Akiba restaurant's Orlena Prosser is one of six national finalists in the 2019 Waiter of the Year award, with winners to be announced in August.
The 29-year-old has hospitality in her blood, her parents originally from Austria, owned restaurants and cafes on the Central Coast of NSW as she was growing up.
Orlena even remembers the moment she decided that she would make hospitality her career, when she was just 12 and made her first coffee for one of her parents' regular customers.
"I had been practicing my rosetta and put one on her coffee and she just went, 'Ohhh" and was so appreciative and that feeling that someone could look at your work and acknowledge you'd put your heart into it, was pretty addictive," she said.
Orlena loves working at Akiba, the popular Bunda Street restaurant. She says a good waiter is one that understands what a customer wants and "delivers on that 110 per cent".
"If it's a couple who want a private dining experience, you give them their space. But if you want a psychologist, therapist, comedian, that's what I'll be," she said.
The awards are being presented by Appetite for Excellence. Judges include industry leaders such as Guy Grossi and Luke Mangan.
The waiters were grilled on their knowledge and had to serve judges at a dinner. The next round is a produce tour of regional NSW. Winners are announced on August 6.