Omnia Bistro & Bar, 625 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Tell us a bit about how you got started in the hospitality industry and where you have worked before?
I got started in Hospitality at the age of 16 in Miami Florida. Back then it was the “coolest thing” to have to rush from high school to work and have friends visit you on your shift. With no experience but an eagerness to work I got hired as a waitress, and it turned out that I was really good at it. When I turned 17, I quickly got promoted to train behind the bar, and ten years later I’m still shaking drinks. I’ve worked all over South Florida, from sports bars, to fine dining, to rooftop bars and festivals. It has been a big run.
Tell us a little bit about your team and the venue you are working at?
I can honestly say I work with some of the most incredible and talented people out there. The passion and drive each person has is a huge motivation for myself. Everything Is done with such ease and the smile on their face never fails. Omnia Bistro & Bar itself is an award-winning Bistro, inspired by European flavours, presented with the high standards.
It’s World Women’s Day this month. Bartending has notoriously been a challenging industry for women and has long been dominated by men. How have you found your path in bartending and have you seen a positive change?
I have forged my path to bartending by simply breaking the stereotype. I’ve put in years of work to get to where I am, despite the challenges. I have definitely seen a positive change in the bartending world.
“A mistake I’d like to see others avoid is pretending that you know it all. It’s ok to tell your guests you’re not familiar with a drink but if you have the ingredients, you are more than happy to look it up and make it.”
Are you a classics or an experimental kind of bartender?
A mixture of both. I love allowing my creative side to flow through to make something delicious, but I also love recreating classics for those who appreciate them.
What does a shift behind the bar look like? Run us through a day in your shoes.
I love to start the day by setting myself and my team up for success. I make sure the bar is stocked up and well-equipped for a busy service. Depending on the day, it’s usually docket after docket after docket, yelling “drink’s up!” It’s hectic, but in the best possible way.
What are some of the things you love about the bar industry?
I love that there are no limits, that you can be as creative as possible. The guests are also a huge contribution to my love for the industry. I’ve met and connected with some incredible people throughout the years.
Some of the things you hate?
I wouldn’t say that there is anything in particular that I hate, but something that does grind my teeth Is guests ordering another drink by raising their glass up.
What advice do you have for rookie bartenders starting out in their careers? Were there any big mistakes you made you’d like to see others avoid?
Develop your palette, don’t be afraid to work with ingredients you normally wouldn’t. Don’t burn bridges and always maintain a good relationship with suppliers and reps.
But do not be afraid to cut people off!
A mistake I’d like to see others avoid is pretending that you know it all. It’s ok to tell your guests you’re not familiar with a drink but if you have the ingredients, you are more than happy to look it up and make it.
When you walk into a bar, what are you looking for? What makes a great bar experience?
The atmosphere, a warm welcome by the staff and being educated and guided through the menu.
Who inspires you?
Not one person specifically inspires me, but I get my inspiration from those around me and those I work with. Taking a stroll through the markets and seeing what produce is in season always helps too.
What are you drinking right now?
It’s summer in Melbourne right now, so there are a lot of margaritas being consumed.