Candice Smith
Women In WACS Profile: Candice Smith

Name:  Candice Smith


Age:  30


Position(s) currently held: Business Owner

Career Highlights: Now, owning and cooking in my own Café Scout in Brisbane within one year we have received numerous rave reviews


Home Town/Country:  Bungendore NSW


1. What kind of formal education do you have (include apprenticeships)?

I did a traineeship in front of house operations and completed year 12.


2. What made you decide to enter the culinary profession?

Advice from my school career advisor to try something different to my previous desire to work in the arts.


3. Culinary childhood memories (e.g. Who did the cooking at home? Did you watch or participate? Favourite dishes that you still occasionally prepare?)

My mother was mostly in the kitchen, and my father manned the barbeque. I often found myself out with my dad learning how to cook the perfect sausage. I have a great recipe for my mum’s meatloaf which I now use in my café. My mum’s pretty happy about that.


4. At what age did you first enter the food service industry? What was your first job?

I was 16 and started as a kitchen hand at the local French restaurant, Le Normandy.


5. What were important stepping stones to reach your current position?

  • My traineeship at  Barocca Restaurant Bar Catering with Cassandra Hayden (Austin)
  • Moving Melbourne to pursue my knowledge of coffee as one of the worlds leading cities for fantastic coffee
  • Genuinely taking an interest in every aspect of the hospitality industry
  • Taking and making as many learning opportunities
  • Finding the right person to have a business partnership with


6. Did you or do you have a mentor? (Who is that person? How has s/he helped you?)

Ravi Presser was the head chef of Jewish and Indian decent at Kinfolk Café, one of the first not for profit cafes in Melbourne. With such a limited kitchen he was able to prepare a new menu every day. I was working as head barrister, but was given the opportunity to work two days in the kitchen with Ravi. He taught me with simplest of techniques, how to get maximum flavour. Ravi has really influenced our menu at Scout Cafe.


7. What, if any, problems did you encounter in your career?

Finding the right venue for Scout. It took my business partner Susie and I two months  to find the venue that felt right for us.


8. What, if any, was the greatest obstacle? Describe.

Project Management of setting up the café. Susie and I were still working part time during this period and had to organise the electrician, plumber, builder, glazier, and all the other service people to come in the right order.


9. How did you overcome that hurdle?

Through solid planning, communication and learning just to go with the flow.


10. What is the male/female ratio in your current job?

 4 male : 5 female


11. Describe your current work conditions (including average hours per day spent on the job; do you work weekends/holidays? do you have changing shifts?)

Scout is coming up to its first year of trading in January. In the initial two months of trade, we didn’t have a day off, however, we are now lucky enough to have at least one to two days off a week. Our working days are about 11 hours, and we do weekends and holidays.


12. Are you single, married or in a partnership?



15. Did/do you have support (from your husband, partner, family, network of friends

My partner has been the greatest support personally, and professionally. Katie did the initial town planning for the café. My friends and family were also very supportive. We were surprised at how willing people were to help us with café setup and continue to be through operation.


16. What is your advice to young women entering your specific field?

Experience is essential. Don’t be afraid to take opportunities, even if it means changing jobs.


17. What are your interests outside the culinary field?

  •  Travel
  • Squash
  • Music
  • Food
  • Art


18. Do you manage to integrate those interests in your life?

Definitely. I try to have one day a week to explore my interested outside work to keep balance in my life.


19. What are personal and professional interests that you would like to pursue within the next 5 years?

My business partner and I are hoping to open our next venture, within a couple of years. We’re thinking a small bar.


20. In your opinion, does the foodservice industry address problems specific to women adequately?

I’ve been lucky enough in the specific field that I have chosen, that there is no problem with gender inequality.


21. How could the foodservice industry/your national chefs’ association/WACS better address such problems?

I believe that women supporting women is the most powerful tool in any industry or life situation, and associations, like WACS reinforce this through providing a platform for women to feel confident.


22. Would you be willing to be a mentor to other women in WACS? (If yes, indicate by what means: via email/SKYPE/a stage at your business if the woman seeking help provides for her own travel expenses, board)

Via email: