Kudos to a great chef!
It was an emotion-filled atmosphere in which a letter penned by an American couple was read aloud, heaping praises on chef Stephanie Taylor for making their Jamaican vacation their all-time favourite.
The commendations were in order for Taylor, a 26 year-old who is employed to Secrets Resorts and Spas, located in Montego Bay.
Derek and wife Nadia's unreserved level of gratitude earned Taylor the winning prize for the 'Wow' story of the September-December 2015 quarter. She was presented with a 32" LED TV during the resort's recent Annual Employee and Leader Awards banquet.
The experience began when the Motes vacationed at Secrets. Derek suffers from celiac disease and has severe reaction to gluten-based foods.
On their first night, having requested that the waitress Isheika Newman allow him to speak with the chef, he explained his condition to Chef Stephanie.
He was concerned about whether she could perfect all his meals during their stay. To their amazement, they were.
"Absolutely the greatest level of service and food we have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. I was blown away by the taste and texture of the food. She did an amazing job," Derek wrote.
Taylor said she was surprised at being rewarded. "The guests pay our salaries, so it is natural for me to go above and beyond to satisfy them. Secrets, on the other hand, allows you to grow. The management makes you feel wanted. My boss, Lyndon Lawrence, is the best."
Trip Advisor was abuzz with comments after Derek placed his review on the popular travel website. This resulted in several future travellers requesting in advance that Taylor be their personal chef once they have checked in at the twin resorts.
"I didn't realise that gluten could have such an impact on some persons, so once it was explained to me, I went all out to specially and carefully prepare their meals, using all-natural ingredients. It was my duty to ensure that I perfected every single meal. I believe every food you serve should wow the guests," Taylor said.
Derek said he was very impressed that although she was off duty for three nights, she made arrangements with other staff members to cater to his specific needs and they followed through precisely until she resumed duties.
"At the Italian restaurant, I had fillet steak and gluten-free pasta - which isn't the easiest thing to cook - but they nailed it to perfection. We would go back to Secrets Resorts tomorrow, if for nothing else, for the food to be prepared by Chef Stephanie and her team," Derek said.