Born and raised in Kuwait, AlBayan Bilingual School graduate, Ahmed Al-Bader always had an interest in the culinary arts. After graduating from high school he decided to attend the Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island to pursue his passion. The accreditation of majors and universities played a huge role in determining his education since during the time of his studies, the Ministry of Higher Education did not offer scholarships for majors in the Culinary Arts, and neither was Johnson and Wales a credited university in the State of Kuwait. It was then that Al-Bader decided to transfer to Suffolk University in Boston where he majored in Finance and minored in Marketing.
To fulfill his passion for cooking, Al Bader, now a certified chef, attended the renowned Cordon Bleu for a 6 week intense training course. He later joined the French Culinary Institution in New York where he worked 750 hours and earned a diploma in Culinary Arts. Al-Bader also studied restaurant management and obtained a diploma in baking.
Back in Kuwait, Al-Bader landed his first job at Gulf Bank, where he made use of his business degree. Later on, he joined Securities Group. At this point, the fervor for food was coming back, so Al-Bader partnered with a friend and opened up a café in Kuwait called Simplice. Even though the café ran for 3-4 months, it was basically a test to what he was capable of doing in the long run.
During this time, he decided to join Global Investment House, where he worked in trade. After gaining enough experience in the banking and investment sector, Al-Bader decided to join The Sultan Center where he did food rotation and what ultimately led him to venturing full time in the restaurant business, where among other things, he was one of the partners of Richoux.
His first foray into the restaurant industry was with Burger Hub, a burger joint with a pub-like interior that serves some of these best burgers in Kuwait. Serving delicious burgers and mouthwatering American-style appetizers, Burger Hub quickly became one of Kuwait's most sought after eateries. Soon after that came Prime and Toast, a feel-good cozy restaurant with vegetable crates lining the walls, and tasty homemade looking sandwiches. It's also one of the country's top breakfast venues.
Al-Bader's next venture was 86 Bistro, a small hub of a place with a delectable menu of the most wonderful mix of dishes. It's here that he personally cooks for you at the Chef's Table. Shifting from his Western style cuisine, the chef created Miqarmish, a simple, casual Arabian concept for shawarma lovers. Just like any other shawarma place in the Middle East, pass by in your car, honk the horn, place an order, and get your food!
One of his newest projects is a modern "hole-in-the-wall", Pizzetta, a unique Italian restaurant where Al-Bader serves his take on Italian cuisine. What's so special about Pizzetta is that it's the first full fledge pizza on the grill concept in the Middle East. The list recently expanded to The Butcher's Den and Izakaya, a Japanese Eatery that is soon to open along the restaurant strip in Al Arjan in Bida'a.
With a list of restaurants like that under a name, it's hard to believe that the person ever faced challenges. The road to success is very demanding, and Al-Bader has had his fair share of problems. He names "communication, management, and operating" as the top 3 challenges when it comes to running a restaurant. When it comes to food, however, it's a much simpler equation for him, "whatever is fresh and good, I'll buy it", he says.
Each restaurant's concept is a product of Al-Bader's vision. He comes up with ideas, which he describes to designers who later implement the concept in the proposed space. With all that said, however, when it comes to his favorite part out of all this, he says "The best thing is when I see people smile after having a bite."
– All images of Pizzetta Restaurant.
By: Deemah Al-Fuwaires