Who has not had tried Ubon, a Thai restaurant founded by two young people, who didn’t know the spirit of Asian food till they tried it. The recipe came from an admiration for the country, a passion for the food they tasted there and a competent chef from the Royal Lotus city.
Who is Rashid Al Fodari?
What is your biggest passion in life?
Creativity in all fields. I love to contribute to all kinds of creativity in art, food, music, design, architecture, and even in solving problems.
Did you know at an early age that you wanted to work in the food industry?
On the contrary, in the beginning of my career I was working in architecture and city planning. But after an apprenticeship at my friend architect Jassim Shehab’s studio, I realized that I liked designing and decor of restaurants specifically. This encouraged me to research this area and want to open my restaurant.
How was the idea of establishing a Thai restaurant formed?
One day while I was on my way to the bank, I passed Ali Al Salem Street and was amazed by so many empty shops on this beautiful street. From the beginning the image was clear that the restaurant would be Thai and nothing else. I remember after I tried Thai food for the first time. The first thought that occurred to me after the first bite was, “delicious and everybody should try it!”
Tell us about your experience in the field of self-employment, especially restaurants.
In my opinion being a restaurateur is one of the most difficult and beautiful commercial jobs. We have the opportunity to work on different things within the same field, such as choosing the right position, designing, preparing the appropriate menu, choosing the right music, and ensuring good hospitality etc.
What is the meaning of Ubon?
Ubon is the name of a city in northeastern Thailand and it also called the Royal Lotus city.
Tell us about the turning point in your life.
Studying architecture had a great influence in my life, in developing my tastes. After that, my work in the field of design helped me to arrange and refine my thoughts.
What is your greatest achievement?
I feel proud when I hear that some of the work and the projects that we have completed have been an inspiration to others.
What are the main difficulties that you encountered?
In the beginning there were some social sacrifices; but with time I learned how to balance a bit between work and social life.
What makes Ubon different from other restaurants?
We love simplicity, and I believe that ideal simplicity needs more time and effort to be in its place. The chef has all the freedom to be creative and also to select the best Thai and local ingredients to master the dishes.
Is Ubon a 100 per cent local concept?
Yes it’s not a franchise. It has been set up in collaboration with Chef Nekom the talented Thai Chef.
How do you spend your day?
Every day starts with a cold latte before anything else, and I make sure to be away from technology in the beginning. Then I go to the office to consider any administrative issues related to the restaurant. Almost daily I check the food in the restaurant to ensure the quality, hospitality, and finally to consider the possibility of applying any future ideas in the restaurant. I try to finish my day at the gym. For me, exercise helps significantly in the quality of ideas filtered, and I would recommend it to everybody.
What have you learnt from this project?
Each project has its wisdom and lessons, and experience in my opinion is to avoid past mistakes in the future. In this particular project, I learned how to use my time better.
How did you overcome bureaucratic obstacles?
Frankly we did not overcome them, but we have learned to be prepared for them and adapt them better.
Is there a dream that is still in the process of being accomplished?
Strengthening the philosophy of Ubon in Kuwait.
Do you have a dream that needs further years to be achieved?
I look forward to establishing more restaurants in the foreseeable future.
What is your philosophy in life?
Less is more.
Who is the woman for you?
I feel proud when I meet businesswomen, housewives, and teachers. As with the pressures of modern society, a woman’s ambition is a source of inspiration.
How do you see the world of fashion?
The fashion world allows everyone to express themselves. I love it when it is sincere and timeless.
How would you describe your style?
I make sure that my clothes are appropriate to the nature of work, time, and environment. As for colors, I like to mix neutral colors with yellow, blue, and olive green.
Which is your dream car?
I dream of restoring an old car in my spare time. The Willys M38 Jeep is a distinctive car.
A watch you are proud of owning?
A country that inspires you to design?
Sixties’ era buildings in Kuwait City always inspire me to design. There is truth and accuracy in these buildings.
Which is your favorite country?
Thailand, specifically the Chiang Mai region.
Define the following words:
- Sports: balance.
- Money: independence.
- Book: isolation.
- Friendship: support.
- Work: flow.
- Patience: a result.
- Partnership: confidence.
- Ubon: the development of contemporary Thai taste in Kuwait.
- Pain: long hours at work.
- Beginnings: beautiful memories and fuel for the coming years.