From post-workout smoothies to poolside lunches in private cabanas, Ascaya offers an array of incredible dining options to its residents. We caught up with Eric Ellis, Ascaya’s Food & Beverage Manager, to discuss his professional background, as well as the innovative and sustainable dining experiences coming soon to Ascaya.
What is your background in the food and beverage industry and what inspired you to pursue a career in it?
I have worked in the food and beverage industry since I was a senior in high school. From starting as a busboy to becoming a server, I began to realize what guests appreciate most – genuine, quality service. Through working with high-end clientele, I discovered that there is a need for excellence in the industry. My inspiration to pursue a career in this industry came not only from my family but from a want to impress the people around me.
How did you learn about Ascaya, and what led to your position as Food & Beverage Manager?
I fell into Ascaya by sheer luck. I was working an event one night to supervise the staffing crew from the staffing agency I was associated with, and the lead that night, Heather, connected with me. The rest is history.
From poolside treats to post-workout smoothies, how do you plan dining experiences around the world-class amenities at Ascaya?
Although I am not a nutritionist by trade, I do understand the value of a healthy post-workout snack or smoothie. What I’m looking to do down the line is provide more health-conscious menu items for our owners and members. I also plan on consulting with nutritionists to help guide us in the right direction when it comes to our owners’ needs.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your innovative work at Ascaya?
I draw my inspiration from a plethora of people in my life – from family members to fellow trade members. My mom has always been a huge inspiration to me, and so many people in my life have had an ounce, if not a pound, of inspiration in my culinary conquests. I also enjoy studying and being inquisitive about what I do.
What can Ascaya homeowners expect ahead of the new dining experiences and food and beverage services?
Owners can expect high-quality dishes and services, as always. But beyond that, they can expect to delight in something new and out of the ordinary.
We understand that Ascaya plans to use locally sourced ingredients within its dining menus. What is your philosophy on food sustainability and the use of local ingredients?
When it comes to our food, and food responsibilities, I believe that sustainability is a huge part of the process. I do as much as I can to outsource from local stores, and stick to the policy of “buying something once, and using it twice.” Basically saying, even though there is a risk of throwing away a product that is not being used, why not use it twice, perhaps in different, creative ways before it goes bad.
What advice do you have for any individuals looking for careers in the food and beverage industry?
To me, a healthy and sustainable kitchen is the best. Keep things clean and be responsible. Listen to others, whether they’re an owner, fellow kitchen staff, or management. Keep an open mind, be willing to look at the process in a different way, be willing to go “around Robin’s Barn,” and be flexible to new ideas. None of us are right all of the time. Be willing to be flexible while still keeping your feet firmly planted in the ground and strong in your beliefs.
Finally, what’s your favorite part about working in the food and beverage industry?
My favorite part of all is making people happy with what I do. Always. 🙂