Meet the team

Meet Des

He’s known as London’s restaurant king, and it’s safe to say that D&D Chairman & CEO Des Gunewardena is your man when it comes to all things hospitality. Lucky for us he’s dished all, on his favourite restaurants, the biggest challenges of his career and even offered his most important piece of advice for budding restaurateurs…

Susanne Traudt


Susanne comes to South Place Hotel from the Royal Exchange, where as Operations Manager she oversaw all-day dining in the Grand Café, fine dining in Sauterelle restaurant, and corporate events for up to 800 people. Prior to that, Susanne worked at the Connaught Hotel, having arrived in London from her native Germany in 2006. At South Place, Susanne oversees all of the operations in the hotel, restaurants and bars, including room service, private dining and events.

Gary Foulkes


Gary has 12 years’ experience of cooking and working in some of the UK’s most highly-acclaimed establishments. Beginning his career under the guidance of Richard Neat and Gary Rhodes, he has also held positions at The Vineyard at Stockcross and William Drabble’s Aubergine. Gary then progressed to head chef at The Square, the two Michelin-starred Anglo-French restaurant in Mayfair, prior to taking the helm of Angler in April 2016.

Guy Betteridge


Starting his career at the luxury five-star hotel, The Grove, Head Chef, Guy Betteridge went on to work his way up through the Gordon Ramsay Group. From Commis Chef under Simon Gregory at the Boxwood Café in Knightsbridge, to Chef de Partie at the reopening of The Savoy Grill, to Head Chef position at Heddon Street Kitchen. After eight years of service for Gordon Ramsey, Guy moved across to South Place Hotel as Head Chef, alongside Executive Chef, Gary Foulkes.

Amy Frank


Amy is passionate about all things weddings and celebrations and has grown 12 years of experience at varying venues over London, Surrey and Sussex to include South Lodge Hotel, Fulham Palace, Nonsuch Mansion, Andaz Liverpool Street and Chandos House to name a few. From confetti cannons, sparkling dance floors, ‘out of the box’ thinking to floral design, entertainment, live music and dream making! Your fairy godmother if you will…

Thomas Schuerch


As a Swiss in London, Thomas started his career at Swissotel, before moving to the UK where he has since worked for the last 13 years. Working in both high-end events, contract catering, as well corporate hospitality with Baxterstorey, Thomas has experienced a diverse career in the events industry before moving to South Place Hotel in 2017 to experience the energy and drive of all things food and beverage focused.

Jennifer Santner


Jennifer moved to London in 2011 from Switzerland, starting out at the Three-Michelin starred Waterside Inn before moving to the Fenchurch Restaurant within Sky Garden. She then went across town to Sketch where she oversaw the Two-Michelin starred Lecture Room and Library. Now at South Place Hotel as Restaurant Manager, Jennifer is an expert in all things fine-dining at the Michelin-starred Angler Restaurant.

Alessandro Giani

Head Sommelier

Alessandro moved to the UK in 2011, coming from the Campania region of Italy where he grew up on a vineyard and discovered his passion for wine. Alessandro joined the Swan Company at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, before joining Michelin-starred Angler, under the mentorship of the prominent French sommelier, Benoit Allauzen.

Charlotte Alcock

Marketing Manager

With a background in multi-channel communications,  Charlotte joined South Place Hotel from Pineapple Hotels, the sales and marketing agency representing a range of the world’s finest independent, five-star luxury hotels – including both London based hotels, One Aldwych and The Goring. Leading the marketing strategy for the hotel, Charlotte is a dynamic marketing professional.

Elisa da Silva

Director of Sales & Marketing

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Elisa has an international background and has worked at hotels in the US, Spain, Ireland and the UK. Recently joining from the InterContinental O2 as Director of MICE, Elisa has strong knowledge of the location, having previously working at the Andaz at London Liverpool Street.

Elisa believes there are three key ingredients needed for success: quality, adaptability and team spirit!

Nelson Barros

Head Pastry Chef

Nelson arrived in the UK in 1997, where he developed his passion for cooking, immediately starting his Chef NVQ apprenticeship. It was in 2003 when he developed his true passion for pastry, whilst working at the three Rosette restaurant, The Latymer. Since then, Nelson has worked in a variety of highly acclaimed restaurants throughout the UK, until 2017 when he was headhunted to join South Place Hotel as Head Pastry Chef. Nelson now features in the 2019, Bake Off: The Professionals on Channel 4.