In celebration of International Women’s Day happening on Sunday, 8 March 2020, we sat down with a local customer and female restaurateur, Ana-Paula Gozzo.
Ana-Paula owns and manages the much-loved tea garden, Ana-Paula’s Coffee Shop, in the heart of Krugersdorp. With 20 years of experience in the industry and an inspiring story to tell our Foodservice Marketing Manager Catharina Bester, sat down with Ana-Paula to learn about her story.
From a young age, Ana-Paula showed a keen interest in the culinary and hospitality industry and dreamt of one day opening up her very own coffee shop. After getting married Ana-Paula moved to Italy and lived there for 8 years. “I think living there taught me so much about food and nurtured my passion even more. The first thing I did when moving back to SA was to convert our little flatlet next to our house into a coffee shop to be closer to my kids.”
20 years ago, it was the perfect time to open a unique ‘tea garden’ from home as this was still something very new and exciting. The business rapidly took off and she started building a loyal following in her local community. You will find Ana-Paula’s Coffee Shop in the heart of Krugersdorp surrounded by beautiful gardens and old-world charm. ‘I started with 4 little tables in our old house built in 1947. I started my restaurant 20 years ago and 20 years later I’m still here.’
Her passion for what she does lies in her humble beginnings and her love for customer satisfaction. ‘I love seeing people enjoy what I have created.’ In the beginning she did the cooking herself but now Ana-Paula has a team of 6 amazing women helping with daily operations. Ana-Paula’s Coffee Shop has grown immensely and offers a space for small parties, baby showers, kitchen teas, and conferences. For Ana-Paula, it is a privilege to be part of the memories people are making. Their memories are her memories and she fondly cherishes the joyful moments her restaurant is a part of.
Female owned and run restaurants are on the rise and is an inspiring and triumphant feat for women in the culinary industry. Ana-Paula fondly praises those who have taken the risk and put in the hard work to overcome all barriers. As a single mom, to now two grown children, her determination to succeed, risk-taking mindset and creativity has inspired of both her children to pursue careers they love.
“Michelle Obama said there’s no limit to what we as women can accomplish and I could not agree more. Many women have sacrificed and struggled to overcome historic bias. They’ve consistently shown that integrity, ability and hard work can make them as good as the best. In the light of International Women’s Day, I believe that this newly found confidence in women has allowed for easier entry for newcomers in the culinary and hospitality industry.”
Ana-Paula believes that supporting and building up women is fundamental in all aspects of life. Women should be inspiring and encouraging other women to be the best that they can. She mentions that people tend to underestimate women and that is even more reason for us to stand together and celebrate our womanhood by helping each other and believing in each other. “We are each other’s support system. When we achieve the ability to recognize, accept and celebrate our differences we will all be in a position to celebrate and appreciate each person’s individual and special characteristics. This fundamental change in perception will be a winning recipe for our industry.”
“We need to take the responsibility to inspire confidence and a can-do attitude among young women. We need to inspire them to believe in themselves and know that with the right mindset, research and hard work they can truly accomplish anything. We also play an important role in imbuing self-belief amongst these women. I do believe that with firm kindness and a bit of female magic, we can overcome anything.” Looking back, Ana-Paula wishes she instilled that same confidence in her young self, knowing that eventually she too would succeed and that it is ok to be brave and confident.
‘There are good people out there who will support your business.’
‘The most important message I would like to send out this International Women’s Day is to be brave and believe in yourself. Work hard, always be kind and remember that everybody matters.’