Stephen Gow, general manager of The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen has become the only Scottish hotelier to be welcomed into the Master Innholders following this year’s round of applications.

Stephen Gow is one of only four new Master Innholders in 2022. The Master Innholders organisation champions the development and education of the next generation of hospitality professionals.


In addition to his ‘day job’, Stephen Gow is chairman of Hospitality Apprenticeship North East and chairman of the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, as well as vice chair of Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association, founder director of VisitAberdeen and committee member of Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland’s Grampian council. He is currently involved in the creation of an apprenticeship for chefs to combat the current shortages of staff across the North East of Scotland. He is known for his drive for hospitality professionals to combine and share collective learnings.


Stephen says, “The Master Innholders is a prestigious force within the hotel sector and is recognised as a standard bearer for the hospitality industry. There is no doubt that the hospitality industry is a highly competitive environment, but there is also a huge degree of support between hoteliers to support each other and their local economy. I am honoured to take a role in giving back to the industry in which I’ve worked since leaving school and to play a part in encouraging the next generation of talent.”


With a chef father, parents who met while working at the same hotel - ending up as hoteliers themselves, and a grandmother who bought a hotel in St Andrews in 1936, it’s perhaps no surprise that Stephen ended up in the hospitality industry.


Stephen was the last ever direct trainee taken on by British Transport Hotels – the once esteemed group which pioneered the concept of railway hotels less than two years into Queen Victoria’s reign and which owned flagships such as Gleneagles and The Caledonian in Edinburgh. Stephen’s baptism in the hospitality industry was 18 months in the kitchens of the capital’s North British Hotel (now The Balmoral).


However, it was the privatisation of the railways and the sale of the hotel group and the Falklands war which conspired against his next move. With the offer of work in Paris all that stood in his way was applying for his first passport. However, the issue of passports to young British men was put on hold due to the possibility of conscription in the Falklands War. His career since then has taken him to hotels in Greenock and Hawaii, Perth and Inverness and Aberdeen and London.


Stephen returned to work in Aberdeen from London in 2017 to take up the role of general manager of The Chester Hotel.


The Master Innholders organisation is committed to promoting education and development within the hotel sector through programmes including the Master Innholders Aspiring Leaders’ Diploma, the Innholders’ Scholarship, the Hotel Leadership Conference, MIDAS and their mentoring scheme. Being part of the MI community means hoteliers will be providing opportunities to give back to the industry and support the next wave of talent.


Commenting on the new Master Innholders, David Morgan-Hewitt FIH MI, chairman of the Master Innholders said: “I am immensely proud to welcome these four new members to the Master Innholders. Each has shown overwhelming passion and dedication for hospitality and are making valuable contributions not only to their own hotels, but to the industry as a whole. Congratulations to each of our new Master Innholders!”


The Chester Hotel


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