- General Manager
Wayne has extensive experience in the hotel industry including time spent at a private game lodge and abroad. He has been with the Oyster Box for eight years and is one of 30 employees retained from the old Oyster Box to oversee the opening of the new property, having undergone extensive training within sibling hotels in the Red Carnation Hotels Collection both in SA and overseas, during the two-year renovation period. Wayne’s passion for the ethos on which the original Oyster Box was based, continues to fuel his energies for providing outstanding service, as well as in his relationships with staff and guests alike.
- Executive Chef
Award-winning executive chef, Kevin Joseph has been at the Oyster Box for six years and is one of the original 30 staff retained during the refurbishment period. He started his career in the South African Navy where he received his basic chef training and since then has accumulated a wealth of hands-on experience at leading hotels in South Africa and around the world. These include The Peninsula Hotel in Cape Town, the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Michelin-starred ‘Tamarind’ and ‘Claridges’ Restaurants in London. He has spent the invaluable time in various hotels within the Red Carnation Hotels Collection including The Milestone and Summer Lodge Hotels in London, both with AA Rosette award-winning restaurants, and within South Africa’s Red Carnation portfolio, the international award winning Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat and the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. Kevin is a member of the South African Chef’s Association and the International Wine and Food Society. He is the current chairman of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) branch and was recently awarded a prestigious Blazon by the Chaîne.
- Conference and Events Manager
Jennifer has spent seven years honing her skills as a banqueting co-ordinator, two of which were spent on cruise ships including the Queen Mary 2.
She also spent a period doing hospitality recruitment, which deepened her understanding of the industry at every level.
Most recently she was events & operations manager at Suncoast Events, before taking on the position of senior banqueting co-ordinator at the newly opened Oyster Box.
- Spa Manager
Originally from the Eastern Cape, Jackie has been working in the spa industry internationally for the past 11 years. Her extensive experience includes assistance in developing an award-winning Eco Spa in Peru, Assistant Therapist Coordinator for a Leading Luxury Spa of the World in Egypt and working on luxury cruise ships in the Caribbean.
Following a stint as Spa Manager at an exotic spa resort on Kuredu Island in the Maldives for the Duniye Spa Group, she joined The Oyster Box as Spa Manager. Her passion for the spa industry has led her to continue studies in the field of eastern and western modalities.
- Food and Beverage Manager
Born in the UK, Michael has been working in the hospitality sector since 2002. Before joining the Oyster Box in 2014, Michael worked on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise liner and a four-star hotel and spa in the UK as Food and Beverage Operations Manager. Local experience includes stints at uShaka Marine World and The Hilton Hotel Durban.
- Trainee Sommelier
Hailing from the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, Trainee Sommelier at The Oyster Box, Billet Magara, says he has always been interested in and fascinated by wine, visiting wineries and chatting to industry experts, when he was growing up.
At The Oyster Box Billet has found his passion in his work, and is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming a fully-fledged Sommelier, studying simultaneously with the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust (WSET) and the Cape wine Academy (CWA).
Billet’s days are busy and demanding and involve stock control of the Cellar and Vinoteque, as well as the management of the temperatures of all the wine storage and fridges. ‘Walking the floor’, chatting to guests and lending advice and recommendations for the perfect food and wine pairing, are all part of the job, for the Sommelier at the five-star Oyster Box.
Billet says he “loves meeting people from various parts of the world and different cultures”, and feels as if he gets the chance “to visit places that I may never get to visit, through our guests.” He rates being able to share new wine tasting experiences with guests and bringing people together over good food and wine, as the highlights of his job.
- Executive Housekeeper
As Executive Housekeeper at The Oyster Box, Michelle Kocke brings extensive experience, at all levels of the hospitality industry, to the position.
From running dive operations in Mozambique, to the management of a hotel in Swaziland, front and back operations at leading hotels in Cape Town, Michelle has hands-on experience in operations and management. Her expertise and understanding of the real issues ‘behind the scenes’, coupled with her eye for detail, are all essential attributes that contribute to the success of a property of this stature.
- Human Resources Manager
Sharmaine has over 15 years of human resource experience, as well as an MBA in HR Management, under her belt. With much of her previous career involvement being garnered in the leisure / Casino industry, she brings a deep level of skill and understanding to her demanding role in hospitality at The Oyster Box.
