The Big Climb: Mansour Memarian
What drew you to this role?
I discovered Palazzo Versace Dubai almost three years ago. The hotel was in its pre-opening phase and it grabbed my attention as it was heavily talked about. A fashion hotel will always be the centre of attention and Palazzo Versace Dubai has struck a chord with guests since it opened. I thought many times about having the chance to work here and I dreamt about getting the role of executive chef. When it actually happened, I couldn’t have been happier. Palazzo Versace Dubai is both a beautiful brand and a beautiful destination.
What skills and knowledge do you bring to this role?
Having worked in several standalone restaurants in Europe and iconic hotels in the UAE, I am very happy to combine my knowledge, experience and background with the needs of the local market to convert our food and beverage offering into a whole new memorable experience. That said, I think the most important skill someone needs for this kind of role is to be a good leader. Leading by example is so rare nowadays, but this is what sets Palazzo Versace Dubai apart — it encompasses a passionate team whose leaders always guide to achieve the goals. I would like to believe I am a good teacher as well. I want my team to always be up-to-date with the newest cooking trends, and I’ll be there to support them.
Are there any specific challenges of working in a Michelin-starred restaurant?
I have worked in Michelinstarred restaurants for 16 years. The challenge lies in always providing better, and I love this challenge. The responsibility as a chef is tremendous. The plate is your business card. Working in such restaurants also provides the opportunity to grow within and with a strong team who is always the centre of attention amongst discerning diners and food critics.
What do you think of the food scene in Dubai?
It is very competitive and pushes all of us to be a step ahead. Dubai’s food scene is one of the best in the world. Here, people from all over the world gather together and celebrate the special moments of their lives around food. Socialising and celebrations of life are the main reasons people go to restaurants. This is why we, as the chefs, strive to create memorable dishes and moments.
Name your career highlights so far?
If I have to point out one highlight, it would be the first Michelin star I earned as a chef de cuisine at Jagdhof Glashütte in Germany. However, the biggest highlight is to be fortunate enough to work every day with amazing and passionate people and learn a lot from diverse nationalities and cultures.
How do you aim to make the F&B operations at Palazzo Versace more profitable?
Our purpose as a food and beverage team is to set the stage and create a story every day for our guests and offer them fabulous dining venues, where they can come, socialise and enjoy their lives over a delicious plate. Good food means smiles and joy, and we will focus on offering casual-chic experiences of the highest quality.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I’m pushing forward the plan to make Palazzo Versace Dubai the most sought after culinary destination in Dubai. As I mentioned before, the stage has been set.