As much as his job entails lunching with bankers, crunching numbers and developing strategies with his managing team, Steve Bello is just as comfortable in the kitchen as anywhere else at Hawk’s Cay Resort.
Bello is the Managing Director of the Best Overall Business and Best Hotel/Resort as recently voted by the Marathon Community.
“Like most hoteliers, my first job was in the kitchen working for a catering company,” Bello said in an interview with The Weekly. “I was always amazed by all the different types of food and all the different cultures you could find there.”
His accent quickly tells of his roots – Bello is originally from Boston where his fascination with food and the hospitality industry began. As a kid in Beantown, some of Bello’s most precious childhood memories were spent at his grandfather’s heels in the family butcher shop.
Between soccer games and track meets in his high school years, Bello acknowledges a bit of “beer drinking and getting into trouble,” but like a typical teenager, confesses “it was never my fault.”
Bello fed his passion for food by enrolling at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. Graduate courses at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. followed, and soon after, he started his career in the fast-paced harried business of hotel management.
During a stint in Dallas, Bello met his future bride, Sabrina. He points to meeting his “soul mate” over 20 years ago as his personal highlight.
“She’s a beautiful, mature person, and we just get each other,” he said. “We’re just as good as individuals as we are together.”
Shortly after they wed, Steve and Sabrina accepted jobs in Hawaii and got their first taste of island living together. When the couple welcomed the birth of their only daughter, Alexandra, now 14 years old, they moved back to the mainland and worked for the Ritz Carlton family in California.
Bello said the 12 years of his career spent with Ritz Carlton took him to some of the most exotic places in the world, including various parts of Asia, Hong Kong and to his proudest project ten years ago, the opening of the Ritz Carlton in Dubai, India.
“I was there during the height of all the construction,” he said. “It was a very exciting time.”
Before coming to Hawks Cay Resort in April 2007 to oversee day-to-day operations, Bello and his family lived in Colorado where he served as the Regional Director of Hotel Operations for Vail Resorts. An opportunity with Northview Hotel Group, LLC (one third of the joint venture with Behringer Harvard and Five Star Realty that collectively own Hawks Cay) came across his desk, and Bello packed his family for relocation to Florida. Because the company is based in Connecticut and has assets up and down the east coast, Bello said he must be within close proximity to an airport for last minute travel. Additionally, his daughter has been nurturing her passion for music performing with the orchestra, and since there are no orchestral opportunities in Marathon, Sabrina and Alexandra live in Parkland in Broward County.
Bello said even though is one of his favorite diversions, he’s still working to figure out his best dishes to prepare.
“My daughter is a borderline vegetarian who loves anything with pasta, and since I married a Texan who believes everything should come off a grill, it’s always fun to cook for them when I’m home. I started as a cook, and I can’t get enough time in the kitchen.”
He’s also taken up backcountry fishing since establishing his post on property at Hawk’s Cay. Golfing, “grabbing a class here and there” as a perpetual student, horseback riding “with the girls” and spending time with friends over a bottle of California Pinot round out any spare time in Bello’s schedule.
Less than two years after his hiring, Bello said he’s extremely proud of the improvements at Hawk’s Cay – “we took a 12-month project and condensed it into seven months” – and looks forward to establishing the resort as an active and permanent fixture in the community.
Managing Director Steve Bello and Jennifer Dinan, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Hawks Cay Resort.