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

Friday - - Contents -


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.


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.


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.

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