Federico Maccan has just earned the title of Restaurant General Manager at Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney. It’s a co-share role with his colleague Dane Reid. They are now working side-by-side managing the prestigious restaurant.
The start of Federico’s hospitality career can be traced back to his teenage years in Italy.
Peeling potatoes for pocket money at the age of 13 was just the start. Later, hospitality jobs were paying for university studies in Surveying and Civil Engineering. One thing he didn’t envisage was that he would end up joining the management team at such an esteemed restaurant as Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney.
At university, Federico discovered his leadership potential. By default, he became the leader of university projects. He was also the person to take care of everyone else. Picking up on people’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their needs, was his strength. He set his sights on a management career. Federico moved to London to explore these opportunities.
Building a Hospitality Career
In London, Federico built the foundations of his hospitality career. In Italy, he had only worked with family-owned businesses. When he arrived in London, he joined the Living Ventures Group. The hospitality group operated some of the best-known restaurant brands in the UK.
“That’s where I learnt the importance of the produce, of caring, of product knowledge and professionalism, but most of all that I could make a career having fun and working in restaurants,” Federico says.
Next, Federico moved to Sydney where he worked for Italian restaurant group Fratelli Fresh. He performed many roles: runner, waiter, bartender, supervisor. He absorbed everything he could about the hospitality profession. Learning new hospitality skills was his daily objective.
When Rockpool Dining Group (now Hunter St. Hospitality and Pacific Concepts) acquired Fratelli Fresh, Federico was promoted to Assistant Restaurant Manager at Rosetta Sydney. The next stop was Rockpool Sydney. In September 2018, he became Assistant Restaurant Manager at the Sydney restaurant and steakhouse.
Hospitality Management Skills
Federico is part of the restaurant management team that steered Rockpool Sydney through the pandemic. This included managing several lockdowns. At this time Rockpool also pivoted to offering Providoor finish-at-home meals to customers.
“The restaurant was completely transformed,” Federico says. “The most beautiful dining room in Australia became a production line of Providoor boxes for deliveries.”
“One day I stepped out of the restaurant and couldn’t find any place to eat in the CBD. We began selling our burgers as takeaway items and were able to sell about 100 burgers a day.”
There was also the start-stop nature of reopening a restaurant as team members were incapacitated due to Covid to contend with.
For Federico, it was a time of further learning and development.
“At this time, I guess what I was learning was that it is always important to think outside of the box, to try to think about what others – your customers – are expecting and to try to do the best you can, no matter the circumstances.”
Despite the difficulties, Federico embraces his chosen career path.
“I enjoy that not every day is the same day at Rockpool. We never know who is going to show up. Our guests include business leaders, famous people, people on vacation (finally!) who are continually testing my English language skills, first-time diners coming for celebrations, as well as our amazing regulars,” Federico says.
“I respect the professionalism and the passion of the people I work with. I am continually impressed by the dedication that our chefs, Corey and Santiago, have to sourcing the best ingredients, the never-ending learning from the sommelier team led by Filippo L’Episcopo that are on a constant search for the best bottles of wines. But most of all I love working alongside the best in the industry with whom I share the same values.”
“What I love about hospitality is a combination of factors: a genuine feeling of gratitude, the relations with people and the fact that no two days are the same. Sometimes it can be stressful, but then I always look back on these hectic times with pride.”
If you are inspired to work alongside the Rockpool team, check out our vacancies here.