Meet Robbie McGowan
Our Associate Director of Food & Beverage
Robbie McGowan chooses people over positions – an ethos that abounds in the State Buildings.
Robbie is a gentleman with a superior hospitality pedigree, last found in the likes of Aria and Quay in Sydney, and one who strives to deliver your ultimate State Building experience.
He will know you by name before the season changes – please, do introduce yourself if you see him around the building.
Robbie recently underwent an interview with the Urban List about his experience of moving over to Perth from Sydney. Read the full interview below:
Q. Please tell us your name and job title
Name – Robbie McGowan Job Title – Assistant Food & Beverage Director
Q. How long have you lived in WA and why did you decide to move there?
I have lived in WA for 2 years and decided to move here due to a number of reasons. I have lived in Australia for 11 years prior to moving to WA (originally from Scotland). I had only lived and worked in Sydney during that time. During the pandemic it allowed myself to reset and think about the future, about what I really wanted to get out of my life and career. There are obviously risks and rewards to moving state and changing jobs however the unknown really excited me with the chance to test my skills and knowledge in a different environment. Having visited WA quite a few times before it is an incredible place that ticks a lot of boxes for me. Not only is the lifestyle, people and culture is different to Sydney, I feel the hospitality sector is only just starting to come into its own and definitely since I have been here it has changed. These are some of the reasons I moved here along with the fact that raising a family in this environment seemed a perfect suite for me. Space is a very expensive commodity in Sydney while WA seems to have it in the bucket loads. I might add my girlfriend was born in WA so she helped sell the dream!
Q. What’s the best thing about working in your industry in WA?
The isolation of the state can often be seen as a negative, however I look at it in a more positive way that we have incredible produce in this state that often is hard to get anywhere else which provides opportunities to showcase elements many other states cannot. The access to produce such as local seafood and native ingredients are a huge bonus to area like WA.
I feel working in the industry in WA people can be more open minded and open to change while other states may potentially have more of a history of hospitality which can cause obstacles. The industry is quite small over here so the impact you can have can be quite substantial and connections you can make can be fantastic. Depending on where you work the cross over from producer or wine maker to hospitality service staff is a lot closer and often the relationships you create can allow doors to open throughout the industry.
Q. Tell us what the most surprising thing about living in WA is and why?
WA is somewhat Australia’s biggest secret in terms of the work life balance people experience and the success you can achieve. The state provides incredible opportunities, you just need to know where to find it. People from WA tend not to make a big song and dance about things over here so it is often difficult to know what to expect. The level of wealth and expense people are more than willing to spend was quite surprising for me. This does open up the market in hospitality and allows more creativity and opportunities for people to spend on experiences. I think in hindsight I was not expecting this to the level I have seen.
Q. How would you describe the lifestyle of living in WA?
Lifestyle in WA is definitely at a slower pace to the east coast, however the work life balance is a massive plus due to the climate and ability to transition from city to coastline to wine region in the space of a few hours. The neighborhood feel to a lot of cafes, bars and restaurants adds to this more relaxed lifestyle and feel to hospitality. The proximity of everything isn’t really close by however to get anywhere doesn’t take too long. I was used to terrible Sydney traffic which can take up half of your day!
Q. What would say to someone who is considering moving to WA—should they do it and why?
It will not be the same as where you are coming from so don’t look for what you left behind, here. Embrace it for what it is and as a developing state, see what you can add to it. I moved here during an interesting time in my life where I had progressed my career in Sydney and could have gone on further, however after moving here I have had the most progressive 2 years in my life, both professionally and personally. This may have not been the same elsewhere.
To have multiple wine regions on your doorstep, thousands of incredible beaches, it’s nearly impossible to get bored.
Q. Do you have any advice for people once they do move to WA?
Expose yourself to as many experiences as you can when you arrive, and see the whole state before you choose where to expend your work expertise. Seek out work environments where people have similar aspirations to you and invest some time getting to know the industry before you commit to a particular spot.
Q. Any final comments about why life in the west is best?
Life in WA is not all beach sunsets and wine tasting it is actually hard work at times, like any other state, however it has so many opportunities depending how much time and effort you want to invest in it. The people are genuinely very approachable and appreciate anyone with a good intentions and bring something different to the table.
After having started a family here late last year I definitely feel at home here and couldn’t think of a better place to live at the present.
Meet Robbie McGowan - Events
Experience an exquisite lunch at Wildflower for $69 per person.