Meet Ammie Watts, Wine & Dine’m General Manager and hospitality extraordinaire. She has been navigating her way through the industry since she was a teenager and for the past four years, Ammie has offered the team her valuable insights and guidance. Ammie’s passion for sustainably sourced produce and supporting local farmers has seen Wine & Dine’m Catering develop more eco-friendly businesses practices that she aims to expand into 2020.
We sat down with Ammie to learn more about what is involved in being the General Manager of Brisbane’s premiere catering company (if we do say so ourselves!) and her wholistic approach to catering.
1. What’s an average day in the life of Ammie Watts like?
My day normally starts with a coffee (of course) followed by a catch up with Director Craig Fox and our Sales and Operations Team. The rest of my day is filled with so many “General Manager” things for instance financials, contract management, reporting, meetings, more coffee and most importantly supporting, coaching and mentoring my team.
2. What do you love most about working at Wine & Dine’m Catering?
I love everything about Wine & Dine’m but if I had to pick one thing it would be the heart and passion in this business hands down. Above all every person in our business takes such pride in contributing and delivering amazing food, service and experiences.
Our goal has always been to attract a team of like-minded professionals whose skills and experience compliment the company’s culture. Through teamwork, training and open communication our WNDM family grows, matures and constantly evolves.
3. Tell us a bit about how you became a GM?
Having grown up with a love food in my family I know that food brings people together and creates so much happiness. Because of this, working in an industry that brings joy to others has always been important to me.
I started out like most people in hospitality as a Kitchen Hand. I then received an opportunity to work on an island. As a result this opportunity gave me a taste of every facet of Hospitality and Tourism from housekeeping, front of house, host, deckhand, maintenance, tour guide, management and finally settling on the kitchen and training as a chef. Fast forwarding through a lot of cooking, I moved into senior management roles with varying Event Management and Venue Management roles before finally moving into General Management.
4. What are your career goals?
If I had been asked this question 5 years ago, I would have said to be a successful CEO of a large Hospitality business. But now… my goal in my career and my life is to simply matter more. In other words, I want to lead with purpose, to seek insight, to continue to learn and develop, to inspire, mentor and make a difference by positively influencing someone’s life or career.
5. What has been the most impressive menu item you’ve tried from Wine & Dine’m?
Well that’s a hard one as there haven’t been many menu items that I haven’t tried, and they have all been impressive in their own ways. I do enjoy the Friday afternoon Team Cheese Boards with the WNDM House roasted nuts but if I had to pick only one Wine & Dine’m menu item it would be from the 2017 Summer Canape Menu – Champagne poached chicken, pistachio, blackcurrant meringue.
6. Where do you see the future of Wine & Dine’m heading?
I see us continuing our 20-year success story as a nationally recognised caterer. We will continue to celebrate our people and clients while innovating and pushing the boundaries to deliver unimaginable, unforgettable experiences.
We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon in the coming few years. In 2020 our focus will be on:
– Conscious eating:
Understanding and sharing the story behind our food through the produce and the people. The journey of produce will continue to shape the way we approach our menus as we go back to basics and seek out those who grow, craft and provide us with food from the heart and soul.
– Catering for dietaries including lifestyle preferences and allergens:
This is a huge part of our business. We have seen a significant increase in lifestyle choices including plant-based eating, Keto and Paleo, alongside medically diagnosed allergies. As a result this is an opportunity for Wine & Dine’m to lead the way in the catering industry by educating our staff and clients as we develop a new era of menus that cater towards lifestyle preferences and medically diagnosed allergies.
– Environmental sustainability:
We will continue to reduce our impact even further as a sustainable and environmentally conscious business. Environmental sustainability is a complex problem and one that Wine & Dine’m Catering will influence positively.
– Connection/why/behind the scenes:
Our clients see us talk about sustainability, our accolades and see the beautiful images across our social media, but we feel it’s just as important to show our clients why they choose us. For instance having 20 years’ experience in this business is something we are very proud of; we care about the whole system and the story behind our food. Above all, we take responsibility for our actions, individually and as a business. Every day we look to make a positive contribution to the health and well-being of our clients, the communities we work in and the world in which we live. Staff sustainability is just as important as food sustainability and we cultivate an inclusive, safe, compliant work environment with fair pay. It’s more important than ever to know why you are choosing a service and the ethos of the business.
7. Who would you love to collaborate with?
8. What are your top 3 favourite Brisbane restaurants?
9. Are there any past catering trends you’d like to bring back?
They say all good things must come to an end. But I think the classics will always make a comeback with a modern spin. Look at high waisted jeans and crop tops, for instance.
10. How do you like to spend your weekends?
With my husband somewhere where there is water – either on the beach or on our boat.
11. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Firstly, “In order to play a bigger game, you must focus on the small”. Secondly, “Listen twice as hard as you speak”. That is to say, we all have two ears and only one mouth. Ignorance is expensive.
12. If you weren’t the General Manager of Wine & Dine’m Catering, what would you be doing?
I would either be travelling the world or I’d own my own little florist.