On The Couch with Aline Avak Kamakian

On The Couch with Aline Avak Kamakian

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HN sits down with Aline Kamakian, owner and CEO of Fig Holding, who is responsible for spreading the Armenian heritage with her own YouTube channel and a wave of restaurants, Mayrig and Batchig, serving Armenian delicacies in Lebanon, KSA, Armenia and Maldives.

1. Can you tell us more about your restaurants, how many branches do you have and where they are located?
Mayrig was founded 15 years ago in Beirut in an old house from the Ottoman period. It was the first Armenian restaurant to draw entirely from the recipes as they were preserved among the Armenian diaspora that fled the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century.  In Mayrig, we are constantly creating and recreating dishes while staying faithful to our roots. We have five branches: Mayrig Beirut (Lebanon), Mayrig Faqra(Lebanon), Mayrig Riyadh (KSA), Mayrig Yerevan, Mayrig at the Four Seasons Hotel Maldives. On the other hand, Batching  is a Levantine restaurant, a blend of two exceptional and rich culinary traditions: The Lebanese and the Armenian cuisines. We have three branches: Batchig Antelias(Lebanon),  Batchig Broumana(Lebanon), and Batchig Cafe Riyadh (KSA).

2. How do you plan to adapt to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and what do you expect to be the ‘new normal’ in its aftermath?
The new normal means fewer clients who want to eat out.
In order to remedy this predicament, we need to implement several strategies such as:

  • Creating an eat-at-home experience, through delivery services and selling frozen dishes.
  • Optimizing delivery plans.
  • Establishing more outdoor locations.
  • Offering combo-like dishes.
  • Increasing our catering service.

3. What is your motto for life?
Never give up your dreams, no matter how hard it is, it will get better. 

4. What is your highlight of the year?
 Opening Mayrig in Faqra.

5. How is your restaurant going green?
Our restaurants have always been environment friendly, with a zero-waste policy and a recycling scheme. Everything we use is recyclable, even the plates, the dishes, the material used and printed on. On a case-by-case basis, leftovers are, either sent to, the food bank or taken for composting.

6. What trends do you forecast?
A behavioral consumer change, an increase in online orders and the tendency to cook at home. Digital menus will be the new trend.

7. What are your upcoming projects?
Working on more franchises in GCC and Europe, spreading the Armenian culinary heritage.

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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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