Fridays begin at 10am instead of 7am, which is already a great start! It involves my two-year-old son Adam sitting on my back yelling ‘horsey, horsey’. I try my best to spend weekends with him as during the week we don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like. Depending on the weather, we either go to the beach or find an indoor play area that has those tunnel tubes big enough for me to fit in.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
I’m originally from Lebanon but grew up in Boston for most of my childhood. I moved to Dubai in 2005 for my first job – that was a stroke of luck that felt like the proverbial icing on the cake. In 2005 I was in Doha at a friends’ office booking my flight back home. While I was on call with the travel agent, two guys walked in and we started talking and one thing led to the next and they offered me a role to be part of launching a major news network in Dubai. I changed my flight details on the spot and flew here instead. Had I not been there and met them my career would have taken a whole different turn.
My partner Raki had the idea about bringing a franchise to Dubai or starting a home-grown concept, but I was a bit hesitant to leave my media career. He then went on to create SugarMoo with our co-founder Jawad Yehia. I couldn’t resist being part of Dubai’s first online dessert delivery concept and decided to jump back into the F&B industry, which I admit, has always been a passion of mine. So I decided to quit my corporate job, invest in SugarMoo and the rest is history.
NOT A BAKER’S MAN
I must admit, I’ve never baked, not once. I wouldn’t even know where to start! However, pass me a dessert and I can tell you what’s missing in it and what it needs to be a bestseller.
THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE
My friend has been hounding me to start surfing, so I recently took a few lessons in a surf pool in Dubai and then took my learnings to the beach, but I still have a long way to go. It’s one of those things I keep aside for the weekend. I enjoy surprises, so I’ve decided to surprise my brother for his birthday. I’m planning to travel to Qatar for the weekend, so that’s something I’m looking forward to.
SHARING ISN’T CARING
I hate sharing food. I’d rather buy you a whole pizza than share a slice.
KEEPING MY HAIR ON
I actually have a full set of hair; this bald head is just very good make-up.
On a weekend, you’ll find me at the JBR beach by day and at Zuma at night, it’s one of the few places that never disappoints. Also Couqley in JLT is another new favourite; their steak frites is one of the best I’ve had.
TEARS OF JOY
The last time I cried was almost two years ago the moment I heard my son Adam was born.
FLIGHT OF FEAR
I’ve had a fear of flying (aerophobia) for the longest time and I’ve even seen a hypnotherapist about it, but it still gets to me. So, I’ve decided I should ride in a fighter jet. I think if I experience the ultimate and most extreme form of flight I would get over it. Despite my fear of flying, I still travel a lot. I was in Milan a couple of years ago and stayed at a boutique hotel called The Yard – one of the best places I’ve stayed in. It’s a 24-room mansion in the middle of the city with funky rooms and common hang-out areas where you get to meet other people staying at the hotel.
TO BE SUCCESSFUL, READ ON
A book that changed the way I look at life was Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. It gave me a better understanding and approach to success and the reason some people think it’s luck and coincidence when in fact there’s a lot more to it.
I’m addicted to the sun – it brings out my productivity. Winter brings me down and so do parts of Europe. Without the sun, I don’t function properly.
GETTING MY JUST DESSERTS
Being in the dessert bakery business, you learn not to see food so much as a guilty pleasure but more as a [treat] that you deserve and that’s what I tell myself every time I have our Brownie Mess in a Jar. The name speaks for itself.
I go through phases of listening to songs on repeat. Right now, it’s Passionfruit by Drake. It’s not the words as much as it is the beat that I’m hooked to. Some songs take a while to grow on you and others reel you in from the first time - Passionfruit is just one of them.
OF COTTON CANDIES AND THEME PARKS
Happiness is the taste of strawberry cotton candy sold in theme parks. As a kid, theme parks were always exciting. I remember having all sorts of coloured cotton candy there but the strawberry flavour has stuck with me and reminds me of happy childhood memories.