These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to Megan Gosch.
Stephen McClean recently became the food and beverage director for the Garden of the Gods.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role at Garden of the Gods?
I look most forward to meeting our Garden of the Gods team members and building relationships with the larger Colorado Springs community.
What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
I have only one mission here at Garden of the Gods, and that is to create excellence every day. I strive to create memorable experiences that enrich the lives of our members, our guests and our team members. I want to assist each of my team members in realizing their full potential, being a part of establishing Garden of the Gods as the destination for one’s food and beverage career. The first time I walked in and saw the Garden of the Gods Park through our floor to ceiling windows, I knew this place was something special.
How do you plan to grow the new Exclusive Culinary Experience Membership?
I feel the Exclusive Culinary Experience Membership at Garden of the Gods is similar to any social membership offered at most of the clubs I’ve previously worked at in Florida. It allows for a membership category to introduce the food and beverage experience, which is something we strive to make memorable. Once you touch that emotion, your members become your best ambassadors.
What first sparked your interest in the F&B industry?
I grew up in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The only thing we are known for, and the only real source of income in the area, was and still is The Greenbrier Hotel. It was common for four generations of a single family to work at the hotel at the same time. When I was young, the first time I experienced the hotel, I noticed how all the people were dressed in beautiful clothes. The orchestra was playing, guests were dancing or singing along, and you could feel a sense of connection and belonging throughout the room. I also notice the maître d’hôtel was dressed in a beautiful black tuxedo; all the guests seemed proud when he stopped by their table to check on them. When I witnessed that, I knew I had caught the hospitality fever.
What do you enjoy most about the industry?
Two things: When you do it right—and I mean really do it right—and you touch someone’s emotions, enlivening their senses, you then understand how powerful this industry is. I always wanted to be a coach or a teacher. I find this industry has provided the vehicle to fulfill that calling. I have developed countless team members that have gone on to be leaders throughout this industry. When you are fortunate enough to have been a part of their growth, it instills a level of pride that is unmatched.