Yves Lafond is the new executive chef at Seven Mile Beach hotel Westin Casuarina.
Indeed, the Canadian has previous history with the Westin, having been chef at Casa Havana from 2006 to 2009 before taking up a position in Tampa. Mr. Lafond then spent a year in the banquet kitchen of the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which he said taught him a lot about the non-restaurant aspects of a kitchen. He succeeds head chef Lloyd Cremer at the facility.
Mr. Lafond said that the restaurant team would be assessing what the various eateries on-property offer.
“We’re looking at the deli menu and the Ferdinand’s menu. [However], usually Casa Havana closes over the summer, so to totally revamp now and then close two months later wouldn’t make any sense,” he said.
It’s not just going to be change for the sake of change, either.
“We have been inspected by AAA who said we had a solid menu and a nice four diamond restaurant. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It’s running fine right now, [for example] we’ve just got brand new ovens and dishwashers.
“You think it’s only a dishwasher but if it’s costing $40,000 and needs replacing, it becomes a gift, like Christmas has come early. And it’s really helping us improve the quality of the food as well,” said the chef.
New catering manager
The new catering manager is Caymanian Aliya Dunstan, said General Manager John Wagner.
“She is a very sharp young lady and was made catering manager in February. She has done a really good job.”
Among other new staff, a director of catering is shortly to be appointed, said the GM, who noted that it was all part of repositioning the hotel’s aims.
“We will be generally improving things and working a lot closer within the Westin/Starwood concept which we did not necessarily do in recent times.
“This hotel is the largest recipient of Starwood Preferred Guest points redemption for travel [worldwide]. That is a big deal with the brand. People come here all the time, redeem their points and stay with us.”