Chef Herbie of Willowbank Bermuda
July 21, 2010
If you ever stayed at Willowbank resorts in Bermuda, you would probably never forget Herbie the breakfast chef, a man with gentle personality and warmth. One of the saddest days in Willowbank Bermuda, Herbie Knight has passed away. He was 79.
Kids often called him 'Uncle Herbie'. He worked in Willowbank for over 40 years. Many visitors would return to Willowbank for his passionate and friendly behavior. Willowbank
is a Christian hotel in Sandys Bermuda and offers religious retreat to its guests. Herbie joined the hotel some 41 years ago as the property manager fixing electrical problems, repairing roofs and patio buildings. However, his life wasn't as smooth as it appeared at Willowbank.
Earlier in his life, he passed through a long dark phase. He suffered from severe alcoholism and spent much of his time on streets, beaches and often at the hospitals. He got into a stage where doctors were almost giving up hopes. A board member of Willowbank, Dr. Dickinson met him in the hospital and invited him to a religious conference in Pennsylvania. It was there where Herbie found Christianity.
Back in Bermuda, he continued to receive treatment for alcoholism and finally he was out of it. Herbie was initially given the job of Property manager at the Willowbank which he did with great passion. One day, the breakfast chef did not turn up. He volunteered to prepare the breakfast. And since then, he remained as the breakfast chef at the Willowbank resorts.
Having become a deeply religious man, he never touched a drink in his last 40 years.
Till his last day at the kitchen, he would start at 4am and prepare the buffet breakfast himself. His typical menu included hot cereals, fresh fruit salad, yogurt, muffins or Danish pastries, bacon, ham, sausages, hash browns, French toast, waffles and pancakes.
Herbie was extremely popular with the children. He had a wardrobe full of varieties of colorful chefs clothes an hats that he loved to wear. The guests and children would often send him postcards and letters. Once a child sent his own photo with Herbie through another cruise passenger. The person came all the way to Somerset to hand over the photo to Herbie.
Herbie always used to say that the guests spend so much money to come to Bermuda for vacation. They must love every moment they spend here. His name came up twice in the House Of Assembly for his deep passionate contribution to Willowbank and tourism industry in general.
Terri Allison, manager at Willowbank said:
"Herbie represented the finest traditions in Bermudian hospitality. He brought a warmth, a humour to Willowbank, that brought a significant number of guests back to Bermuda over and over again. He not only was an excellent employee but he was an admirable man that was loved by all the people that worked here the staff, management and trustees of Willowbank. He will be sorely missed."
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