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Adventurous world traveler, veteran restaurateur takes helm in Village
Steve Kemp and his best friend, Shiloh
7/31/2012 1:27:00 PM
You might not believe this story: First, imagine having your Bachelor’s Degree financed by Hilton International Hotels, while working for them in both London and Paris! Your training there is in every aspect of hospitality and restaurant service and management … a fortunate foundation and only the first step of the remarkable professional career of our Village’s own Brit, Steven Kemp.
The time did come for Steven to see more of the world … and in 1986 the cruise ships were calling. Not just any cruise ships, it would be the Cunard Line’s majestic Queen Elizabeth II, of course. Steven worked his way up to Junior Head Chef in the four years he sailed with them. But that would be too simple.
With the outbreak of Desert Storm, the QEII was commandeered by the Royal Navy to serve as a Troup Carrier to Kuwait and later, as a Hospital Ship tending to wounded British and American soldiers. Steven describes the experience as particularly moving and sad as he befriended too many soldiers on their voyages there, only to carry them home badly wounded.
After the war, Steven describes the amazing honor and overwhelming welcome he felt as he walked the streets of New York with the soldiers in the Victory Parade. He decided then that he wanted to live in America, though it would take a bit longer.
Choosing new horizons, Steven then worked for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for four years, changing hats and serving as Restaurant Manager on several ships. But it wasn’t all sunsets over the blue seas:
Picture an elegant soiree at London’s Kensington Palace, as you serve your famous family’s culinary masterpieces to Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth as they hob-knob with Margaret Thatcher or Yitzhak Rabin. And then there are the movie star galas and grand events for the Royal British Military Police, etc., etc…literally catering to the elite of the world. Yes, that’s Steven, who in between sailings assisted his family’s highly respected catering business in London!
And then there’s another story about Steven taking an eight month’s break from the Royal Caribbean to come to the rescue when the British Army called him to man the Food and Beverage operation on an Army base during a Fireman’s strike in England, where he became the Master Chef responsible for 4,000 meals a day for eight months, five star quality, he swears. Whew! Steven started to think about settling down.
And then, during their own travels in 1995, his parents found Sedona, and Steven came. With their other son, Benjamin Downs, currently the Executive Head Chef at Cliff Castle Casino, this culinary family took root. Time has passed and in the years subsequently, their talented hands have enjoyed several endeavors, with Steven having made his mark here and in Prescott at the historic St. Michael’s Hotel as Executive Chef. For the past few years he served as Restaurant General Manager at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Now, returning to Sedona to be closer to family, Steven has taken the helm at the new Redstone Patio Bar and Grill at the Oak Creek Country Club and Community Center. And with ALL the soup to nuts experience and extraordinary challenges he’s had throughout the world, he says this is his toughest one! Why? Because now he has 6,000 bosses, he says emphatically.
His aim is to make this brand new restaurant show it wants to welcome and please this community in every way…all 6,000 of us…though perhaps not at the same time! Comment cards that he truly wants and seriously reads are the key to making his Redstone a valued part of the whole Village/Big Park/Sedona neighborhood, he says. It certainly has got a beautiful location. Golf course views are just a start, and then a casual, affordable and stylish dining experience with a diverse menu of freshly-made daily offerings and glorious desserts is Steven’s promise. He describes the bar and three serving locations as offering fun choices in atmosphere, and planned entertainment is a regular feature.
Commenting that in opening this new restaurant, he feels like an orchestra conductor trying to get everyone to play in synch, he’s usually performing “backstage” in his office.
Steven insists that he wants to cater to your needs and mine, even offering his email address awaiting our suggestions: email@example.com. If his remarkable history tells us anything, he surely knows how to do it! And Steven hopes you’ll say hello when you go.
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