Doshii Dishes: Women in Hospitality with Ainslie Lubbock

To celebrate International Women’s Month, we’ll be speaking with hardworking hospitality workers from across the industry about their work and experiences in an effort to highlight the sector’s most important asset: its people.

This article was originally published on Doshii Dishes on March 17, 2022.

“After my son was born in 2015, so many hospitality industry colleagues were open to me working in their businesses, consulting on wine lists and providing training services. Our industry can be incredibly supportive and flexible when you need it to be.”

At Doshii, we love highlighting the amazing work our friends and partners in the hospitality industry are doing. That’s why, as part of an ongoing series, we’ll be speaking with hardworking hospitality workers from across the industry about their work and experiences in an effort to highlight the sector’s most important asset: its people.

To celebrate International Women’s Month, we’re starting with some of our strong and inspiring women in hospitality, beginning with Ainslie Lubbock, the Service Standards Business Manager at Mornington Peninsula’s stunning Pt Leo Estate winery, connected with Doshii through our me&u in-venue ordering app integration. Ainslie is one of Victoria’s most sought-after hospitality figures, with inimitable skill and supportive leadership style that has fostered some of the state’s brightest up-and-comers. We were lucky enough to chat with Ainslie about her journey in hospitality and the experiences that have made her such an industry stalwart.

Doshii: When and how did you become part of the hospitality/hospo tech industry?
Ainslie Lubbock: I began working in the hospitality industry when I was 15 years old – serving ice creams and mopping floors at the Great Australian Ice-creamery. While studying, it was a platform which provided flexible hours and allowed me to save for a ‘gap year’ after year 12. Over time, I began working in cafés and then restaurants. Ultimately, I decided the hospitality industry should be my primary focus, at which stage I undertook formal wine qualifications and began working as a Maitre’d and Sommelier in venues across Victoria and abroad.

D: What has been your biggest professional challenge and how did it help you grow? Conversely, what professional achievement are you most proud of?
A: My greatest professional challenge was returning back to the workforce after my son was born in 2015. All of a sudden my time at work wasn’t limitless and the type of commitment I could make shifted dramatically. Over this period of time though, so many industry colleagues were open to me working in their businesses, consulting on wine lists and providing training services. It reminded me that our skills are valuable and that our industry can be incredibly supportive and flexible when you need it to be. The achievement I’m most proud of is probably all of the young women and men I’ve worked with who have gone on to make their names in hospitality and continue to contribute so much to it – hopefully, I played a small part in their journey!

D: What changes have you seen in the hospitality/hospo tech industry since you first entered it,
particularly in terms of being a welcoming and comfortable environment for women?
A: There are definitely more women in wine buying and senior roles across the industry. Organizations like Sommeliers Australia have worked hard to encourage equality in membership and this is a great thing. The casual and part-time nature of our industry has always suited women, but I do hope that we are living in an era where there is more security for women (and men) via proper wage and leave entitlements.

D: What’s your favourite thing about working in hospitality/hospo tech?
A: The team, the aesthetics, the joy, the pace.

D: Who is a woman in your industry that you look up to and why?
A: Annie Smithers (Chef/ Owner at Du Fermier, Trentham), Olimpia Bortolotto (Restaurant Founder of Bortolotto’s), Lisa Jenkins (Owner/ Winemaker at Fleet), Jane Eyre (a Wine Maker in Burgundy)… and so many more! All of these women, in my opinion, are tenacious, intelligent and incredibly talented. They all pursue hospitality excellence with passion and grace!

D: The theme for this International Women’s Day (and month!) is #breakthebias. How do you feel bias has impacted you on your professional journey?
A: Possibly in the wine sphere as it was initially a much more male dominated domain. Over time I’ve seen
a dramatic shift in the culture of learning, information sharing, buying and selling so that there is much
greater equity in this field of hospitality.

D: If you could give your younger self one piece of professional advice, what would it be?
A: Be ready to ask for what you feel you are worth, seek knowledge and always see your skills as transferable.

D: What’s your favourite venue or meal in Australia?
A: So many to choose from! I always enjoy coming ‘home’ to the City Wine Shop/European on Spring Street. Josh and Con have promoted an incredible culture of wine with their team (and developed some of the leading women Sommeliers in the country). It’s truly an iconic Melbourne venue.