CELEBRATING WOMEN IN WINE
On International Women’s Day, we are celebrating all the women we’re fortunate enough to call colleagues, customers, and friends.
A special salute to the exceptional women at Voyager Estate, who are dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind wine experiences for our guests each and every day – including our passionate Restaurant Manager Angie Evans.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Although I hope that some day in the not too distant future we will collectively reach a point where we no longer need an International Women’s Day, I think that right now, it's a great way to celebrate the huge progress we have made towards equality for the genders. It’s also an opportunity to think about and plan further movement in this direction.
Tell us about your journey in hospitality – how did your career unfold and what do you love most about it?
After my secondary education, as a green 19-year old, I got a job at a grand café in the centre of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It was here my passion for hospitality ignited. It was also my first introduction to wine! The first wine I got really excited about was the Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. My career at Voyager started quite suddenly after a lunch experience I had here with my husband. Everyone was so passionate in their service delivery, the food and wine were so excellent and the level of care was so high that I wanted to be a part of that!
What I love about hospitality is that I get to facilitate the making of memories. I LOVE going out for a great meal! Not just because of the wine and food, but the whole experience. I want our guests to feel special because of all the things we do that aren’t expected. That’s what an excellent hospitality experience is for me.
What fascinates you most about the world of food and wine?
The endless possibilities! I love food with lots of flavour and different textures. I sometimes wake up with the idea of a drink or dish in my head. Could be something I’ve had before or something I would like to try. Yesterday I woke up thinking about the sigara böregi that I used to get from the Turkish restaurant around the corner from my house in The Hague. I find wine fascinating because it can convey information about a place and time. It never tastes the same! It ages and changes and the way it tastes also depends on how you feel, where you are, what you've eaten...
What contribution during your time at Voyager are you most proud of?
This must be building our passionate front of house team. Each of them contributes something really important. There is open communication between us and we all strive to do things better. We help one another to learn and grow and we always celebrate our wins together. I am also quite proud of the non-alcoholic beverage offering I have developed for our menu. This offers an important alternative to those guests that don’t drink or can’t drink right now.
What challenges, if any, do you see for women in the hospitality business?
Drawing from personal experience, I think the single biggest challenge women face is a lack of confidence. Even when we are hugely capable, conscientious and visionary, we seem to doubt ourselves! Taking the lead can sometimes seem challenging and less inherent. The key to overcome this? Stop comparing and start celebrating your wins and those of others. Elevate the people around you and you elevate yourself.
Which women inspire you most?
All the women in my life inspire me! I realised about ten years ago that surrounding myself with inspiring people is so enriching. No one person offers the same thing, but that’s the beauty of it! My friends and colleagues inspire me to be confident, to love unconditionally, to achieve, to investigate, to have fun, to grow spiritually and to look after ourselves and one another.
What would you say is the most important attribute for a successful career in hospitality?
Passion. I think you have to really love this industry and be energised by it. When you strive toward delivering something excellent, whether an experience, a dish or a wine list, you keep learning, developing and moving things forward.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"If you don’t like it, you can just go home.” This applied to travelling, but the gist can be applied to everything in life. If you want to do something, just start. You don’t always have to know exactly where you are going all the time. If you stay stationary and try to work out your entire plan, you might never actually go anywhere. Plus, I’m in no way a chess player, so I cannot calculate all possible outcomes! Also, most of the time, where we end up is a completely different place to where we planned to go. And that’s the beauty of it. If I hadn’t gone with the flow a decade ago, I would never have made it to Australia!
What advice would you offer to women who want to pursue a career in hospitality?
Be confident. If the passion is there, go after what you want. Create what you feel is missing or would like to see more of. Surround yourself with people that encourage you and help you on your journey. Be curious as well. Speak to people that are passionate about the same things and find out how they got to where they are. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. Learn from it and move on.