Rene Ravel, Restaurant Manager
I always wanted to travel and from observing my brothers’ career in catering, I found something I really wanted to do. I decided to get my qualifications and start discovering the world. I attended a hotelier college for 5 years and earned four degrees in hotel management, by doing this I was able to gain practical experience as well as the theory.
Employment in 5 star hotels in Paris, Switzerland and England followed after leaving college but this was just the beginning. Two years working at various locations around the world for Club Mediteranee, then a year out to do military service, which involved flying around the world accompanying French Ministers. After this I returned to 5 star hotels and eventually went back around the world but this time on cruise ships. During my years I progressed from bus boy to maitre d’ being in charge of 3 Restaurants, 5 bars and a team on 36. I met my future wife on board and decided to set down some roots. We bought a business in West Cumbria and after 10 years sold it as we wanted to start a family. I joined the North Lakes Hotel & Spa in 2006 where I now look after the Restaurant and cafe.
Doug Hargreaves, Head Chef
I’ve worked for Thwaites Hotels for many years. I started in the summer of 1994 as an apprentice chef at the Oaks Hotel in my home-town of Burnley (yes, I am a staunch Burnley fan!) After completing my qualifications, I expanded my experience by working in the kitchens of many Thwaites properties; Cottons Hotel, The Crown at Wetheral and The Aztec Hotel. I took my first head chef position at the Millstone at Mellor, then held head chef positions at Kettering Park Hotel, Thorpe Park Hotel, and finally joined North Lakes Hotel in November 2010. I’m married to Shona, with a 3 year old daughter Halle, and I’ve made Cumbria my home.
Aberlardo Camacho – Senior Sous Chef
Originally from El Puerto de Santa Maria (Cadiz) in Spain, I joined North Lakes Hotel in the summer of 2004 as I’d wanted to travel the UK and improve my language skills. Eleven years later I’m still with Thwaites and I’ve been promoted up through the ranks to become Doug’s “right hand man”.
I’m a former international cycling champion, and I’m one of the rare chefs that actually uses the gym at North Lakes Hotel! I’ve recently completed the Thwaites’ internal Food and Drink Academy which saw me study for 2 years to complete a B-TEC diploma. After a successful graduation I enjoyed a trip to Champagne, France to visit the house of our group Champagne supplier Louis Roederer, where I enjoyed lunch and a tour of the estate and region. I live locally with my partner Karen and two children, Abby and Dillan.
Clare Ross, Function Service Manager
I started my career as a chef, but I have always been a sociable person so decided to move to front of house, quickly moving up to become functions manager; a job I really love and have been doing for 26 years.