Brits Abroad – Hannah Breeze

12 January 2011
Brits Abroad – Hannah Breeze

Hannah Breeze, events manager at Cutler & Co in Melbourne, Gourmet Traveller magazine's Australian Restaurant of the Year, tells Gemma Sharkey how she has achieved her dream lifestyle

What does your role at Cutler & Cob entail? I co-ordinate all the events, from eight to 100 covers, for the restaurant. After taking a reservation, I liaise with the client, organise the menu with the kitchen and the sommelier and produce a run sheet for the whole team to work from to ensure the evening runs smoothly.

What encouraged you to work overseas? It had always been a dream of mine. I travelled at 19 to the USA, then tried to settle back in the UK, but eventually decided it wasn't for me. So, two years ago, I decided to try Australia. I chose it for the way of life - the weather is great and there are more opportunities for someone my age.

Has working abroad enhanced your career? It has given me an insight into how hospitality differs. I don't think I would have got a job at a restaurant of this calibre in the UK. Working at the best restaurant in Australia will help open doors elsewhere.

What do you like about work in Australia? I like the fact that I have money left over at the end of the week and I love the social aspect, too - there's always a barbecue or a visit to the beach at weekends.

How does hospitality differ from the UK? People here don't just go out for dinner, it's about the whole experience. Dinner in the UK is not savoured as it is here. Staff here are really appreciated and well paid, and as a result are happier in their work.

What has surprised you most about hospitality in Australia? I didn't know what to expect from the dining culture here. All I knew was Crocodile Dundee and the Fosters adverts. But in reality the cuisine, produce and wines are all fantastic.

What trends could we adopt in the UK from Australia? Better pay. Because people in hospitality here are paid well, they are passionate about their job and, as a result, the experience is a whole lot nicer.

What are the financial benefits of working in Australia? You're rewarded here for the unsociable hours. The minimum is about $20 (£14) an hour. I think the reason you get paid more is because it's more expensive to eat and drink out. Plus, if you leave after one year on a working holiday visa, you can claim back all the tax you've paid over the year.

What advice would you give to anyone in hospitality wishing to work abroad? Do it! Research it and do it. You won't regret it. If you go home, you'll have learnt a lot; if you stay, even better. You've got nothing to lose from trying it. Make sure you have the right visa and legal work sorted beforehand as they're really cracking down on that now.

Will you return to the UK? I'm planning to stay in Melbourne for some time. Then I want to visit Queensland and the west coast, as well as New Zealand - I just want to explore my new country.

CV hannah breeze

1997: Worked in parents' pub in Sussex
â- 1999: Travelled in the USA
â- 2000-2009: Bar and events manager, the Old Pound Inn, Aller, Somerset
â- 2009: Events manager, Circa, the Prince, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia
â- 2010: Events manager, Cutler & Co, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

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