Most of the time, Ziad Kamel is a responsible father and restaurateur. But show him a ski slope and the adrenaline junkie surfaces.
Shredding snowy slopes and persuading people comes easily to this 36-year-old restaurateur. If only his dreams of travelling to space were as simple
I NEED MY SPACE
I’d love to spend a day with Elon Musk, the founder of US-based space transportation company SpaceX. My top bucket-list wish is to travel to space for the views, the weightlessness and the philosophical perspectives. THIRD-CULTURE KID I’m originally from Beirut, but I am a third-culture individual. I lived in Muscat for the first 15 years of my life and finished university in Surrey, UK. I’ve been living in Dubai with my family for two and a half years and run Couqley, a French Bistro in JLT.
All my F&B ventures centre around French cuisine because it’s something I love, snails included. Snails are a delicacy I enjoy persuading people to try. I can safely say I have succeeded in convincing hundreds of people to get past their psychological barrier to trying snails. About 9 in 10 people end up loving them! The taste and texture are non-invasive, mild, and pleasant to the palate, like sautéed mushrooms.
The last thing I splurged on was a snowboarding trip to Switzerland with a few of my best friends to a take break from life and enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful powder slopes. I’m an avid snowboarder. Whistler Blackcomb, a ski and snowboarding resort north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, is my dream holiday destination. I would love to stay for a month of mountain resort life and continuous snowboarding with my family and close friends.
POWER OF PERSUASION
I’m looking forward to reading Robert B Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When I changed schools at 14, I tried out for the basketball team as I was a key player in the previous school’s team. When tryouts ended and I didn’t make it, I was crushed! But I persuaded the coach to let me train with the team and went on to become a key player.
I travel to Beirut often as we have two restaurants there and I travel at least once a year to other countries. I have had fantastic dining experiences while travelling – the best was at a tapas restaurant in Barcelona. The owner served us what he wanted, and we ate it all!
I know the dialogue of the film Scent of a Woman by heart – that’s how many times I’ve watched it. I love that movie because it’s about empathy, perseverance, pain, love, and success. Al Pacino is fantastic in it, too.
HOPPING INTO HOSPITALITY
I had always wanted to own my business. The opportunity came when I was 22. I co-organised a New Year’s Eve event in Beirut for 600 people and it was a massive success. Then, the next year, we held a New Year’s Eve party that was a bigger success. A few days later, I opened Gauche Caviar, a bar in Beirut – that is how I got into hospitality, the business of selling happiness.