Elias Gemayel, Executive Chef at Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha, shares his love of Qatar’s lifestyle, excitement at showcasing his skills and unique culinary philosophy.

You have been in Qatar many years now. What first drew you to enter the country’s dining scene and what is special about it that keeps you here?
I’ve been in Qatar since 2006. What initially drew me was the visionary outlook for the future, which is now our present reality. Qatar’s ambitious development plans and its commitment to becoming a global destination were compelling factors that piqued my interest.
Moreover, the level of hospitality and the spirited competition within the culinary landscape over the years have been instrumental in shaping my journey here. The relentless pursuit of excellence and the drive to innovate have kept me engaged and motivated in this dynamic environment.
However, what truly keeps me rooted in Qatar is not just about hospitality or professional competition; it’s about the lifestyle and the sense of safety and belonging that I’ve come to cherish. Qatar has become my home away from home, where I feel a deep sense of comfort and familiarity amidst its diverse communities and cultural offerings.

You have been involved in various high-profile ventures, including catering for royalty, working with the multiMichelin-starred Chef Gordon Ramsay and producing food at major sporting and entertainment events. Is there one experience along the way that stands out?
Reflecting on a journey that has been filled with diverse culinary ventures, it’s challenging to single out just one experience. However, I am honoured to mention that being part of the biggest and most important international events that took place in Qatar was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Having had the privilege to contribute to events like the Arab Cup 2021, FIFA World Cup 2022 and Asian Football Cup 2023 has been an absolute highlight of my career.
Participating in these prestigious tournaments, especially in handling VIP and VVIP catering, has been both exhilarating and humbling. It’s a unique opportunity for a chef to showcase their skills on a global stage and cater to the discerning palates of esteemed guests from around the world.
The level of precision, attention to detail and dedication required to deliver exceptional culinary experiences during these events is unparalleled. It’s a test of not only culinary prowess but also logistical mastery and the ability to thrive in high-pressure situations.

What can guests expect in the culinary realm at Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha in the coming months?
Having been part of the pre-opening team of Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha, where I had the privilege to open seven distinct restaurants, including Crust, Mr. Tailor Steakhouse, Rasa, M Lounge, ZOH, Akte Pier 51 and Farmhouse, I can assure our guests that we’re committed to delivering an unparalleled dining experience.
We’re dedicated to introducing new and innovative culinary concepts that reflect the latest trends and global influences. From interactive dining experiences to curated tasting menus featuring seasonal ingredients, we aim to captivate our guests and exceed their expectations at every turn.
Guests can look forward to an exciting culinary journey at Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha in the coming months. With our extensive selection of restaurants, innovative concepts and unwavering commitment to excellence, we’re poised to elevate the dining scene in Doha and create unforgettable memories for our valued guests.

What is your signature dish and how was it developed?
My culinary philosophy revolves around more than just a single signature dish; it encompasses a signature approach to cooking. It’s about the way I treat and handle each and every ingredient with the utmost respect, showcasing them in their purest form and preparing them in the most appropriate manner, season by season. I believe in the art of merging, twisting and combining two different cuisines, two different cultures, in a single dish. This fusion not only creates exciting flavour combinations but also tells a story of cultural harmony and culinary innovation.
In brief, my signature line of cooking is a reflection of my philosophy in approaching food – it’s about celebrating diversity, embracing innovation and creating unforgettable dining experiences that resonate with guests on a profound level. ✤