The reward of our work is not what we get, but what we become.
– Paulo Coelho
On a little hilltop on a Friday evening, a light drizzle danced against the window panes like to a well-timed nocturne. As the rain glistened in warm mood against the cool night, Eliterate.Asia sat down with the General Manager of The British Club, Mr Sean Boyle, for a private dinner at The Mountbatten Room.
Settling into pre-dinner champagne and nibbles, the inability to detect any ruthless pragmatism comes as a quiet surprise, considering someone whose accomplishments, in less than 5 years of taking over the helm of the British Club, is becoming quite a stir in the industry.
Winning The General Manager of the Year for Exclusive Club, and the Best 5 Star Club Restaurant of the Year – The Mountbatten Room, both awards bore empirical evidence of change initiatives activated and carefully executed to re-position the club.
Since one’s position is hardly separated from one’s personality, the awards won is no mean feat for several reasons. Observing the communication between Sean and his staff shows a fluidity of instructions and ideas exchanging at comfortable pace. Putting together the right leadership team shows the most critical skill a leader needs to have, and that is, a capacity to lead change.
Yet Sean does not rest on his laurels with the awards won, on the contrary, he is always brimming with ideas and inviting staff to feedback on how to take the club to the next level, on what are the things need to be done, or can do more, in order to raise the bar in terms of customer service, titillating culinary experience, membership drive, club positioning, and taking the right direction. Together with making tough choices, and no mention of cost cutting, Sean’s style leaves little room for staff on the outside, looking in.
One staff who is definitely not looking in, is executive chef Sunny Sia whose personality & candor is reflected in his dynamic and sophisticated taste buds, and one who does not soften his words for the sake of decorum and courtesy. His passion is reflected in his description of appetiser dish of pan seared Hokkaido scallops just arrived that day, served with pork & fennel sausage, instead of the conventional blood sausage pairing. The main course of Atlantic cod fillet with teriyaki sauce and crispy ginger topping carries an equal doneness to be relished in slow bites. As for the crispy skin, it is simply beyond this world.
Dinner did not end with vanilla crème brulee and fresh berries without being treated with a walking tour around the club’s hallways bearing significant historical memorabilia and peering at wall full of framed photographs in Sean’s office. Too busy squinting for a recognisable face at the wall framed photographs, the writer overlooked a permanent fixture of a young lad with a full head of hair.
It is comforting to recount how one from an Irish family in England, who had lived in council housing and walked 5 miles to school; worked in 5-star hotels and rose through the ranks to play host to the late Dame Margaret Thatcher, the royal family of Brunei, the former Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and various respected political leaders in the region.
The private dinner indeed did not end with desserts, but with a friendship where one can reconnect with a warm welcome, filled with magic moments, and alas, no fond farewell needed.
Congratulations, Sean !
The General Manager of the Year for Exclusive Club Category – Mr Sean Boyle
This award was decided by approximately 10,000 voters. Voters must have visited the Club more than 3 times, and were asked to vote on their experience to-date and their direct interaction and overall impression of the General Managers.
The British Club Singapore’s General Manager, Mr. Sean Boyle was the obvious winner out of 6 General Managers, with 2,500 voters leading to him being awarded The General Manager of the Year for Exclusive Club Category.
The 6 General Managers in this category are from the following 6 Clubs- Tanglin Club, American Club, Sentosa Golf Club, Laguna Country Club, Singapore Island Country Club, Jurong Country Club.
<Quote from the National Critics Choice: The British Club Singapore’s General Manager, Mr. Sean Boyle is the obvious winner in The General Manager of the Year for Exclusive Club Category, with many whom have met him, complimenting him on his personable interaction with Members and Guests of the Club. He bears the hallmark of a great leader and under his good stewardship, The British Club Singapore has heighted its presence in market and embedded a lasting impression as The Exclusive Club of The Year.>
Best 5 Star Club Restaurant of the Year– The Mountbatten Room
Restaurants in this category were judged based on factors including the management’s efficiency, staff turn-over, the menu, wine list and level of customer service.
The critics were particularly impressed by the “impeccable customer service” in The Mountbatten Room, making the exclusive fine-dining restaurant a clear winner. “Chef of Cuisine of the month for Private Clubs” was also awarded to Chef Desmond Lim, from The Mountbatten Room.
Located on the second highest peak in Singapore, the Mountbatten Room at The British Club offers exquisite fine-dining food served by personable staff, and an amazing view of the city.