A well-liked and respected head chef has retired after 30 years of service at the Old Hall Hotel in Buxton.
Jez Lath, 63, from Whaley Bridge, began working at the hotel in 1985 after a stint at the Skillet Restaurant in Hayfield, but he finally decided to hang up his chefs hat earlier this year.
He said: “I feel like I’ve grown along with the hotel.
“Both the opera festival and the G&S festival have helped the hotel grow into what it is today.”
He said one of the highlights of his job was meeting some of the stars of the opera shows who have stayed at the hotel over the years, although he admits he didn’t enjoy staying up until 2am to do the washing up!
“We didn’t have dishwashers back then of course - they really have made life easier,” he said.
Whilst he says he is enjoying his retirement, it was a less then happy reason that caused Jez to retire from the job.
He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June last year and underwent chemotherapy treatment.
He explained: “Everyone at the hotel was very supportive and I can’t thank them enough for that.”
A leaving party was held earlier this month, celebrating Jez’s contribution to the hotel over the years.
However, he says he is “on the mend” now after the treatment and is making the most of the Saturday evenings that he’s been missing for 30 years: “It’s nice to sit down and watch the television again - I’ve particularly enjoyed following shows like the X Factor and The Voice instead of having to record them all.”
Jez also hopes to see a few more football matches as a keen Witton Albion fan.
Another passion, and one which he shares with his wife Liz, is breeding Standard Poodles and showing them at shows around the country.
Some of their dogs have even triumphed at high-profile shows such as Crufts, where they won Best Puppy for the Standard Poodle in 2013.
“Attending the dog shows helped me and my wife keep it together - I’d be out until late at the hotel and she’d be looking after the dogs,” Jez said.
He is also looking forward to spending more time with his wife, his daughter Melanie and grand-daughter Merryn.
His son-in-law Chris is a sergeant in the Light Dragoons regiment in the Army and has served around the world.