The Eating...Our Words 100: Brane Poledica, Quattro and Vinoteca General Manager
Brane Poledica is the general manager at Quattro and Vinoteca at the Four Seasons Hotel. A native of Bosnia, he moved to Houston in 1996 after fleeing the war in his home country. His duties include everything from increasing revenue, promotions, marketing, booking bands for the restaurant, managing payroll and training staff.
"When you're running a restaurant you should be available at all times," he said. "Even when you are off work. Basically you try to do everything."
Why does he like it?
"You often have to deal with different guests, different requests," says Poledica. "You have to please the guests and please the employees. It's a circle. If you please the employees they'll please the guests."
"You never get bored. There's always something going on."
What inspires him?
"I am inspired by food, but I get really excited around people," he said. "Interacting with them, exchanging thoughts, exchanging feedback. When you are in the service industry you are 24 hours on the stage. Your mentors are your coworkers and customers. All the time, you are getting feedback from them."
If not this, then what?
Poledica didn't set out to work in the restaurant industry. He said it was his "hobby". He was working at a coffee shop while in college studying physics, but had to flee Bosnia, and his studies, in 1992. He lived as a refugee in Slovenia for a few years before moving to Houston in 1996. At the time he didn't speak any English.
"I studied physics because it was an area where you could get a job very quick. It took me two to three years to learn English. For me, it was more logical to focus on my hobby."
If not here, then where?
Poledica is now a full-time resident of the United States. His children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son, were both born here.
"Houston is a very welcoming city. The more time you spend here, the more it gets into your blood. I feel more at home here now than I feel in my hometown. It feels weird to visit -- war changed everything."
"I would choose another part of the world, just for the life experience," says Poledica. If I had the opportunity, I might live in Asia or Africa. I believe I have the energy and passion to start over somewhere again."
The Eating...Our Words 100:
- Trancito Diaz, Chef and Owner at La Guadalupana
- Randy Evans, Chef at Haven and Farm-to-Table Godfather
- Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan, Chefs and Owners of The Pass & Provisions
- Kaiser Lashkari, Owner and Chef of Himalaya Restaurant
- Nicole and Michael Graham, Owners of The Garden Hen
- Staci Davis, Owner of Radical Eats
- Philippe Verpiand, Owner and Chef at Etoile Cuisine et Bar
- Tyler Horne, Market Manager at Urban Harvest Farmers Market
- Stephanie Earthman Baird, Bringing Wine to Cowboys
- Yilmaz "Jim" and Deanna Dokuyucu, Husband-and-Wife Owners of Turquoise Grill
- Dan Tidwell of Treebeards on Downtown Houston's Past, Present and Future
- Kiran Verma, Executive Chef and Owner of Kiran's Restaurant & Bar
- Catherine Rodriguez, Pastry Chef at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
- Jody Stevens, Owner and Cake Designer of jodycakes
- Bobby Heugel, Owner of Anvil, Blacksmith, The Hay Merchant and OKRA's Charity Saloon
- Renatta Lindsey, The Taste Contestant and Houston Home Cook
- Enrique Bravo of Pollo Bravo on How Selling Chicken Helped Him Realize His American Dream
- Sean Beck, Sommelier Extraordinaire
- Brooksy Smith, Owner of JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
- Minh Nguyen, Owner of Cafe TH and One of Houston's Best Front-of-House Personalities
- Tiffany Tyler and Aimee Turney of Central City Co-Op
- Ellen Schwartz, Culinary Instructor & Private Chef
- James DeLeon, Certified Sommelier and Craft Beer Nut at Kroger
- Alex Padilla, Executive Chef at Ninfa's on Navigation
- Kevin Strickland, Herder of Cats at gratifi, a.k.a. Ziggy's
- Ron Chen, Owner and "Head Coach" at Rattan Pan-Asian Bistro
- Brock Wagner, Godfather of Craft Beer in Houston and Founder of Saint Arnold Brewery, the Oldest Microbrewery in Texas
- Blanche Kinze, Murray's Cheese Master at Kroger
- Bear Dalton, Wine Buyer & Educator, Spec's
- Sam Ray of Republic National, Houston's Largest Wine Distributor
- Thai Van, Server Extraordinaire at Kata Robata
- Dale Robertson, a Populist Among Wine Writers
- Denman Moody, Author of The Advanced Oenophile
- Benjy Mason, Executive Chef at Down House
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