Elie Ghrayeb, one of F&B’s brightest and youngest stars

Elie Ghrayeb, one of F&B’s brightest and youngest stars

From corporate chef to general manager of Trabya group, 26-year-old Elie Ghrayeb has already made his mark in the industry. Here, we learn more about his journey to the top. 

How did you find your calling as a chef? What drove you to embark on a career in hospitality?
It all started in 2009. I joined Printania palace as a very young kitchen apprentice, and I was hooked immediately. I fell in love with every aspect of the hospitality world thanks to the opportunities I was given to work alongside world-class chefs who took me under their wings and thought me the art of cooking. The passion for food that I developed during this phase drove me to embark on a lifetime career.

What are the highlights of your career? What marked your professional path?
After working in the kitchen for almost seven years, I became interested in other aspects of management and began working with Wissam Maalouf at Bucketlist, an F&B management firm. It was my first role outside of the kitchen. I was assistant operations manager for three years, during which we developed many high-end projects in Broumana, Beirut and the Gulf. It was a major turning point, shifting my focus to management and project development.

What are the challenges that you are facing while heading a big company at such a young age?
Heading a large corporation, with over 100 employees and three brands, comes with a great deal of responsibilities, and holding such an important position while still in my twenties comes with an even bigger number of challenges. I believe the first and greatest challenge was establishing trust and a clear line of communication with the management and staff members of the company. I had to prove myself in a very short amount of time by achieving record-breaking results, and, of course, the main hurdle was dealing with pressure. It’s hard not to buckle under pressure and keep moving forward, but I have managed to find a healthy balance.

From corporate chef for Vresso to GM of Trabya group, a food services company, what made you transition to a managerial position?
Working for Vresso as their corporate chef was a major step in my career. I was introduced to the food service world and participated in all local trade shows, such as HORECA. Working under the mentorship of Mr. Vrej Sabounjian was a blessing; he taught me the art of perfection and attention to detail. When I decided to join Trabya group, I was ready because I had acquired all the skills necessary to handle the company and take it to the next level. Indeed, we had one operating brand in 2019, and today we have three brands and four outlets.

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently working on multiple F&B brands that are set to launch soon, including a brunch café and a Lebanese food concept. We are expanding Graffiti burgers all over the Middle East, in addition to establishing a Trabya franchise in Saudi Arabia in the coming year. On a personal level, I am currently working on developing an F&B consultancy and project development agency in Saudi Arabia alongside world-class chefs, baristas, pastry chefs and talents from all over the world. Our mission is to develop brands for the Saudi market and offer our consultancy services to clients in the Gulf.


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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