Mark Nevin has been in and around Cayman hospitality for more than a decade and his new role is a managerial one.
The Canadian told the Compass that he first came down to the Cayman Islands in 1999 for a brief stint at the Sea View Hotel.
“That lasted six months then I went to The Bed for four years, until Ivan intervened. I then spent a year in Dublin,” Mr. Nevin said.
That time in the Irish Republic’s capital was spent at a busy restaurant off Grafton Street, the main shopping area, he said.
“I was floored by how busy it was – it was my first time in a big city and there was so much to do; bars galore, live music and it really is true that the Irish are among the friendliest on earth. You are always meeting new people; here, you get to know everybody within a reasonably short period of time but Dublin was all about getting to know the city centre, the tourism aspect,” he said. “You have to have the gift of the gab and to like and want to meet people, to have no agenda. I met my Irish wife, Yvonne here in Cayman in 2000. We got married in 2007 and our first baby is due next month.”
Mr. Nevin returned in 2005 and, via a six month stint in Mezza, spent six and a half years in Yoshi Sushi. He worked first at the bar and then moved up to management.
“If you want to grow in the industry you have to step up. To an extent you are always on stage behind the bar and now I am at the front of house I am meeting and greeting, as well as all the responsibilities of being in charge, making sure that everyone that sits here is taken care of.
“Rule number one is that you want everyone to leave happy otherwise they may not come back. Our major clientele is local so if they are not happy then you basically have no restaurant,” he mused.
Mr. Nevin said that over the years he has seen many more Caymanians coming into the hospitality industry although the traditional inclinations towards the medical, law or banking routes were still prevalent.
“Not too many parents push their children to the hospitality industry but you can make a great career,” said the manager.
“My friends back home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are amazed I went to the Caribbean but here I am doing something I love.
“Life is too short to be pushed into doing something you don’t want to do. You only live once so don’t be afraid to do something different. Hospitality allows you to travel and to live a little more free.”