Functions and Office Manager
Lucille Pillay, started with us a server, then receptionist and is now our functions and office manager.
I was very fortunate & blessed to work at a few beautiful 4 & 5 star properties in the US, of which the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, CA, is the most significant. This Historical Landmark is where I gained some of the most valuable and life changing experiences of my career in Hospitality. I worked with and interacted with people from all over the world & this has made me appreciate and value diversity in the work place even more. Most of my colleagues became family to me and I am so grateful for my time with them.
How did you get to join the 9th Avenue team?
I had always admired 9th Avenue Bistro and when I came back to SA, I was craving good old French cuisine. San Francisco is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines and the food scene is amazing. 9th is on par with some of the best of them, including Luce, which is a 2 Michelin starred restaurant at the Intercontinental San Francisco, sister property to the Mark Hopkins. I was so proud that Durban had such a world class gem and wanted to be a part of the team. When I heard they were hiring and for such a beautiful location, I of course jumped at the chance to apply and am glad that I did.
When I was at the Mark, I managed 12 meeting rooms and 14 ball rooms, all of varying sizes. The largest being the Peacock Court that could accommodate 250 guests. At any given time, the hotel was abuzz with a multitude of different functions, including cooperate meetings, parties and weddings. At the time, as is common in Hospitality, we had a turnover of managers and it was just me and my Director juggling all our events together and was just amazing….stressful but still amazing. We hosted Fortune 500 companies like AT& T & JP Morgan Chase, to name a few. Each function was different and had it’s own challenges and rewards. I had to always adapt and think on my feet, which was quite wonderful for me as there was never a boring day at work. That was the best part of being in operations. At 9th, functions are on a smaller scale, however, no less detailed and sometimes challenging as you are working with many different variables in one beautiful space. I love bringing the whole function together. All the attention to detail and planning, coordinating with my fellow colleagues….it’s a great process. The best part is to see it all come together and to hear the appreciation and gratitude from your guests. That for me is so heart-warming and rewarding as I have always loved helping people. That is the essence of Hospitality.
I have always had a love to explore and try different foods as my parents encouraged us to be open minded at an early age. At 4 years old, my favourite dish was escargot. My mum was a great cook and she taught me a lot about food. At her encouragement, I started traveling to enrich my career in hospitality and this allowed me to experience so many other wonderful and amazing cuisines. China Town, Japan Town, Little Italy, Russian Hill, Little Saigon….only a few of San Francisco’s colourful and eclectic neighbourhoods. It is so rich, with an array of cultures and flavours, so it’s difficult for me to pick one, but I would say I love Vietnamese food. Fresh, flavourful, well balanced and some of the healthiest food you can eat. The French influence also adds a wonderful depth. My favourite was a delicious steaming bowl of Pho on a cold & foggy San Francisco afternoon.