Cynthia Hew - Bon Vivant, Cayman Islands
For Cynthia Hew, Owner of Bon Vivant, the heart of the home is most definitely the kitchen. After years in front of the camera and working in the financial services industry, she decided to stir things up and follow her passion. In 2007 she opened the luxury kitchen retail store and demonstration space, Bon Vivant. Going from strength to strength, the company has become a vital part of the Cayman community hosting educational cooking classes, supporting local charities and as a key sponsor of the ever-popular Cayman Cookout. When not in office, Cynthia can be found with her family or pounding the pavement preparing for her next marathon.
CH: I love good food and always have. As a child I would spend my allowance on dining out and could always be found on a countertop asking, “Whatcha making?” My Uncle was a chef at Cracked Conch many years ago and he also lived next door to us where I grew up in Louisiana. I loved to watch him cook in his outdoor kitchen.
RL: Tell us about Bon Vivant.
CH: Bon Vivant is home. It’s a place for people to come learn, experience and – I hope – dream. We are a complete kitchen store offering retail goods to give people the tools to enjoy their cooking experience. We also provide cooking classes to help foster a passion for all things culinary, and kitchen appliances and design services to allow dream kitchen spaces to become a reality.
RL: Why did you open Bon Vivant?
CH: Transition. Bon Vivant happened because I was ready to do something that I really enjoyed that also allowed me to give – to my community, my customers, my staff and myself.
RL: Tell us about the cooking classes.
CH: We offer weekly cooking classes for both adults and growing gourmets. They started as a way to allow customers to use the equipment, so they would know what they were buying. We then realised how much fun it was and now offer weekly classes, private/corporate events and birthday party bookings. We work in tandem with local chefs, who are such a great asset, to develop themes and new ideas.
RL: What element of Bon Vivant do you most enjoy?
CH: Business strategy. I enjoy developing a product/brand/image and then fostering the company’s culture so that employees love what they do and customers keep coming back because they love us too!
CH: I’m not sure if I really do, as all tend to crossover at times. Jacob, my son, has been in the store from four weeks old and there is often business chatter over family dinners. I guess the balance comes in knowing when to stop talking shop. Like most things, the highs and lows of business and the responsibility of family are like a roller coaster – I climb, coast and descend quickly on a regular basis.
RL: How have you seen clients’ cooking habits change?
CH: They have more confidence in buying locally. It’s taken a few years, but we have been consistent in our message and our track record proves there is tremendous value in buying locally – for the consumer and our country.
RL: What role do you think cooking plays in our lives?
CH: It brings us together. I find cooking to be like solving a problem – next thing you know there are two, three, four people in the kitchen all asking ‘Where can I help?’ That fellowship isn’t one you see when making a bed! And, it’s not just during prep, but when everyone sits for the meal. That’s when you listen, chat, laugh and live.
RL: What are the most exciting things happening in the industry today?
RL: What’s your best selling item?
CH: My people. I know that’s not what’s being asked, but they’re my greatest investment. I see them as relationship builders, and without them and their knowledge I wouldn’t have an item to sell.
RL: What kitchen item do you consider a must-have?
CH: Steam/Convection oven – it’s amazing. The other is my Le Creuset non-stick pans.
For more information contact: Tel: • Visit: www.bonvivant.ky
Chef – Chef Niven Patel & Chef Keith Griffin. Both are incredibly talented and their modesty is shown in the balance of
each meal they prepare.
Kitchen Gadget – Stem Gem. I love it for strawberries and cherry tomatoes.
Ingredient – Scotch Bonnet
Cook Book – The Spice Bible by Jane Lawson.
City – Paris, France
Hotel – Prefer a home or resort that has a kitchen.
Holiday – Christmas
Drink – Veuve Clicquot
Beach – Seven Mile Beach
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