Case Study: The Staff Perspective

Monika Zurawska is Restaurant Director at Cottage in the Wood, a Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in Whinlatter Forest. Originally from Poland, Monika studied hotel management in Poland before travelling to the UK to do a year-long work placement in the Lake District 14 years ago. She has been living and working in Cumbria ever since.

Monika says, “There isn’t much of a culture for going out in Poland and I originally chose the UK because of its great reputation for eating out. Also, the fact that I knew how to speak English! My mum spent time here as a teenager and had said many positive things, so it was a natural move for me.

 “After my initial work placement at Holbeck Ghyll, I was invited to work here for another year. Later, I met my partner and there was something about the area that kept calling me back. I’ve now been at Cottage in the Wood since 2017.

 “Lots of guests have been asking me if I’m worried and whether I have applied for Settled Status. The truth is, I have a very relaxed approach to Brexit. Through my various jobs in Lake District hospitality, I have worked with colleagues from lots of European countries. Although I have heard of some people having problems with their applications, I found it very straightforward and I completed it online very easily.

 “I do think I’m in a stronger position than some others, because I’ve lived here for 14 years.  But who knows what will happen next?  Everyone is speculating about the future, so it’s difficult to know what to think. I will just have to wait and see how it all unfolds.”

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