Our new Food and Beverage team is ready to serve the Clubhouse – and all of Big Canoe

By Colin Bergen

Carrie Scott has been busy during her short time as Director of Amenities. Among her various responsibilities, one of her most pressing tasks has been to fundamentally improve Clubhouse offerings in Big Canoe.

You’ve probably already noticed some of the changes there including standalone menus, exciting new dining options, and a fresh approach to guest service. Now, thankfully, Carrie no longer has to assume this responsibility alone.

On Feb. 11, Steven Ratner started as the new Food and Beverage Director for Big Canoe. His role is to oversee all food and beverage services throughout our community’s events and venues. Joining Steven in this newly assembled team are Michelle Castleberry and Dakota Thomas, the new food and beverage managers at the Clubhouse. While Steven manages the big picture, Michelle and Dakota will have the most direct involvement with the food and service in Big Canoe’s most prominent gathering place.

“Finding the right talent has become a huge challenge everywhere for the food-service industry,” Carrie says. “To help make the Clubhouse the top-flight dining destination Big Canoe deserves, we have assembled the ideal food and beverage team by both hiring from within and seeking out talent across the country.”

Steven brings in an extensive hospitality management background, as it’s been a part of his life from an early age when his grandmother ran an Italian restaurant. Since then, he’s worked his way up from chef to the front of the house and eventually as a manager for a series of upscale restaurants and country clubs.

Passion and patience were the two things Steven learned through his experience, and he looks forward to applying both in his new, expansive role.

“If you have a servant’s heart, and you have the willingness to take care of folks – it makes it easy and becomes a sense of pride versus a sense of responsibility,” Steven says.

Michelle has been with Big Canoe for almost two years. She started as a restaurant server and as a banquet server before she became a banquet captain in 2021. While this will be her first job as a manager, her varied experience as afood service worker has helped her prepare for the challenges ahead.

“The most important thing to keep in mind as a manager is that there are so many different variables going on,” Michelle says. “The main thing is remembering our purpose here. If you lose sight of that, you lose sight of everything.”

Dakota will be joining her in the role, bringing with her four years of experience working at the Clubhouse. During her time here, Dakota worked at the clubhouse as a food runner, host, server, bartender – and now food and beverage manager.

This wealth of experience has given Dakota a keen insight into the workings of the Clubhouse and its customers.

“I’ve been here so long that I know a lot of the Property Owners,” Dakota says. “The majority of people who walk into this clubhouse – I know exactly who they are . . . what they like, what they don’t like, and they’re comfortable enough with coming up to me with any issues they have.”

Her goal is to ensure that both Property Owners and the Clubhouse team are happy; otherwise, neither can support the other.

With this new team in place, Big Canoe will be able to continue to improve the quality of the service, the food, and the atmosphere at the Clubhouse.

“I can’t wait for everyone to see how Steven, Michelle and Dakota are helping us realize our vision for the Clubhouse,” Carrie says.

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