A former chef whose career has taken him from the Michelin-starred Dorchester Hotel to Doha international airport has landed a job at a top care organisation.
Along the way Dale Hall has cooked for scientists in the Antarctic, been blown up by a mortar shell in Iraq and worked in logistics at a military base in Afghanistan.
The 62-year-old has a CV which also includes time spent in places from Aruba and Azerbaijan to Peru and Venezuela is now overseeing maintenance, house-keeping, catering and safety for Pendine Park who have eight homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon.
Dale, who now lives in Holywell, said: “I’ve been very lucky because I’ve been able to travel and work so extensively throughout the world, pretty much everywhere except Europe really.
“But I’m really happy now after Pendine Park saw my CV on line and interviewed me. It seems a perfect fit for me after years of working around the world.
“The team spirit and the sense of being one big family here just seemed like something I would really like to be a part of.”
Dale, who went to Prestatyn High School, originally trained as a chef at the former Kelsterton College in Flintshire and Llandrillo College, Rhos on Sea, before heading to London to work at the Hilton and the Dorchester.
He said: “It didn’t suit me there though and after coming home I took a job with the British Antarctic Survey and spent three years in the Antarctic as chef for the survey team through winters when the wind chill would drive temperatures to -100C.
“If you threw a pan of boiling water into the air it would be frozen before it hit the ground.”
On his return he moved into catering operations and then into logistics and facilities management which took him to Iraq hot on the heels of General Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf.
He said: “We had the job of renovating one of Saddam Hussein’s airports. The company I was with had the job of getting it back up to standard and as a training academy for the Iraqi air force.
“Then I was in a convoy and two vehicles in front of me were hit by a mortar attack which took out my car and damaged my left arm so I had to come home for six months before returning to spend another year out there.
“It was dangerous but people just ran on adrenaline and it just didn’t occur to me what the scenario was to be out there as the only civilian in charge of hundreds of Iraqis and alongside thousands of the US military.”
Summer temperatures in Iraq hit 56C but it got too hot when he and his Iraqi number two were put on a hit-list by insurgents and had to be flown out at short notice but Dale didn’t lose his taste for working in exotic and sometimes dangerous places.
His expertise in logistics has seen him spend four years in Afghanistan – a safer posting than Iraq, he says – as well as Hong Kong and the Far East, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Peru and Venezuela and the Shetland Islands.
Afghanistan saw him working at Bagram Air Base and Camp Bastion, household names now, but more recently he was in charge of cleaning and civil engineering at Doha International Airport for over three years.
He’s now renovating the home he has bought in Holywell, looking after his 87-year-old mum and enjoying the company of Oscar, a Jack Russell-Chihuahua cross and hoping to make use of the trailer-tent he bought when he returned to the UK just before the pandemic hit.
Working in care in North Wales might seem a far cry from the exotic and dangerous places his career has taken him but Dale said: “Pendine Park is a high quality organisation with the right aspirations and a really good code of practice.
“They want the best for their residents and staff, they’re very caring people which you don’t often find in the corporate world when you are so often just a number to the people at the top but here they’re a real family.”
Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “We are delighted to appoint somebody of Dale’s calibre and to welcome him as part of the team.
“His vast experience will be invaluable in maintaining our high standards here at Pendine for the benefit of our residents and staff.”
For more information on Pendine Park go to https://pendinepark.com/