Chef Sudqi Naddaf – the executive chef at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates chats to sister publication Hotelier Middle East about his 15-year long career, how his role has changed in recent months and how he and his team has risen to the challenge of staying motivated in the current climate.
Describe your path into the hospitality
I have started to find my passion for cooking at eight years old when I saw my uncle who is a chef cooking at home and I admired his doings and kept following him since then, I have worked in many cities and countries with different brands, I have learned a lot from my traveling and engaging with different people and different cultures, I have been with Kempinski for the past 15 years and the last nine of them is with Kempinski MOE
What do you enjoy most about your role?
With over 15 years of experience and growing in several roles the most constant and enjoyable part of all the roles is being able to engage with people "staff as well as the guests".
How has your role changed in recent weeks?
With such challenging times and keeping safe the thing that has changed significantly is my favourite thing about my role “engaging with staff and guests” alongside keeping on the top of things with everyone from distance as my job is a very hands on job.
Are any extra precautions being taken to ensure guest safety?
All the safety precautions have been applied to the staff and the outlets to make sure all our guests’ safety. We had many inspections from Dubai Municipality to check that we are compliance with their updated rules and we been rewarded with "A GOLD" certificate as this is the highest grade of food safety level
Due to the current situation, Iftar deliveries have been introduced. How did you overcome any initial challenges?
Ramadan being very different this year and not being able to have our guests to gather was quite challenging itself. To still give them a feel of our kitchen we introduced takeaway Iftar. To overcome the challenge, we made sure to have a well-trained team and we all have one target is to overcome this challenging time.
How do you stay motivated?
Keep engaging with my colleagues, keep in touch with my loyal guest and keep cooking at home.