- Deputy General Manager
Tyler’s hotel career started 16 years ago as a receptionist at the Sandton Sun Hotel in Gauteng, where she was involved in the opening of the Sandton Towers Hotel for the Southern Sun Hotel Group. From receptionist, to executive floor attendant to duty manager, the ‘hotel bug’ had bitten. In 1997 she moved over to the Hilton Hotel in Sandton as executive floor manger, progressing to assistant front office manager and shortly thereafter to front office manager. Tyler spent 10 years with the Hilton group gaining valuable experience travelling and training regionally and internationally. She was part of the opening management team of The Oyster Box in 2009.
- Resident Cat
Skabenga (which means hooligan or vagabond in Zulu), the resident cat at The Oyster Box, has made Umhlanga’s ‘grand old dame’ his permanent home, for over10 years.
It all started when he wandered onto the property as a stray, was fed tasty (expensive!) titbits (prawns & seafood!) by the guests and he never left, except briefly during the building operations when he was cared for by a cat-lover over the two year renovation period.
- Front Office Manager
Geoffrey Bergh-Lloyd, joined the Oyster Box management team from Trump International Hotel & Towers in Chicago, where he worked for two years, as Night Relief and then, Housekeeping Manager.
Born and educated in South Africa, Geoffrey completed his formal hospitality education at NQtac Hotel School in George. During his career Geoffrey has worked at all levels of hotel operations. From front office receptionist, to night manager, front office service manager and acting fron office manager.
Bergh-Lloyd’s South African experience has been garnered at some of the country’s most prestigious five-star properties. These include the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Cape Town, where he spent three years cutting his teeth and where he got his first management experience and then a two-year stint at African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, leaving to pursue an opportunity to gain international hotel experience in the USA.
- Wedding Planner
Hailed as the ‘Conference Guru’ Ginny Eslick successfully managed and implemented some of the largest conferences that have taken place in Durban.
Ginny has been the Wedding Consultant for The Oyster Box since 2010 and says that her passion for what she does, combined with the logistics experience gained from working on conferences and events, contributes to her success. Working closely with a number of hotel departments, Ginny likens her role to that of a conductor of an orchestra, pulling all the elements together and offering the bridal couple an exceptional experience.
- Executive Sous Chef Pastry
Joanita Venter started her career as a Trainee Chef at Alpine Heath Resort & Conference Village. This was followed by a stint as Chef de Party at Shamwari Game Reserve, before her first move into the ‘major league’, at the Sandton Convention Centre.
In 2006, she joined Tsogo Sun Elangeni as Executive Sous Chef/ Pastry Section. Joanita was part of the opening team at The Oyster Box in 2009 and together with her Team, is responsible for producing all the pastries and baked goods for the hotel’s various restaurants and facilities, including the daily High Tea.
In 2013, Joanita won the Confectionary Showcase title at the prestigious Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year Competition.
- Maitre’d - The Grill Room
Maitre’d of the Grill Room, Hendry Pakiri is still hard at work, after 50 years! Almost as famous as the hotel itself, his reputation for making Crepes Suzettes, Flambés and Steak Tartare is legendary. Hendry has met and waited on almost every celebrity that has visited the hotel including Cliff Richard, Prince Albert & Princess Charlene of Monaco, former President FW de Klerk and comedian, Leon Schuster.
Hailing from Verulam, Hendry started his relationship with the hotel in 1964, as a waiter in the children’s dining room. Hendry says the best thing about his job is that while it is different every day, he looks forward to seeing ‘the regulars’, that return time and again. Many of them have been dining in The Grill Room for so long that Hendry knows exactly what they are going to order without even asking them!
- Maintenance Manager
Jonathan is responsible for all the maintenance and mechanical repairs for the hotel. This includes the electrics, fire sprinkler systems, water pumps, pipe-work, air-conditioning and the Building Management System. His role also includes all the landscaping aspects of the luscious gardens and the protection of the indigenous flora. In addition,
management of the maintenance team and liaison with outside contractors fall into his realm of responsibility.
Jonathan is the custodian for The Oyster Box’s green programme and environmental initiatives and the implementation of these at all levels of the operation.
- General Manager Sales, Red Carnation Hotels South Africa
Sally has extensive experience in the hospitality and travel industries, having spent the past 20 years, in various capacities, working within the Thompsons Travel Group. Most recently she has held the position of General Manager: Global Sales for Thompsons Africa and brings a wealth of skill and experience to developing both the international and domestic travel markets on behalf of the Red Carnation Hotel Group portfolio. She is integrally involved in the day to day running of the business, from formulating strategy, to the building of the brand, establishing and maintaining relationships with Clients. Based at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, Sally is responsible for the Sales of all the Red Carnation Group’s South African operations.