A passion for food and crafting ‘delicious dishes’ is what inspired Nerang RSL and Memorial Club’s Anastasia Romans (Ana) to pursue a career within the kitchen, and last month
the budding chef ’s dreams became a reality, as she completed her full-time apprenticeship in Commercial Cookery.
As the first ever apprentice to complete the extensive course at Nerang RSL, Ana will be recognised at the upcoming International Women’s Day morning tea at the Club.
Ana first stepped foot into the Nerang RSL five years ago, as a School Based Trainee ready to study a Certificate III in Hospitality, but she soon realised that ‘the kitchen’ was calling her name and she couldn’t ignore her prevailing passion for food – so she made the switch to study Certificate III in Commercial Cookery!
In addition to her one-day a week work place commitment at the club, Ana started picking up extra shifts in the kitchen and with her passion growing by the day – she took the leap as a
full-time apprentice in 2016.
The long hours of study and hard work has certainly paid off for Ana, and she’s ecstatic to have reached the special milestone while also feeling humbled by the support of the Nerang RSL.
‘After three years of study and work, I’m very happy to have completed my apprenticeship and its been great to have the support of Nerang RSL ever since stepping through the doors of the club five years ago,” she said.
“I love being part of a team which is genuinely interested in helping me progress my passion and achieve my goals. It has made for a very positive environment, and, a workplace that I was excited to come back to each shift.
“I feel very lucky to have been guided by Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, who has played a large part in my journey at the club. Jason has been extremely supportive and I’ve been able to ask questions, gain insight and learn first-hand from an established chef who believes in my passion and has pushed me to chase my dreams.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to celebrating my apprenticeship with the team at the presentation morning that the club is putting on for me on International Women’s Day.”
Ana said she has enjoyed every moment of her apprenticeship, from the peaks to the challenges, and is excited for what the future holds.
“Whether learning about standards of cookery and hygiene to applying my learning from my book studies and implementing my skill set when working at the club, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience,” she said.
“What stood out to me was the ability to be hands on throughout my apprenticeship. Jason frequently asked me to come up with dishes and provide input into the menu which gave me the opportunity to learn how to make a range of new dishes and gain greater knowledge about different foods.
“My apprenticeship has reinforced my passion for food and cooking and it’s a fantastic feeling to know my hard work has paid off. This qualification has put me in good stead to progress my career, chase opportunities, continue learning and even open up doors to travel which is definitely on my bucket list.”
Nerang RSL Head Chef, Jason Blond, said he’s very humbled by Ana’s display of passion and dedication and is proud to see her accomplish the milestone.
“Ana’s become a part of the Nerang RSL family so it’s very rewarding to see her reach this milestone and I feel humbled to have played a part in guiding and teaching her throughout
her journey to completing her apprenticeship,” he said.
“Ana’s been able to get involved in many opportunities as part of her apprenticeship at Nerang RSL that other places often don’t offer. She’s been very proactive in creating dishes for our menu and providing input and suggestions across the club which is great to see.”
Having been in the industry for 29 years himself, Jason said it’s exciting to know there are budding chefs like Ana who want to learn and make their mark within the industry.
“A lot of apprentices often come and go, so it’s one thing to get individuals to start apprenticeships but another to see them complete it. It’s a tough industry with long hours so you need to be passionate, dedicated and motivated and throughout her apprenticeship, Ana has shown she’s the making of all these aspects,” he said.
“What makes the occasion even more special is that Ana is the first female apprentice through Nerang RSL to complete a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at our club, so we are very proud of her and look forward to putting on an appreciation morning and presentation to celebrate her achievement.”
Nerang RSL General Manager, Andrew McInnes, said the club has a focus on fostering the development of trainees and apprentices alike and is pleased to have Ana continue as part of the team.
“We put a lot of focus on culture and long-term vision at Nerang RSL and strive to put the time and effort into facilitating opportunities that help individuals who want to learn and pursue their passion,” he said.
“Nerang RSL is very proud of Ana and being one of the most successful apprentices to come through our club, I have no doubt she will continue to succeed, set an example and serve as an invaluable asset to Nerang RSL.”
What brought you to the RSL and what is involved in your role?
