Suzi Croft & Manar Al Jayouchi

Founders of 1762 and Appetite
Suzi Croft & Manar Al Jayouchi
Suzi Croft & Manar Al Jayouchi

With 2012 seeing further expansion of their two gourmet businesses, this food-loving husband-and-wife team is tucking into another round of sandwiches.

What was your biggest achievement in 2012?
MANAR: The opening of our second shop, 1762 Deli in The Galleries - Downtown Jebel Ali; being ranked one of the top 500 companies in Arabia500; and our nomination as one of the best newcomers by Time Out magazine.

How did 1762 come about?
SUZI: After establishing our sandwich delivery business Appetite, opening a gourmet deli was a natural evolution.

What makes it different?
MANAR: 1762 is a combination of the two of us. It’s a wish list of what we would like to find in a deli, including the look, the ambience and then, of course, great food lovingly displayed.

It all started with Appetite. What was the inspiration?
SUZI: The lack of a good sandwich in the UAE. We now deliver to offices, selected retailers and private groups.

What are your goals for 2013?
MANAR: To open our third 1762 Deli.

What’s the most popular filling?
MANAR: From Appetite, it’s the good old favourite chicken Caesar salad. At 1762 it’s a different story and I would say hands down it’s the roast beef Yorkshire pudding.
SUZI: For something sweet, our millionaire shortbread is very popular.

How do you come up with new filling ideas?
MANAR: I don’t. My job is the most difficult – I eat them! Suzi is the one who does the easy part of creating them.

Who’s the boss?
MANAR: That’s easy – she is!
SUZI: Working with your husband has its challenges, but it’s manageable as we deal with different sides of the business. We used to share a tiny place and there was invisible barbed wire down the middle. Now we are in different buildings so it’s better. Our advice to married couples considering working together is... don’t do it!

What do you do in your downtime?
I love horse riding and diving (the alternative response to my middle-age crisis – the other route would have been a Harley-Davidson, ponytail and leather trousers!).

Is there a typical day in your life?
SUZI: No. It depends on events we are catering, products we are launching and ideas we are working on. I go between the main office in Al Quoz, the kitchen, the deli in DIFC and in Downtown Jebel Ali and meetings and events. We cater everywhere. We even did a ‘topping off’ party once on the rooftop of a building with the scaffolding still up! Then I’m usually rushing to pick up the kids and spend time with them before bedtime – it’s a constant juggling act.