inside. Because that's what heads of housekeeping do in the real world, is it? 

They lower their professional sheen for a glass of wine with a random guest? Possibly the most contrived and utterly ridiculous 'impromptu' bit of reality telly footage I've ever seen. 

In some ways, Hotel GB could actually be used as a training tool for the hospitality industry. It was a quick succession of lessons in what NOT to do, particularly in terms of people management. This is, quite honestly, unacceptable. Management skills are essential in virtually every profession ever in the history of work and careers. Ever. 

It is not unique to hospitality. It is the one area that I would have expected success from two individuals who have built up pretty decent business empires of their own. Yet despite all the swagger of the main protagonists' about their differing management styles, Portas and Ramsay let the side down. 

Just what the makers of Hotel GB are hoping to achieve is unclear to me. Cash raised in takings at the hotel will go to two amazing charities, Springboard and the Prince's Trust - both of which help disadvantaged young people into employment. But this is incongruous to the X Factor meets Big Brother meets the Apprentice style of the show.

Whereas the young men and women in Michel Roux Jr and Fred Sirieix's Art of Service became role models to their peers, inspiring a new generation into an industry that is so often overlooked, Hotel GB is unconcerned with its staff. They are presented as little more than props in this bizarre bit of programming.

Yes, there is the promise that two of them will bag themselves a job by the end of the week. But it's hard not to look at that as a half-arsed attempt to give this semi-scripted reality show an iota of credibility.

In case it isn't apparent, I am incredibly disappointed that my original fears were founded. I remain hopeful that things will improve as the week progresses but I am not optimistic.

There is one flash of silver lining to all this though. The Bermondsey Square hotel is getting oodles of exposure. You can be certain that a stay there after the TV crew and celebs have left will, by comparison at the very least, be a well managed and slick operation. Because let's face it, there is no way in hell anyone could get it much worse.

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Whilst #HotelGB has come in for some heavy criticism, most of it really does seem to be missing the mark.
I feel sorry for the applicants who have to endure poor management & leadership.
Sexual harassment, poor recruiting of HODs & poor training all make the painting of the industry in bad light.
Mary Portas has no hospitality background what so ever, so how is she a valid candidate as a co-GM? And as for Kim Woodburn, lets just say she hasn't got a clue about the service industry.

Yes, The Art of Service was a far better way of enlightening young people what hospitality is really about, but sadly plays second fiddle to #HotelGB in the headline grabbing stakes.

I'll watch a second episode before posting to the blog, but I'm not going to hold my breath for a radical improvement.

I think the current problem with cooking/food related shows on TV are the Production companies.

By that I mean that too many of the decision makers don't really understand the social and nurturing value of food or sacrifice caterers often make in the execution of our jobs.

First and foremost the food should be the star not the often repeated drama of berating somebody. A cooking program needs food loving producers and directors, not flaky ex Big brother crews looking for a train wreck. Shows like Iron Chef, are so stupid and do little to educate or enthuse people about cooking.

Secondly, I'm beginning to wonder what limits Mr Ramsay will go to just to be on TV?
I like many others would love to be cooking on TV, but not at any costs.

I will continue be choosy and watch programs like Raymond Blanc's recent tour back to France or similar programs from Rick Stein.


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