5 minutes with Sam Jeveons, Nusa Caña

22 August 2022, 08:26 AM
  • Sam Jeveons, co-founder of Nusa Caña Indonesian Rum, reveals his inspirations, motto, and the weirdest thing he's ever eaten to Speciality Food readers
5 minutes with Sam Jeveons, Nusa Caña

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the food / drink industry? 
It’s hard to say, I’ve been in the industry since my university days and since then work has allowed me to travel, ending up in Asia for the past 16 years. A lot of my identity is tied into the industry, but had I followed another path, it might have been in writing. At one point in life, I had the dream of being a political speechwriter. I’m glad I chose the path I did.

What was your first job? 
My first part-time job was at a sports centre as a young fitness lackey, but even back then I gravitated toward the bar and restaurant roles, enjoying the service vibe and fun found in the F&B scene.

What inspires you? 
People and travel! Industry-wise I have been lucky enough to grow up in food and beverage’s best years, an era full of amazing and talented people, who after decades of hard work are running a successful business, bars, brands and institutes attaining a level in the industry that inspires others.  Knowing these people and aspiring to their actions keeps me driven. Travel is key for me as well, allowing me to decompress while absorbing new surroundings offers new ways to approach life and widens my outlook on the everyday.

What’s the worst job you’ve done? 
I worked for a few summers as an agency labourer when I was around 16. Every day I would receive a call to a new temp post in some crazy jobs. I filled cement bags from a hopper and spent days covered in dust. I was a quality control inspector at a bagel factory, and I lasted just one shift in an aluminium smelting plant. I was a car parker and litter picker. All hard-working, honest jobs, that taught me I wasn’t cut out for that life.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Creation. Starting as a bartender and moving into operations my roots were in cocktail and customer experience creation. In my current role with Nusa Caña I work with the team to create our rums, our design, and the brands messaging. Creativity has been the thread throughout the various aspects of my career. I couldn’t do a job without a creative aspect or outlet.

And your least favourite? 
Admin. As a serial small business owner, the amount of admin required has always been a challenge. There is just something about it that I have never wanted to master, despite having years of practice. It’s my Achilles heel for sure. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it.

How about the food industry? 
Diversity of cuisine is my food industry love. Living in Hong Kong, the choice of cuisine is amazing, from local Cantonese to regional Chinese and the host of international restaurants the city is known for. A typical week would probably see me eating six or more cuisines styles from different countries across Asia and Europe.

What would be your last supper? 
Portuguese clams ‘a bulhao pato’, reminding me of the best times with my wife.

What’s your motto?  
Onwards and upwards.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
Insects in Thailand. Frog in Beijing (not the legs). Balut in Philippines. 100-year-old egg in Hong Kong and stinky tofu on Taiwan.
What’s your favourite book? 
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, it’s my never-ending holiday book. I was given my first copy 20 years ago travelling in Thailand and must have read it three or four times by now. Part philosophical, part inspirational, the book reminds me that life isn’t linear and to make the most of the places and people around you.
Sweet or savoury?
The sweeter side of savoury.

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