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Lara Graham

Wasabi Restaurant & Bar, QLD

Name: Lara Graham

Age: 21

Restaurant: Wasabi Restaurant & Bar

Location: Queensland

“My service philosophy is to create a seamless, knowledgeable and professional service without being pretentious or overbearing

I was inspired to become a waiter because… a friend of mine was working in Wasabi and a junior position presented itself. I was intrigued by her stories and experiences so I decided to see where it would take me.

I love my current role because… I’m part of a dedicated, passionate team who are constantly striving to deliver the best in what they do. There is something very rewarding about delivering a classic product in a beautiful atmosphere with a level of service that focusses on the smallest of details.

A great waiter is someone who… is knowledgeable yet not arrogant, attentive yet not intrusive and efficient yet not robotic. Our industry is all about timing and a waiter should strive for effective time management with every service. They should also have the ability to infuse a hint of their own personality into the dining experience, making the client feel like they’re spending the course of their meal with a friend and someone they can relax around.

One change I’d like to see in the industry is… the notion that the hospitality industry is not a career choice. It most certainly is – one that offers an exciting, ever-changing work environment where you are constantly moving, learning, teaching and growing.

An industry leader I admire is… my employer, Danielle Gjestland, who over the last four years has constantly pushed me to believe in myself. Her drive and passion are incredibly motivating.

By the time I’m 35, I’d like to… have travelled the world experiencing as many different styles of dining and cuisines as I can, visiting wineries and meeting with the winemakers and farmers. I will be obtaining as many wine/sommelier qualifications as I can, ideally completing them domestically and internationally. Eventually I would like to own and operate my own restaurant – a very relaxed style of dining, encouraging clients to share and try as many dishes a possible, using the most sustainably farmed and organic ingredients when I can, paired with an eclectic wine list curated to compliment the food.