Hot 100 2011 - Ajaz Sheikh

Putting the zest in Zuma
Hot 100 2011 - Ajaz Sheikh
Ajaz Sheikh

“Challenge yourself continuously, believe in your instincts, be a self motivator, always ask why and don’t be afraid to hire people stronger than you,” says Ajaz, Director of Operations Middle East for Zuma and Roka.

With such a high profile role, this self-confessed over-acheiver is used to demanding positions having worked in some of the world’s most prestigious establishments, including the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Conrad Chelsea Harbour and The Lanesborough. But it’s where he is today – as the driving force behind one of the Dubai’s hottest nightspots – that is really exciting and challenging. “I love my job as I’m responsible for running and developing one of the coolest brands in the UAE. I get the opportunity to meet the who’s who and be an important part of defining the Dubai social and dining scene.”

Having grown up in Dubai, Ajaz admits that fashion is the biggest change he’s noticed. “I knew that the brands were always available, but now Dubai also has the most fashionable people living here. And when I say fashion, it’s not just about the clothes. I mean the trends in food, drinks, style and so on… The country has a lot to be proud of with pretty much every international brand wanting a piece of the pie.

But despite his fashionable lifestyle, Ajaz still manages to keep his feet firmly on the ground, despite the stylish surroundings. “Life can be a bit of a bubble in the UAE – it should be taken with a pinch of salt. You should enjoy it, but don’t get used to it!”