“I was looking for something new and a bit of diversity in my role so I decided to apply at the club and have been here for nearly two years now. I started out on the floor and have recently been promoted to Senior Steward at Gallipoli which I’m really enjoying. Some of my tasks within my role include the day to day running of the restaurant, making sure staff are happy and ensuring our customers are having a good experience. My grandfather was the president of the Sub Branch and my sister worked at the club before going on maternity leave so I’ve always known about Nerang RSL and I feel very honoured to now also be involved at the club.”
What do you most enjoy about your role and what is something you look forward to?
“I enjoy being able to walk around and interact with members and guests and there’s always something to do at the RSL which keeps me busy. I’m really looking forward to the learning opportunities that will come from being promoted to a Senior Steward and am also quite excited about the upcoming renovations for Nerang RSL.”
What is your ‘go to’ wine and meal on the menu?
“The Gallipoli Beef Burger is definitely a great option and if I were to recommend a wine, it would be the Amisfield Pinot Noir.”
What is something you’ve learnt along the way at Nerang RSL?
“Nerang RSL is a very supportive environment and there are often numerous training sessions offered to staff so that we can continue to learn in our roles. Through some of these training sessions, I’ve been able to gain a lot of insight into the array of wines and the different products we offer at the club. Andrew McInnes has also taught me a lot which I really appreciate because it’s a great feeling knowing that you have the support of your employer.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“You’ll usually find me at the gym, the beach or relaxing with my partner.”
What brought you to the Nerang RSL and what is your role?
“I handed my application into the club and it progressed from there. I started in February in the bar before becoming a glassy for the #4211SportzBar. I now work throughout the #4211SportzBar with some of my tasks including bartending and helping out with the TAB betting.”
What is something you most enjoy about your role?
“I love that it keeps me busy! I really enjoyed working on ANZAC Day because there were so many people who came to the service and to the club across the day. Melbourne Cup was also a great event to work at because everyone got dressed up, had a bit of fun and it was a great atmosphere overall.”
What is something you would like to learn, or are looking forward to across your time at Nerang RSL?
“I really enjoy working at Nerang RSL – the staff and members are fantastic. I would love to learn a range of aspects across each department and think the administration and promotions departments would be quite interesting.”
Are you involved in any other aspects of the club?
“I’ve been involved in Nerang RSL Netball Club for about six months. A few of the staff members at Nerang RSL encouraged me to join, so I did and currently play in an all-girls team and a mixed team. I really enjoy the sport and played in high school, so it’s great to be able to continue to play.”
In your spare time, what is something you like to do?
“I love to travel and have recently returned from Vanuatu, with a trip to Bali coming up in two months time. I’d also really like to visit Ireland just so I can see how they react to my name.”
How did you get involved with Nerang RSL?
“My sister-in-law was a cashier at the RSL and mentioned to me that they needed staff. I had worked in a casino prior, so I thought it was a perfect fit and decided to apply – I’ve been working at Nerang RSL for 18 years now.”
Can you share a little about your roles?
In my role as a cashier, I handle payouts and help guests within the Gaming lounge. I’ve also been involved in the administration side of things at the Club for about a year now, which I’m really enjoying. One day a week I help the administration team with aspects like membership mail outs, birthdays, welcoming letters for new members, and sending out ‘surprise and delight’ rewards bonuses to our members.”
What do you most enjoy about working at the RSL?
“I love the members! I get to meet many of our older guests and love to have a chat with them when they visit the Gaming Lounge. Having been at the Club for 18 years now, I’ve also worked alongside many other long-standing staff members who I’ve built great friendships with.”
Outside of your time at Nerang RSL, what is something you’d likely be doing?
“Being a professional tennis supporter! My son was a national level tennis player – and is now a professional coach – so I’ve always been very involved in the tennis world in terms of taking my son to training, travelling for tournaments and ultimately supporting his endeavors. I’m ecstatic to still be involved as I got my niece into tennis, so I still get to be the ‘tennis taxi’ and support her and take her to weekend tournaments too. I wouldn’t change a thing because I love being able to see the kids develop and grow doing something they love, in such a great environment.”
What is one of your highlights across your time working at Nerang RSL?
“Over my 18 years, I think the team at Nerang RSL has mastered being BUSY! We’ve become accustomed to the year-round busy schedule at Nerang RSL and I personally love that it keeps me on my toes. I also really enjoy the vibe that our big events bring and find it humbling to watch our services, such as our ANZAC Day proceedings grow year upon year.”