What is your role?
Assistant Manager and The Bavarian.
What were you doing before this?
Restaurant Manager in fine dining.
Are you originally from Sydney, Australia?
No. Originally from Slovakia. Arrived here two years ago.
What is the happiest moment of your life?
“Probably moving to Australia. I’ve never regretted that decision…
Even if I won’t be able to stay in this country in the future, it definitely gave me so much. I already see some things changed in me. I’ve changed so much.”
What is your favourite thing to do when not at work?
“When I’m not at work I love to do some sports, I love running and gym. Now when the weather is just awesome, I love the beach… at the moment my favourite is Maroubra. I like Clovelly actually, just to sit on the coast and watch the ocean. It’s so calm…
I love going out with my friends as well, but sometimes I need my own time – Ivana’s time.”
If it was your last day on earth, what would your last meal be?
“Pizza! I love pizza! I like just cheese pizza…a lot of cheese, prosciutto and rocket on top, tomatoes…”
“I like pineapple, but on the side not on a pizza – it doesn’t belong there!”
A bit more…
The Bavarian in the Entertainment Quarter has a special place in Ivana’s heart.
“This venue is my baby. This was my first job since I arrived in Australia.”
She left Slovakia in search of more work opportunities and a better lifestyle.“I felt like there was nothing much for me happening back home.”
Other Slovakians were moving to Europe and American, so she thought she might try somewhere else. She had friends who had been to Australia. “They said: ‘It’s fun, it’s summer there all year long!’”
She had acquired basic English through her work in the restaurant business and talking with tourists, but it didn’t help her much when she arrived.
“I came here, I couldn’t understand this Aussie accent at all. Like ‘what is this guy talking about, I have no idea!’” Apart from adjusting her accent, Ivana started making lifestyle changes, inspired by the culture and climate. “I actually started getting up earlier because I wanted to do so many things. I started to travel a lot, which I love. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before.”
At least there’s one thing that will help her assimilate: “Girls, they like cocktails and wine – I’m like ‘give me a pint of the beer!’”
It’s just as well because she is often asked to recommend a beer by patrons at The Bavarian. They have quite a variety including flavoured, dark, red IPA, pilsener and more. They also have their own. “We do have our crafty beers, they are actually brewed by our company, so we do have a Munich lager which is basically the most popular…it’s like a basic Aussie lager.”
What about the food?
“We have a pretty traditional German cuisine here, so definitely knuckles, bellies, schnitzels and sausages. It’s all home made, which is great. So we do have one big production kitchen.” And, of course… “…our pretzels, which are great!”
“I think whoever wants to eat something unhealthy can find something in our menu! (But also healthy options are available.)”
And her favourite menu item?
“I like chicken parmigiana because it tastes like pizza”