Artyom Hakobyan, chef, Cucina, Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community. Artyom Hakobyan, chef, Cucina, Courtyard by Marriott Dubai Green Community.

What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?

Being an Armenian, I had to do national service, so I went into the army for two years. I was assigned to work in the kitchen and there my love for cooking and food began. I love the buzz you get from service and I love seeing people enjoy eating my food. After I finished my service in the army I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: become a chef. I went on to get a degree in culinary arts to fulfil my dream and I have only worked in kitchens since then.

How has your previous work experience inspired you to get to where you are?

All my previous experiences have made me who I am today. Cooking is all about learning and experimenting with flavours. I have had the privilege of working with some very talented chefs over the years. From every kitchen I worked in I have learnt so much and took inspiration, which has made me the chef I am. I was lucky to work in a variety of roles that really made me a versatile chef — I have been in charge of risottos to pasta, to being a pizzaiolo, and also worked in the steak section of a restaurant.

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How did your love for Italian cuisine actually begin?

It began with cheese, I fell in love with Italian cheeses when I was back in Armenia working in an Italian restaurant. At the restaurant we had a large selection of cheeses, and I was able to taste so many different varieties. I travelled to Italy recently and was able to try even more different types of cheese. It has been a dream of mine to visit Italy for many years. The country has an amazing culture, of course food, and lovely people.

Tell us a bit about your experience in Dubai’s F&B scene and how it’s evolving?

The food scene is growing every day so it’s an exciting time. Lots of new trends and new brands are expanding which is great for the region. As a chef, I love to go around the city and try new restaurants.

What are some of the challenges you encounter  and how  will you tackle them?

Competition is getting tougher each day. So it’s hard to stand out in the market. It means being more creative with menus and offerings, as well as keeping up with trends. We have just revamped our menu, and we will keep heeding to our guests’ wishes and feedback as it’s a constant source of new opportunities and inspirations.

Why did you join Cucina  at Marriott?

I work with all my passion for food. Courtyard by Marriott has given me the freedom to create my own new menu at Cucina and I’m very excited for people to come and enjoy it. Marriott is a great brand to work for. Green Community is a buzzing area are and we are very much a hotel for the community so we are very excited for our neighbours to come and try the new offering.

In what ways are you planning to add to the success of the restaurant?

To let my passion shine through and come up with new concepts with the team to keep Cucina interesting, and keep people coming back. Cucina has an open kitchen concept so it will be great to have direct interaction with our guests and to get their feedback.

Can you describe any new initiatives  that you are planning to introduce?

We have just started a new concept called The Italian “Linner” at Cucina. A New York concept, linner is a cross between lunch and dinner and offers the best for a Friday sociable dining. It’s a family-style plated brunch with all the favourite Italian dishes which starts at 3:30pm until 7pm. All dishes are prepared with a pinch of love and passion, using the best of fresh seasonal produce wherever possible. You can order all dishes, or your favourites only and also re-order as often as you like. It’s a fun place to bring your family and friends and enjoy with us here at Cucina.