Honey Spencer’s career has taken her all over the world in some incredible places, from Sydney to Copenhagen and even to a guest somm position at Noma Mexico. But she fell into the wine industry almost by accident. Here Honey gives us some incredible advice and inspiration in our latest Career Quick Fire, taking a shallow dive into the deep waters of different jobs.
Take us through your career journey so far – the highs and lows and what’s built you to be the person you are now.
I started as a bartender for Jamie Oliver. All I knew when I came out of uni in 2010 was that I wanted to work in Jamie’s marketing department, but there wasn’t a grad job going. That’s when I started working for restaurant Fifteen and made the happiest accident through becoming a sommelier. Basically, I just loved serving people and wine gave me a vehicle for that and I loved there was also an academia to it, too. Since then, I’ve travelled all over the world, working in wine bars, restaurants, festivals, vineyards, learning all I can about wine and surrounding myself with some pretty sensational people.
What are the merits of choosing experience over salary early on?
I was once moaning to someone at a party in my early twenties about having a low salary, and they stopped me short and said, “the money will come”. That really stuck with me. I did a bit of inward looking and realised I was loaded in so many other ways than just cash. And besides, I was learning so much and got to taste and run through a vineyard and call it work!
At what stage have you felt the balance has been tipped?
Tricky. Overtime is a hard one. If an employer consistently asks you to take extra shifts and you’re salaried. There’s being a team player when your team is in the shit and then there’s poor organisation.
How has your outlook on what makes a valuable employer changed through your career?
That’s a great question. Personally, I have always worked for PEOPLE. I find a leader I want to work for and figure it out from there. I could never just work for a brand or product. As I get older, I value empathy and diplomacy more than ever, which is so much harder for a company to pull off over a ’tough shit, this is hospitality’ culture. The company I work for now embodies compassion, empathy and diplomacy and I’m SO lucky to have found them.
What advice would you give your past self you wish you could have known?
Trust yourself. Know your stuff, work hard and trust your worth.
Favourite go-to for cheap eats?
We work on the edge of Chinatown so I go to BUN HOUSE and Chinese Bakery at least once a week. I also love MEI MEI in Borough Market, and also Padre Tacos next door.
If you’re splashing out, where are you dining first?
The River Café… I’ve never been!!! *Shhhh!
If you’ve enjoyed hearing from Honey, why not get some facetime IRL? Evelyn’s Table are on the lookout for an Assistant Maitre D’ here and The Palomar are seeking keen CDP’s for The Palomar.