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S I M P LY A B U DH A B I
Tell us about how your grandfather, Mr
Giuseppe Cipriani, started in the restaurant
business in 1931, with Harry's Bar.
In 1931 my grandfather openedHarry's Bar on the first floor
of an abandoned rope warehouse, off a dead end street in
Piazza SanMarco, Venice. In the 80 years that followed, the
Cipriani business expanded into a global hospitality brand,
managing a range of venues including restaurants, event
spaces, luxury residential properties and hotels.
With their notable achievements including introducing the
world to the Bellini cocktail in the 1940s and Beef Carpaccio
in the 1950s, four generations of the Cipriani family have
fashioned a global brand that is renowned for providing
some of the world’s most sought after social experiences.
My grandfather laid solid foundations right from the
beginning: he was consistently dedicated to simplicity of
food and service. This is how he wanted it from the start,
and this is how it will always be. An authentic approach,
completely free of affectation. A reputation based on quality
of produce and luxury in simplicity. My grandfather always
strived to provide customers with ‘The Good Life’ –
Cipriani style!
Growing up, were you always involved in
the restaurants?
I was not a very good student, and I have been living and
breathing the restaurant business since I was very young. I
guess I didn’t have much of a choice.
What was your first job within the
restaurant?
Bussing tables under my father’s eyes.
YAS MARINA CIRCUIT –
CIPRIANI / ALLURE
When you were looking to expand, what
drew you to Abu Dhabi?
The UAE is a very unique destination: exciting,
multicultural, diverse, and high energy. It’s close to Europe
and has easy access from all parts of the world. The state-
of-the-art infrastructure, its warm climate and a hospitable
environment make it a very attractive spot for ‘jet setters’
and affluent consumers.
I have travelled extensively to Abu Dhabi and the UAE and
always considered it to be a world class destination. We
chose Abu Dhabi, and in particular Yas Island, because it is
a growing location and we wanted to be here from the
beginning. The Abu Dhabi Government has always been
visionary, and when they expressed their interest in Cipriani
we were delighted to be a significant part of the master plan.
Abu Dhabi as a whole is aspiring to become a major tourist
destination, with a goal of attracting 2.3 million visitors in
2012
alone. I also think the Formula One track here is the
best in the world. Considering my own personal passion for
racing cars and F1, Cipriani Yas Island could not be in a
more prime location!
With the fantastic location of Cipriani in
Yas Yacht Club overlooking Yas Marina
Circuit, the F1 Abu Dhabi must be a very
important time for you.
The F1 race weekend is our busiest time of year, when all
of our regular followers join us from all over the world.
Everyone knows that Cipriani is the place to be and, as a
result, the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi F1 is a very special
time for us. We have been working very hard to offer great
Cipriani classic cuisine, where it’s all about the simplicity of
food and service. People come to us because they know they
will find what they are looking for: simple and authentic
food.
Do you attend the Abu Dhabi F1?
Of course! I am a former Formula 3000 team owner and
currently a driver with Durango in the European
Championship Auto GP. Needless to say, I have a passion
for car racing!
Tell us about the teamof Cipriani AbuDhabi
chefs.
Our chefs have been working for the company for many
years. They are very experienced and put a lot of love and
passion into what they do. Unlike other restaurants, it is not
about them in particular but about the flavours they bring
to the table day after day. It’s also about the emotions they
evoke with their food: always providing customers with a
unique and memorable experience.
What are Cipriani signature dishes?
Cipriani classics include the Baked Tagliolini, our local Fish
Alla Carlina, and of course our famous Vanilla Creme
Meringue.
We are the original creators of Beef Carpaccio, and this dish
is by far our all-time best-seller. During the last F1 we
served over 1000 plates of it!
Do you have a favourite among these
fabulous dishes?
I guess it depends on my mood. Our Baked Tagliolini
always puts a smile on my face; and a Venetian "Baccala
Mantecato" reminds me of when I was a child – I could go
on and on...
How would you describe the décor of
Cipriani Abu Dhabi?
The Cipriani restaurant employs the colours and materials
that have come to define the brand: mahogany, white, blue,
and polished steel.
It’s an enclave of old-school glamour straight out of a
billionaire’s yacht. The Florentine architect Michele Bonan
drew his inspiration from the Arabian Gulf, ensuring that
the décor and furniture were all in line with a nautical
theme.
Allure by Cipriani is one of the world’s
finest nightclub venues, and a playground
for the rich and famous. What factors do
you think make it so successful?
Allure by Cipriani is all about introducing a new era of social
interaction and escapism from typical nightlife. We achieve
this through animation, production, choreography and
music. This blend inspires our visitors to smile, and visit us
over and over again. I personally like to end my evening
with good friends in a great club, where you can listen to
great music – preferably not too far away from the restaurant
where we have just eaten dinner. This is Allure, a beautiful
nightclub with fantastic views – perfect for continuing
festivities till late in the evening.
FUTURE PLANS/DEVELOPMENT
You have restaurants all over the world. Are
there any dream locations you are looking
to expand into?
We are always open to new opportunities in theMiddle East
and in other parts of the world. Last year, we opened a new
hotel and restaurant in Los Angeles, Mr C Beverly Hills,
and a new restaurant in Mayfair, London.
We have a lot on our plate right nowwith two new openings
in Europe in May: one in Monte Carlo and the other in
Ibiza. Within a couple of months, a new restaurant will also
be coming up in Miami.
Should we be expecting any other Cipriani
restaurants/venues across the other Emirate
States?
Let's just say that we are working on it.
PERSONAL
In your free time, how do you relax?
I like running, which gives me a great sense of freedom. I
also like to spend time with my friends. But ultimately, I
don’t think of work and rest as being separate. Rather, they
are so connected that I do not even ask myself now when
one finishes and the other takes over. They are both just part
of a great life.
I can imagine that you are constantly
travelling – but where do you choose to
travel in your free time?
I am lucky to be travelling for work in places that I like a lot,
but I also always try to add a few days in Punta del Este at
the end of the year.
Also, I opened a project in Ibiza this summer. I have to say
that I do enjoy spending time there during the off-season.
There is a sense of freedom that the island gives me,
something which is quite unique.
Where are you based?
I spend several months in Ibiza and some time in London
the rest of the time I am travelling.
Are your sons involved in the family
business?
Three generations of our family are involved in the
business: myself, my father and my children.
Like me, my sons Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani were
exposed to the ‘hospitality life’ since childhood: it’s second
nature to them. Both boys are currently handling the
business operations of Cipriani, and have just recently
launched their own independent hospitality concept: Mr C
Hotels Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
As the family hospitality business has been going for four
generations, it would be hard for them not to be involved –
but they love it!
AND LASTLY...
What do you think of our Simply Abu
Dhabi Publication?
I had a chance to see this publication during the most recent
F1 event. It’s classic, elegant and a solid read!