Inspirational Women: Renata Roberts

Each week SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

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Name and role:

Renata Roberts, restaurateur – Sichuan Bang Bang and Pizzeria Violetta – and yoga teacher

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I try to start the day with yoga, running or training, to ensure a clear head for the morning which is when I am at my most productive. I usually have some social interaction at lunch time to hang out with friends and other small business people, eat out as much as possible and exchange ideas.

After a little siesta, I head to the restaurants around 5pm and occasionally drink a caffe corretto with grappa to give me a boost before the night of service ahead of me.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

During my seven years of university education, I worked in hospitality for some wonderful entrepreneurs and was excited by their energy. When I realised that I could travel internationally with a job in hospitality I got even more excited. Six months into a corporate job, working 9am-5pm, was the nail in the coffin in dedicating my energies full time to hospitality industry.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My desire to share authentic and provincial food based upon my experiences in living all over the world. Melbourne and Sydney are so spoilt for cultural food choices and I want to bring to Brisbane that luxury.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

I was lucky enough to land jobs in Australia, UK, USA, Canada, France, HK and China with inspiring, off beat, out-of the-box thinkers who allowed me an enormous amount of freedom in my role, as well as allowing me to learn their own individual styles. Paul Mathis (Melbourne) and Michelle Garnaut (China) were my greatest influences.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path and since then?

The greatest obstacles for me were conforming to mainstream ideas in business. Finding the ‘right’ people to work for, whose visions were unconventional, had a huge impact on my confidence in avoiding mediocrity and maintaining confidence in my decisions.

Now my greatest opportunity is to increase my customer’s awareness and appreciation of the authentic origins of food from other countries

How did you overcome them?

Self-confidence based on experience. Of course I have the tendency to crack up when customers argue with me that honey chicken is real Chinese food, or that pineapple does belong on a pizza.

A couple of shots of Stolichnaya usually assists.

What are your goals for the future?

To increase awareness on food. Although Australia is sometimes referred to as a melting pot of cultures, I disagree and would love to share true and traditional foods from all over this big planet with

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Hands on work, focus on the job and the work, being available and curious.