In Conversation with… Davut Diril

The General Manager of Huqqa talks about culture, hospitality and his experience in Qatar.

How did your career in hospitality and the food industry start?
I started my career in hospitality and the food industry in 1989 in Turkey as Assistant Waiter. I always had this idea that this industry provides an opportunity to interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds and that was always fascinating to me. And it does. Whenever a customer comes in, they bring their culture with them and it’s always exciting to interact with them and know about where they’re coming from, their preferences in food, flavours, and traditions. So, that’s why I got into this industry and since then it has been the driving force for me.

Tell us about your cultural background and what’s it like being a host at home? Are there any traditions you follow when welcoming guests in your own space?
I come from Turkey and Turkey is known for its warmth and hospitality. And, like every Turkish family, my family is also very hospitable. For us it’s like my home is your home and we try to make our guests as comfortable as we can. In terms of traditions, we always offer traditional Turkish coffee and Turkish homemade baklawa to our guests. There’s no way possible that someone comes to our home and goes back without having these two. I think it’s really important to extend such warmth to guests, because more than hosting them it’s like creating memories for them. Now, whenever they’ll have a coffee or baklava, they’ll always recall you and how they cherished your company.

Huqqa brings together Turkish and Qatari culture along with a mesh of international flavours. How do you make sure to keep it relatable to every one who comes to have a good time?
Huqqa offers Turkish cuisine with certain international dishes on the menu. For us, it’s more about creating an experience for people in Qatar. Locals and expats alike here love sheesha and we provide them with one of the best. New flavours and dishes on the menu tailored with local taste in mind really takes us a long way. For example, keeping spices low and subtle rather than going overboard. Even for sheesha flavours, offering new, experimental combinations that are really well taken.

As an expat in Doha, what, for you, are the most interesting and unique aspects of Qatar, or your favourite thing to do here as a domestic tourist?
For me it has to be the Desert Safari. It’s so thrilling. Safari tours and dune bashing really give you that adrenaline rush. There’s no way you live in Doha and you haven’t tried it. If you haven’t, then you’re missing out on the best that Doha has to offer. I also enjoy camel riding in Doha, it’s such a unique and local experience. I love doing it at least once a month.

Under the current pandemic restrictions what innovations is Huqqa employing to create exciting user experiences?
We’re working on new dishes; menu offers and flavours at Huqqa for its guests in order to provide them an unforgettable experience. They’re still under process but we’ll unveil them really soon. ✤