Giuseppe Cipriani on opening in Dubai
It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been looking for a location in Dubai for the past 13 years, and never quite found the right one, until now. For a while we were going to open in Downtown, but it didn’t work out. Let’s hope it is at least as successful as Cipriani in Abu Dhabi.
Formula One friends
The Yas Island branch continues to do very well, but it is certainly one of the more seasonal restaurants we own. When the Formula One is in town it is fantastic, with many of the big names coming down. I am friends with the drivers and the Ecclestones, although the drivers don’t tend to stay out late, because they have got work in the morning!
The generation game
Cipriani remains very much a family business. My grandfather started it, my father still works for the company, and I have been here since I was young. In fact, I have two sons who are interested in the business, so there will soon be a fourth generation of the Cipriani family working for the company.
The main thing I learnt from my grandfather and father is that nothing comes for free. You have to work for what you have.
Do what you know
The reason we’ve been in business for the past 80 years is that we concentrate on doing what we do, and doing it right — Italian food with consistently good service. I try not to worry about trends or our competitors.
Across the world Cipriani has always been a favourite of celebrities, from the days of Chaplin and Hemingway right up to people like Puffy Daddy. I’ve become good friends with [film producer and Cipriani regular] Harvey Weinstein. I remember one time in the ’80s, Madonna asked me for a bucket of iced water because she had just come from a concert and had swollen feet! Woody Allen often comes to our places. He doesn’t talk much, but is a great client.
The interior designer Michele Bonan designed the new Dubai restaurant. In fact he has designed the last few we opened in Ibiza, Monaco, Mexico and Abu Dhabi. He helped take the company to a higher standard, but still kept the Cipriani feel. We’re considering working together on the next one in Riyadh.
I see people sitting at the tables on their phones and not talking to each other. I think it’s sad. The joy of one-to-one conversation and spending time in people’s company is something that shouldn’t be lost.
Guiseppe Cipriani by Matteo Prandoni
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Cipriani Dubai, DIFC, Dubai, cipriani.com