What was your educational background and professional experience before starting at Le Cordon Bleu London?
"I have worked in Lenotré restaurant for around one year as a creative development chef, as well as for Sheraton Hotels as a Commis Chef for a short period. I then decided to persue an actual career to polish and refine my skills, taking them to the next level."
How did you decide to train in the culinary arts?
"I have been creative ever since I was young. Finding my passion in food came randomly, as I love good food and I have always shown an interest in eating well and living well no matter the circumstances I'm in. Moving to Miami for my bachelor's degree opened my eyes even further as I experienced a melting pot of cultures with such an extreme culinary vibrancy."
Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?
"Le Cordon Bleu has always been at the forefront of the culinary industry and choosing the London school was the best decision I have made, as they ensure everyone that graduates does so at the level of a chef and not just an amateur cook."
How did your culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu help you start and subsequently progress your career?
"I left the school with a well-rounded understanding of running an actual kitchen as its leader. I have been put in many scenarios where I had to act on the spot and act professionally in fixing the issues, and I surely wouldn’t have succeeded if it wasn't for my professional training at Le Cordon Bleu."
For me, Le Cordon Bleu represents an immense capability and understanding in culinary basics of all foods through the science behind it.
What can you tell us about your food businesses (Street Al Makan, Street Cafe, Street Ice-Cream, Table Otto, Pam & Cow among others)?
"I am the Director of Culinary Development, as well as the Co-Owner at our company. My work relies on being in-charge of everything related to food development, operation and quality control.
"Everyday is a surprise with its own schedule and tasks, however, most days start at the office reviewing emails and the sales from the day before. I then check on the daily bakes of our pastry production, from croissants & pastries, to the cafés we supply to. Then I check the hot kitchen to inspect the quality and consistency, before briefing the team and resolving any issues from the day before. My day is always based on fixing problems, issues, or tasks that need to be delegated from all branches and to operate systematically and efficiently.
"Not having an operations manager, and being the one in-charge of everything related to food & operations is probably my biggest challenge. This can include everything from the simplest details of fixing a broken bulb, to developing a menu for a governmental event.
"My inspiration always is sparked from anything and everything. I travel a lot and my menus are mostly constructed on the plane on my way back home. I always try to learn from people, and get inspired by their skills or ideas which always develops new ideas of my own."
What part of your role as a business owner are you most passionate about?
"Starting a small business with only eight employees four years ago, and growing to an amazing 100+ employee company means that I am no longer only a chef; I am more of a manager doing everything between myself and my business partners. This also means I’m not in the kitchen that often and mostly based in the office. My passion will always and forever be at the kitchen, running service, and mostly viewing the customers reactions, getting a well rounded culinary experience dining at my outlets."
Did you always want to start your own food business?
"From the day I every found my passion for food, I knew one day I will make it happen and open a restaurant. I am lucky to have grown and reached where I am today with more than one outlet."
What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
"Get your experience, work for at least 2-3 years, have thick skin to customer reviews, train yourself to be a one-man-show, and mostly go for it and not wait. I never had the chance to work and gain proper experience under anyone after my culinary training with Le Cordon Bleu, which meant that I learnt everything the hard way. In the end, it did make me stronger but to become the best you have to work with the best and that can sometimes take time."
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
"To expand my brands to where I learnt it all: London and Miami."
If you'd like to follow in Faisal's footsteps, why not follow your passion and enrol onto one of our programmes today? You can find out more information about the Grand Diplôme® which Faisal studied, which includes both the Diplôme de Cuisine and Diplôme de Pâtisserie studied alongside each other.