Sipping a glass of Pinot Noir with his wife while watching the sunset, on board their sailing yacht is where you’ll find The Ruby Collection CEO, David Brook.
David has been involved from day one of the new development, which delivers next level customer service not yet seen on the Gold Coast, and boasts the catch phrase “We don’t do ordinary.” And with a rich history working in hotels and resorts all over the world, it’s clear that David has never done ordinary.
David’s positive work ethic and extensive experience is recognised by the myriad of Industry awards he has received, and is personified by the strong and dedicated team of professionals that he has around him. Having gone to 14 different schools in three countries and running hotels, leisure attractions and boasting experience from all over the world, there’s a lot behind the man who leads the team at Ruby.
Tell me how you first got involved in hotels/resorts?
I wanted to be a chef from a very early age after spending my childhood covered in flour helping my grandmother make scones and fruit cake. My favourite dish was her home-made steak and kidney pie with mushrooms and short crust pastry.
What was your first job and how old were you?
As a 14-year-old I started working for Forte Hotels in Monmouth, Wales. I worked after school as a kitchen hand peeling potatoes and carrots, washing dishes and helping out in any way I could. I loved watching the chefs cooking all sorts of meals and dreamed of one day being a great chef. The highlight was learning how to make a hollandaise sauce, from scratch, without the egg yolks separating.
Who is the most famous person you’ve looked after?
I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in both Australia and the UK and have come across many famous people, from Saudi Princes, movie stars, rock stars, politician’s, and TV personalities to Royalty. The most memorable are Mick Fleetwood, who I met whilst working for the Hilton Group in Perth, and Princess Margaret whilst working for Forte Hotels in the UK.
What is the funniest story you have from working in hotels/resorts?
When I was at college and learning how to cook, there were two incidences that stand out. The first was whilst preparing crepe suzette on a gueridon table, (which is like a BBQ on a trolley) with an open flame. Whilst serving the crepe a fellow student accidentally knocked the customer’s toupee into the flames with his waiter’s cloth. The second was after cleaning out a deep fryer in the student cafeteria, we accidently refilled it with a drum of dishwashing liquid rather than cooking oil and commenced cooking the day’s fish and chips. It wasn’t until students started to complain about the flavour that we realised what we had done.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Continually researching and developing new products and services that keep us ahead of our competitors and ensuring that new ideas, concepts and experiences excite our guests enough to keep them coming back year after year.
If you weren’t working in tourism what other job would you be doing?
With the recent development of The Ruby Collection, I have been heavily involved in the design and fit out of the guest rooms and public areas, I’ve really enjoyed the process of choosing fabrics, materials, furnishings and equipment, visiting the factories and ensuring the quality control of all the items chosen. I think I could quite easily slot into a career in interior design.
What are your greatest strengths?
I believe I have the gift to motivate and drive those around me to achieve greatness and a desire to constantly push themselves to outperform their own expectations.
What is your greatest weakness?
Wine by far. Whether it’s a crisp Provincial Rose’, a creamy Chardonnay or fruity Central Otago Pinot Noir accompanied by a soft cheese makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Where did you grow up?
A hard question to answer as I went to 14 different schools in three countries starting in Perth, Western Australia, England and Wales for primary and high school then returned to Perth for my college hospitality training. I guess I still call Perth home but also have very fond memories of Bristol England which is where I was born and Monmouth in Wales where I spent much of my youth.
I am a very adventurous foodie and love all types and styles of food and cooking, but if I could only choose one style of food in the world, for the rest of my life, it would have to be Japanese. For the influence of seafoods, the freshness, exciting flavours and diversity.
Favourite place in the world?
I’ve been fortunate to visit so many beautiful, rugged, exciting countries but my favourite would have to be the Island of Espiritu Santos in Vanuatu, with Kathmandu a very close second.
Favourite bottle of wine?
The next one that’s being opened and offers a new experience. But seriously I love to try different wines, although white burgundy, Rose and Pinot Noir would be my favourite styles.
Where would you live if you didn’t live on the Gold Coast?
I love the warm weather, so it wouldn’t be anywhere cooler. It would need to be somewhere with plenty of water, sunshine and warm Summer evenings. Is there anywhere as wonderful as the Gold Coast?
What scares you?
The growth of the floating Ocean rubbish and the public lack and care around this major global issue.
What inspires you?
How do you motivate your staff?
I treat all my staff with the respect and recognition that I would like from them. I make every effort to remember the names of as many of the 300+ staff, to genuinely enquire after their family and reward and recognise those that add to our team. It takes no time to stop and say hi and be human.
If you were an animal what animal would you be?
Many years ago, after a personality test, I was told I was a wolf. Which doesn’t sound too bad, other than living in cold climates, which I really don’t like.
Describe yourself in one word?
What is your favourite song from the 70’s?
December 1963 by the Four Seasons released December 1975
What was the last movie you saw?
Seven years in Tibet with Brad Pitt, an amazing adaptation of the true story of the Dalai Lama which I believe was made in 2007.
What was the last book you read?
The Gold Finch by Donna Tarte. A great read and exceptionally well written.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
If someone else can achieve it so can you. If you back yourself and have the desire, drive and passion.
What’s one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
In 2008, I crushed my left foot smashing the majority of bones and was told it was possible I would always walk with difficulty and not be able to run. Two years later I ran the Townsville 43 km Marathon in 4 hours 20 mins
What is your greatest achievement?
Other than seeing the success of my children, which I guess every parent would rate as number one, would be my climb to Mt Everest Base Camp in 2011 which will always remain one of the highlights of my life.
What travel destination is still on your bucket list?
Patagonia, South America, for its baron challenging rugged terrain and the remoteness.
Who is your personal hero?
Richard Branson by far. A visionary, motivator, positive influencer and can-do person that I admire greatly.
What is your favourite quote or mantra to live by?
Hindsight is the lack of foresight. Which I believe relates to ensuring I have a well thought out plan for the future in both personal and business life.
If you could invite anyone to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
There are so many people I could think of however, as I have a passion for technology and the huge developments in alternative power, and the future of commercial power sources and storage I think an evening with Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison and Elon Musk, discussing where to next, would be sensational.
What is your vision for The Ruby Collection and how do you see it being received on the Gold Coast?
My wish is for us to be seen as a leader in the hospitality sector bringing new concepts and a level of customer service not seen for many years. As with the many new trends adopted at Paradise Resort, I see our guests excited to return and enjoy a unique experience.
Describe in one sentence what will make The Ruby Collection different to other hotels/resorts?
That’s simple, “We Don’t Do Ordinary”.