Meet the Team at the heart of Ednam House Hotel
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.
And nowhere is this more evident than at Ednam House. Located bang in the middle of Kelso, dubbed Scotland’s ‘most beautiful town’ by Sir Walter Scott, Ednam House Hotel is a characterful country house-style hotel with 33 bedrooms, a highly acclaimed AA rosette restaurant and a thriving conference and banqueting business – plenty to keep newly appointed General Manager Tomasz Swiderski and his team busy.
With many members of the team having personally clocked up over 10 years’ hospitality experience, there’s very little that fazes them. For even when they’re stretched, there’s still a smile and a warm welcome. We wanted to take a few minutes to introduce the team. Here’s a glimpse into what makes Ednam House and the local area special for us and our favourite haunts.
Tomasz Swiderski, General Manager
You get to wear many hats being a hotel general manager. Which aspect of the job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the most when I see happy staff and happy guests. Guest service is something we try to improve every day and it’s very rewarding to see the effects.
What was your route to becoming a hotel General Manager?
My route was very long. I started when I was 17 years old in a 3-star hotel as a waiter during the summer. Through the years in the hospitality business, I’ve had the chance to work in different departments including restaurant, reception, and housekeeping. During my time at university, I also worked in a tour operator company, car rental and at the airport. In the last 10 years, I occupied various managerial positions from being a duty manager, food and beverage manager, deputy general manager to a general manager role.
What motto you live by?
I have a couple actually: “Don’t let fear stop you and let faith guide you.’’ and ‘’ To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”-O. Wilde.
Tell us something, not many people know about you.
I have travelled to 22 countries so far, I am a wildlife photographer and I like to surf when the weather conditions are good on the East Coast.
What advice do you wish you’d been given about working in hospitality?
No matter what, expect the unexpected.
A little-known fact about the hotel?
In around 1940 Ednam House had a tennis court located in the garden.
Shirley Gillie, Reservations & Reception
Favourite bedroom in the hotel?
Room 18 – Bright and airy.
Favourite walk to take the family?
Floors Castle riverside walk.
Number one recommendation to do while staying at the hotel?
Visit the Floors Castle and take in the history.
Favourite dish on the menu?
Twice-baked cheese soufflé.
Favourite season and why?
In spring, all the daffodils, tulips and other bulbs are out in the Ednam gardens and it looks stunning.
Ally Bell, Head Chef
Best season from a chef’s perspective?
Summer; I love the freshness of the flavours and I love cooking light dishes. Although I do enjoy the earthy flavours that autumn brings.
Your favourite dish on the menu?
Roe deer. It’s a lovely dish with the roe deer and pheasant shot within 5 miles of the hotel, super lean and melts like butter.
Did you always want to be a chef?
Yes. I always enjoyed the food as a child and the fact that no one at home could really cook made me learn faster!
What do you take inspiration from when creating a menu?
From eating out with my wife and brainstorming and trialing new dishes with my team.
Proudest career achievement?
Hard to say. I’m very proud of the changes that have been made here at Ednam in the past 6 years. Also, it’s great to watch team members progress and their skill sets grow.
What piece of advice would you give anyone wanting to embark on a career as a chef?
It’s a great career and you can really make a mark and a difference in a business. All you need is keenness, a good working attitude and a willingness to learn.
Louise Taylor, Wedding & Events Manager
What’s special about working at Ednam House?
Aside from the people, it’s the building itself. It has so much history and amazing features.
Most rewarding element of the role?
Bringing a couple’s vision of their wedding day to reality and knowing that you’ve played a part in one of their most important days.
Favourite thing to do locally?
Taking our dogs on riverside walks
Favourite season and why?
Summer. What’s not love about summer? Sun shining, everybody is happy and the lighter nights…absolute bliss.
Sharon Munro, Head Housekeeper
Most enjoyable part of your role?
The most enjoyable part of my role is taking the responsibility for not just maintaining, but consistently improving the standards to the highest possible level.
Favourite spot in the hotel?
My favourite spot in the hotel must be the grounds looking onto River Tweed, it’s just a magical and beautiful spot.
Favourite spot in the Scottish Borders?
Standing at the top of the Eildon Hills looking out over the countryside.
Where are we most likely to find you outside of work?
At my home with my family. Hopefully sitting in my garden with a glass of wine!
Richard Handley, Restaurant Manager
Most enjoyable part of the role?
Working with the general public – we get to meet a lot of characters.
Favourite dish on the menu?
Locally sourced loin of roe deer. Hard for me to choose anything else when venison is on the menu.
Strangest request from a guest?
No truly bizarre requests but once a guest came down from his room and asked me to tie his shoelaces before going out.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Anything so long as I get to work with people.
Favourite tipple and best place to enjoy it within the hotel?
Single Malt anywhere with a view of the River Tweed.