Tribute to restauranteur Liz McGrath
My blog today is about a well-known name within the hospitality industry and my previous employer. The late Liz McGrath. She was an iconic hotelier. I met Liz when she was on a holiday cruise in 2005. I was her dedicated waitress during the duration of her stay onboard the Silver Whisper. We just clicked. I started working for Liz in January 2006.
In 2008, Liz received The Woman of the Year Award, in Washington during the annual Relais & Chateaux Congress. This was followed in 2010 by the Relais & Chateaux Garden Trophy, an award for The Cellars-Hohenort’s nine acres of beautiful gardens.
Liz was instrumental in bringing the annual Relais & Chateaux Congress to South Africa in 1996, and again in November 2010, when The Cellars-Hohenort hosted a gourmet dinner – a spectacular event, hosting many of the world’s Grande Chefs, who together were the proud possessors of 72 Michelin Stars. Executive Chef, Peter Tempelhoff, and his team received a standing ovation from these prestigious chefs, including Michael Roux, Raymond Blanc, and Patrick O’Connell from America. As a result of the amazing food served at this event, Peter Tempelhoff was awarded Grande Chef status. He is the third chef to receive this award in South Africa. It was Liz’s ultimate achievement in her Hotel career.
She took great pride in watching her staff grow and work their way up through the organization. And was regularly heard saying she was only as good as her team. She had an amazing gift of being able to pick the right staff that matched her positive can-do attitude.
Decor, food and gardening were Liz McGrath’s passions. She called them her addictions, and they helped her to create three magnificent properties, in exceptional locations. When you walk through the gardens of the Cellars-Hohenort, you are surrounded by ‘the Liz McGrath Rose’. This rose was hybridised in 2003 and named after this amazing woman. It radiates elegance, charm, and character.
Liz also published a cookbook in 2003 based on dishes from her three hotel restaurants. She sadly passed away on 24 January 2015 but her memory lives on across The Liz McGrath Collection.
“I admired her spirit, her vigour, and her business acumen, and of course her warmth. ” – Tony Jackman Journalist, playwright, and restaurateur.