Viktorija Paplauskiene, Hilton Dubai Creek’s Table 9 restaurant manager, has been unveiled as this year’s winner of Caterer Middle East’s prestigious Restaurant Manager of the Year award.

Celebrating at the award’s event, which took place last night at Dubai’s Ritz-Carlton DIFC, Paplauskiene, who was presented the award by Haitham Ali representing Horeca, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, said: “This is fantastic. We put so much hard work in, it is great to be recognised.”

Described as an individual who “pours herself into her job despite any impact it might have on her personal and social life,” Paplauskiene scooped this year’s Caterer Middle East Award for her personable character that has transformed the service at the restaurant from a formal to a relaxed, approachable style.

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During her time as manager of the eatery, Paplauskiene has successfully implemented a table management system that allows different users to track bookings and has also been instrumental in building a database of email subscribers for promotions that now accounts for 25-30% of event bookings.

The Table 9 manager also assists in other areas of the hotel’s F&B operation and was integral in changing over product stock and inventory management for all of the hotel outlets' alcohol products to a new supplier.

Speaking specifically about the role she said: "The restaurant manager is the ambassador of the chefs. When the restaurant opens, the chef has a clear idea of what he wants to deliver. The role of the restaurant manager is to make that vision come to life through good leadership. If you as a restaurant manager are enthusiastic and believe in something, your team will follow."

A close runner up in the Manager of the Year category who received a worthy Highly Commended from the judges was Uday Goel of Ushna Abu Dhabi. Goel received the commendation for his, “excellent customer service and his continual yearning to be the best.”