Lisa Shemwell was born and bred in Rotherham, Yorkshire which officially makes her a lass. When she turned 18 she moved south to High Wickham, Buckinghamshire to further her schooling and studied French, Spanish, Russian, Latin and Business Studies.
Halfway through her tertiary education, she got a part-time job at a local pub known as the Bricklayers’ Arms to raise money for a trip to Greece. It did not take long for the pub’s owners to recognise her talent. She ended up taking it over and running it for seven years whilst still completing her course.
When she left the pub at the age of 26 she moved on to TGIFriday’s in Reading, where she began as a server then joined their management training programme. After spending three years there, Lisa went on to Mill Hill and then their Bayswater location. The big move was to the most popular TGIFriday’s in the UK – in Covent Garden, which she managed until 1998.
She later moved to the Cayman Islands and helped open the Landmark restaurant in George Town as bar supervisor. For the four years it was in business, she worked front-of-house and got to know many regular patrons, building up a group of customers who soon became friends.
When the Landmark closed, Lisa went to the Lone Star on West Bay Road, calling on her kitchen management skills to work back-of-house for 15 months before changing to the Havana Club until Hurricane Ivan hit. She had only been in the job for nine months.
Sometimes disasters present unexpected opportunities. A position came up at the Hungry Horse Restaurant at the airport in December 2004. She started there on Christmas Eve and remained until June 2007. Lisa had officially enrolled in the Cayman Islands Law School the year before and her job plus school was becoming overwhelming.
When Home opened in Treasure Island in 2009, she was approached to see if she would consider working there part-time. Even with a day job and law school, she couldn’t resist the pull of that most social of industries. She agreed to sign up and now can be found behind the bar there three nights a week.
Lisa says bartending is like being on stage and having a great and appreciative audience. She sees strangers sit down at the beginning of the night, leave as friends hours later. Tourists chat to regulars and she gets to catch up with her customers.
Considering her experience, it is a compliment to Home that she feels it is the best designed bar she has worked behind, and she is quick to note that the food in the restaurant is excellent.
Will Lisa ever leave bartending completely behind? Doubtful; and besides, there’s a ‘bar’ in barrister!
Lisa has created ‘Dorothy’, a Bacardi beverage that includes pomegranate. It reminds her of when her mother used to treat her to the exotic fruit when she was a child. The Dorothy reference is naturally from the Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like Home. WH