Windjammer Landing is on the way to becoming Saint Lucia’s go-to beach resort for new and innovative culinary delights and experiences.
Nestled on 60 acres of lush greenery, with picturesque hillside and beachfront villas offering stunning views of Saint Lucia’s north-western coastline, Windjammer has long been touted for its luxurious accommodation and plethora of health and recreational activities, not to mention the delightful dining experience offered at its multiple onsite restaurants. Over the years, Windjammer also became known for its keenness to attract Saint Lucian clientele to the resort.
Now, both locals and visitors can continue to enjoy Windjammer’s sumptuous cuisine presented in bold and unexpected styles and flavours.
Piloting the transformation is Windjammer’s new Food and Beverage Director, Lenny Cumberbatch.
Originally from the Bahamas, Lenny brings more than 20 years of experience to Windjammer Landing. Prior to joining Windjammer in May 2017, he served as the Food and Beverage Director for the luxury component of the Atlantis Paradise Resort in the Bahamas, one of the largest vacation resorts in the Caribbean, with over 55 restaurants and bars, and employing more than 8,500 workers.
Starting off as a busboy, Lenny worked his way up the ranks at the Atlantic to become a waiter and, thereafter, he held several management positions in the resort’s food and beverage department, eventually rising to the position of Food and Beverage Director.
In addition to his extensive experience, he acquired numerous academic credentials, including an associate degree in hospitality operations, a BA in hospitality management, an MBA from the University of Roehampton in England and a Master Certification in restaurant revenue management from Cornel University, USA. He has also been certified by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and is recognized as a Certified Food and Beverage Executive.
On assuming his new position at Windjammer, Lenny, along with his team, embarked on a culinary program aimed at reconceptualising and diversifying the menu selection available in the hotel’s restaurants, in a bid to make them more attractive and exciting.
“When I came on board, it was important to understand the quality of the product and the direction it had been going, but more importantly, to try and align it with the needs and expectations of our customers. We’ve done considerable work over the past few months in terms of redefining who we are as a department, and what we want to represent from the perspective of food and beverage,” says Lenny. “We’ve done some interesting things so far in terms of redefining the categories of restaurants and creating individual personalities for each of them. This has led to the development of new menus, and allowed us to infuse more innovative concepts and lots of new ideas in improving and changing the direction of our product,” he added.
More than ever now, Windjammer is focussed on developing a multi-tier offering of carefully crafted dishes that would appeal to its in-house guests and external customers.
“In the process of redefining ourselves, we want to be attractive to both the St. Lucian community, as well as customers who travel from various destinations to be a part of the Windjammer experience. Therefore, we created something that would be attractive to corporate Saint Lucia and regular customers who just want a great dining experience,” says Lenny.
Determined to make the resort’s offerings more appealing to locals, Lenny sought advice from members of his team who have been longstanding Windjammer employees, and from other individuals outside of the resort, including several business people. He discovered that Windjammer used to be a favourite hangout for locals, including many who patronised the hotel’s facilities to celebrate special events like birthdays and weddings.
“I think overtime that desire to be a part of the Windjammer experience has diminished somewhat, for whatever the reasons are. Maybe it is because of competition factors and offerings from various resorts and properties, but be that as it may, there is now a new energy and a new vibe at Windjammer. The diversification and the reconceptualising that’s being done in several of our restaurants is making them very attractive again. There have also been massive improvements in the food offerings, along with an infusion of international cuisine – but there’s also a strong presence of local Lucian cuisine. We want to create a product that would be very attractive to the local community because we understand the importance of that segment of the market. We truly want to grow our portfolio and improve numbers from Saint Lucia at large,” says Lenny.
Listening to him articulate his goals, it soon becomes obvious that Windjammer has taken on board a man who is passionate about the hotel business, and the food and beverage portfolio in particular. When asked what excites him most about his field, Lenny said, “I think naturally, I’m an artiste. I think, for the most part, people who participate in food and beverage perhaps think pretty much the same way. This department gives you an opportunity to express yourself as an artiste by being creative with your menu selection and the infusion of flavours, colours and textures. More importantly, in many instances it gives you a blank canvas to paint the picture the way you see it, in terms of flexibility, creativity and innovation.”
Coming from the Bahamas where tourism is the number one industry and approximately 80 percent of the islands’ GDP comes from some sort of hospitality or tourism-related business, Lenny is grounded in a philosophy that views personal dedication and commitment to service as the key to success in the industry.
“We have successfully done tourism in the Bahamas for 50 years. Some credit must be given to the fact that we’ve always had people who have great service attitudes and service minds who have been involved or associated with the industry.”
Lenny, who is full of praise for his colleagues at Windjammer, including Windjammer’s Executive Chef, René Cahane, Managing Director Scott Seger, Assistant F&B Director Rene Lucien and Local Culinary Legend Chef Emmanuel Juels, emphasized that the resort remains committed to delivering a world-class experience to its international guests, as well as locals. Some of their special offerings include; special occasion dinners, wedding receptions, private beach dinners, Sunday brunch and private dinner experiences. He reiterated his invitation to St. Lucians.
“We invite people to be part of this experience. Whether it’s for a birthday celebration, a wedding, anniversary, or any special event, we have the facilities to host such events. Therefore, we urge St. Lucians to come check us out at Windjammer. We’re on the move, doing great things and we definitely need your support.”