The Caterer

Brits abroad: Scott Price and Nick Alvis

01 November 2019 by
Brits abroad: Scott Price and Nick Alvis

Scott Price and Nick Alvis both moved to Dubai 10 years ago to oversee Gordon Ramsay's Verre restaurant at the Hilton Dubai Creek. The pair now operate two of their own restaurants, Folly at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and Verve at the Grand Plaza Mövenpick, and the Lion pub. They talk to Katherine Price

What was it like when you first moved?

NA: Dubai was very tricky at the beginning due to certain restrictions on the menu, especially alcohol and pork. Then we had to add in the fact that the European produce we were familiar with was only delivered twice a week. Running a restaurant within a hotel also had its challenges, with no more direct contact with our suppliers and instead having to work with a purchasing department and an online ordering system.

SP: I had been working in restaurants my entire life and, all of a sudden, I was executive chef of a Hilton hotel, with multiple venues, and I had to start being in department meetings and learning about core values and brand standards. I was very far out of my comfort zone.

Nick and I had worked together at Claridge's for a couple of years and kept in touch, I honestly don't remember how or what was said, but he fancied a change from the UK as the recession was really hurting the country, and he arrived a few weeks after the restaurant reopened. Since then we have launched and developed nine venues together, working with different partners, and have set up our own company, operating, developing and consulting on numerous projects in the city.

What do you like about living and working in Dubai?

SP: It's a safe, clean environment with minimal crime and excellent medical care, and the sun shines every day (sometimes too much!)

What do you not like?

SP: The long, hot and humid summers between June and October. The temperature goes up to over 50ºC and it can hit 100% humidity.

NA: The summer here is really not that enjoyable.

How easy is it for British hospitality workers to get a job in the Dubai?

NA: With so many hotels and restaurants over here, I don't think it's difficult at all.

SP: British passport holders also have the advantage of being able to stay in the UAE for 30 days with the visa on arrival stamp, which gives people some time to look for employment. This is not available in most countries, as you have to apply and pay before you come. And the exchange rate from the dirham to the pound at the moment makes it even more enticing.

How do you think working overseas has enhanced your career?

SP: In many ways, I've learned to adapt my management style. Working with very different cultures and managing teams from very different countries, we have grown from being cooks into chefs and restaurateurs in the last decade.

NA: When the idea of moving to Dubai was suggested, it seemed like a massive move and something that was so daunting I was actually nervous, but making the move was the best thing I have ever done.

It has helped me to achieve the goals that I had always set out to achieve, which might not have been possible should I have chosen to not explore options overseas.

CV: Nick Alvis

  • 2016-present Chef-owner, NSRG (Nick & Scott Restaurant Group), Dubai
  • 2013-16 Project development manager, Albawardi Group, Dubai
  • 2011-14 Chef-patron, Table 9
  • at the Hilton Dubai Creek
  • 2010-11 Head chef, Verre at the Hilton Dubai Creek
  • 2005-10 Chef de partie to sous chef, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, London (Claridge's and Pétrus) and France (Gordon Ramsay au Trianon)

CV: Scott Price

  • 2016-present Chef-owner, NSRG (Nick & Scott Restaurant Group), Dubai
  • 2013-16 F&B development and concept design, Spinneys Dubai
  • 2010-14 Executive chef, Hilton Dubai Creek
  • 2004-09 Senior sous chef, Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, London

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