20 questions with Red Carnation Hotels managing director Jonathan Raggett
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
The harder you work, the luckier you are.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
At Red Carnation Hotels our motto is: “No request is too large, no detail too small”.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
The use of mobile phones in restaurants.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
West Ham’s ability to win football matches.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Scoring the winning goal for West Ham in an FA Cup Final.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
We’re in a much better place now than we were a few years ago.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“It’s a small world but I wouldn’t want to paint it”.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
I don’t believe that charity begins at home and think that the majority of people in the UK feel the same. A crisis such as Typhoon Haiyan demonstrates the concern that people have for their fellow humans regardless of where they live. Red Carnation Hotels support charities in the countries where we have hotels, for example we have raised more than half a million pounds for two charities in the UK – Starlight and The Great Ormond Street Hospital Tick Tock Club. I participated in a sponsored bike ride recently between London and Paris along with fellow hoteliers raising money for the industry’s benevolent fund, Hospitality Action; the event raised £40,000. But we’ve also supported international charity campaigns such as Breast Cancer Awareness and Movember and raised money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
I’d keep the carriage to myself and sleep well.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
A bento box at Nobu Park Lane.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Not before 6pm.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
A cup of tea before 6pm, a martini after.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I’m not a party animal.
Who is the most positive person you know?
New York restaurateur Danny Meyer.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
A bottle of Puligny-Montrachet.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A happy face.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I’d swap a car for a carbon fibre bicycle please.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I ran 10k with a bowl of red carnations on my head for charity.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Pictures of my children.
Jonathan Raggett has been the managing director of Red Carnation Hotels since 2000. The group includes sixteen four and five star boutique hotels, a gastro-pub and a South African inspired London restaurant.
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