|By Anthony Cronin, The Day, New London, Conn.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 21, 2005 - MYSTIC -- John Trudeau and Juan Rivera don't see themselves as stars, but the state's lodging industry does.
Both Trudeau, executive chef of the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, and Rivera, housekeeping supervisor, have been honored as "Stars of the Industry" by the Connecticut Lodging Association and were feted during the association's awards dinner earlier this month in Hartford.
Trudeau was selected as "Outstanding Manager of the Year" and Rivera was named as "Outstanding Housekeeping Associate of the Year" by the Middletown-based trade group that represents the $2.7 billion lodgings industry in Connecticut. In addition, Adam's Garden of Eden in Pawcatuck, which provides floral displays for the hotel, was named as the industry's vendor of the year.
Greg Doyle, general manager of the Marriott hotel, said both Trudeau's and Rivera's strong work ethic and diverse skills made them stand out among the nominees submitted by the hundreds of hotels, motels and inns across the state.
Trudeau oversees a kitchen staff of 55, including four assistant chefs and a host of assistants providing food service to the hotel and its three restaurants. The 34-year-old executive chef admits that these days he does more managing than cooking, which he misses, but ensures that he still tastes everything that is prepared in his kitchens.
Trudeau has received numerous honors for his work at the Mystic Marriott, which is a top-rated AAA Four Diamond hotel. He also is one of only 12 executive chefs in North America to receive Marriott International's prestigious ACE award for his food and beverage skills. In addition to overseeing the cooking for thousands of guests at the hotel, Trudeau has cooked for former President George H.W. Bush and for Vice President Richard Cheney. The executive chef has been with the Mystic hotel since it opened in June 2001.
The 29-year-old Rivera, who has worked in a variety of positions in the hotel since joining last February, has been promoted to supervising its housekeeping staff. Rivera said he typically oversees more than a dozen housekeeping associates each day, ensuring the rooms are spotless and the hotel has a just-polished look.
He also wears an earpiece with his walkie-talkie, which he says he uses all day long. "We're a 'silent hotel,' so this makes it easier," he said of the earpiece and small microphone attached to his portable radio so he doesn't annoy guests.
Rivera, who has previously worked as a machinist, said he enjoys his hotel work and complimented the hotel's management for giving him the opportunity to advance during his tenure with the six-story upscale hotel on Route 117 in Groton.
"They let me learn as much as I want to, and they're always willing to teach," he said.
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Copyright (c) 2005, The Day, New London, Conn.
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