What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
At the age of 16, I was offered my first job in the food industry at a local restaurant called Bugsy’s where I was in charge of chopping and cooking chicken wings. In hindsight, I’m still amazed at how such a simple and not-so-glamourous task sparked my interest into food and hospitality business. I could never fathom that it would lead me to five continents where I would develop my culinary skills and meet such inspiring professionals and mentors along the way.
How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are today?
I have been so fortunate to be able to travel the world and work at iconic and luxurious hotels. To be able to experience such vast cultures was very enriching and working with the top echelon in the hospitality industry was very motivating and humbling. Being surrounded by such passionate professionals was the catalyst to every achievement I worked hard for. It continuously added fuel to raising the bar at every milestone in my career.
What are the key skills you possess that make you well-suited to your role?
To be successful in the hospitality industry, one must be able to entertain and create memorable impressions that will render a smile when thinking about past experiences. I am so passionate about what I do that it illuminates in my daily interactions with team members, guests, partners, and industry leaders and transcends into my creation of dishes. People go through their entire lives in search of a career which gives them true joy. I am lucky that I found my passion at a very young age.
What has been the professional achievement you are most proud of?
I can’t pinpoint just one accomplishment as each and every achievement no matter how big or small has contributed to the chef and restaurant operator I am today and led me to life opportunities that I could not have ever dreamed of. My focus now is to help groom hungry individuals who remind me of myself when I was an aspiring apprentice and lead them to similar successes all the while inching forward to reach their full potential. Sharing my knowledge and making an impact on people’s careers will be my ultimate professional achievement.
Why is it the right time to enter the Saudi market?
As Hakkasan Group continues to expand its footprint around the globe, we saw an opportunity to be at the forefront of Saudi’s emerging culinary scene. A large portion of the Saudi population is under 25 and the young particularly are fascinated with and partake in Western trends. Our culinary innovations and expansion in Saudi really fits in with the new progressivism happening in the Kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030. Yauatcha is an award-winning brand, globally recognised as part of the Hakkasan Group umbrella of fining dining establishments which includes the Michelin-starred Hakkasan.
If we focus on our craft and product, ensuring to deliver a stellar experience to our guests every time, then that drive and passion will put us where we need to be in the market.