meet alina lupelet - cottons Camden's general manager
In this field of work predominantly hospitality establishments are overrun by men. From the floor staff to management and even to the kitchen. However, Cottons has its own international General Manager I’d like to introduce.
With her different ideas and skills she has changed the standards of service and added to the legacy of Camden Cottons.
Being able to delegate, manage and lead staff can be a strenuousness task with all of the the diversity, age, and personality clashes.
Alina originates from Romania and speaks 5 languages. Which has been a great tool in connecting everyone and being able to help with communication barriers with staff and guests. I met with the General Manager to discuss some of the challenges and the vision that she would like for the Camden Cottons and potentially some of the ideas she thinks for the Cottons brand.
Alina has worked for Cottons for 2 years and I wanted to know what changes does she feel she has contributed to Camden?
“From my view, there has not been a long-standing management, Camden brings a lot of challenges which has resulted in the change management and no signature put down to establish themselves. Therefore, I felt the best move was to create a managerial signature of standards and to create the idea of a comfortable vibrant establishment not just based on the cuisine a décor, but the service and the management”.
Leading on from that I wanted to know more about the flagship Cottons. Camden branch was the first of the Caribbean restaurants established in 1985 and is 30 years old. Furthermore, knowing that Cottons has so much history, I wondered if Alina had any ideas of where they think Cottons will be in 5 years?
“Opening a Cottons outside of London, would be great to bring brand awareness and cultural experience”.
With the original vision being cemented into the foundation since 1985, the surrounding area has changed considerably over the years with the demographic being more Punk and market stalls selling antiques and items of that nature to the current era of social media, technology, restaurants and even building styles changed. Following on from this I wanted to find out what she enjoyed about working at Cottons and what is her favourite dish and why?
“Salt fish fritters, rice and peas with jerk chicken or oxtail because, they are traditional classics and have the best blend of spices''.
Alina's favourite drink to coincide with these dishes is KoKo Sop a mixture of coconut cream, passionfruit and Havana Rum.
In Lupulet's time working at Cottons it was only fair to ask what is the difference for each sight and her thoughts were;
“The location and clientele is a big factor for example, Shoreditch is a more a fast pace style restaurant as the space is smaller, Camden being the flagship is more relaxed and has a lots of tourists and locals who’ve lived in the area for a long time. Vauxhall being one of the largest is very corporate and business orientated by the style and being on the Thames creates a big drinking ambience and social spacing. However, Nottting Hill is presented in a an up market styling”.
The final question I asked was if there was an event that has yet to be done, that she would want to host at Camden?
“Traditional Caribbean weddings with all the flare and theatrics that come with the mix cultures and blends''.
From my time of meeting Alina to the end of the meeting I can see she has big goals and vision for Cottons Camden.
I can believe that she would bring some innovation and change to get further and push the management team.
BY MARA MULLINGS
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