By Nicholas Allen, Class of 1992 Les Roches alumnus
I hope you’ve been enjoying the opportunity to ‘meet’ some of the big personalities who’ve graduated from Les Roches over the years. Last time out I caught up with Victor Foo; this time I’ve caught up with a dear friend whose career I’ve been following for 30 years. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the “Hotelier’s Hotelier”, Mr. Rami Sayess, a class of 1990 graduate!
Nicholas Allen (NA): What is your profession and current position?
Rami Sayess (RS): I am a Hotelier and my current position is Regional Vice President & General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, overseeing several hotels and resorts within the EMEA region.
NA: Who was your first room-mate at Les Roches?
RS: Graeme Riley from Australia.
NA: Where did you grow up?
RS: My first 17 years were spent mostly in Lebanon with a few stints abroad in Syria, Cyprus, Czech Republic and the UK (we moved four times during the war in Lebanon).
NA: Whom has made the biggest impact on your professional career?
RS: My dad for sure. He suggested the idea of ‘Hotel Management’ to me and followed my career step by step until he passed away in 2005, the year I joined Four Seasons. That was a poignant moment, since it was a goal he had set for me back in 1987 when I started at Les Roches.
NA: Who was your favorite teacher at Les Roches?
RS: Chef Rudolph Bider, my Kitchen Teacher, because of his passion, drive, positive vibe and his special talent of developing people.
NA: What’s your advice for new graduates?
RS: Be patient and realize that Les Roches gave you a very strong foundation to ‘launch’ your career, but the hard work is ahead of you… What you learned at school will come in handy at the time when you most need it. This must sound hard to comprehend as a fresh graduate, but you will know what it means when the time comes!
NA: Who did you have a crush on at Les Roches?
RS: Too many to count! 🙂 It’s a tough question to answer, as my ex-girlfriend might read this…. oops….my wife too! 🙂
NA: What is your fondest memory of Les Roches?
RS: My graduation ceremony, as I could see the pride in my parents’ eyes (my brother was there too) – especially my dad who had suggested this major to me.
NA: Do you have any phobias?
NA: You can ask me one question, what is it?
RS: What’s next?
NA: Not sure mate, I have my hands full being the best dad I can be to my girls and growing my companies. Hopefully set up a place in Europe and here in Perth, spend six months in both and explore the world. Naturally with a discount from Four Seasons!!
NA: Last question. You have organized a lavish dinner party with no expense spared. You can invite eight people, alive or dead, who are they?
RS: All the ones I had a crush on at Les Roches – see the question above 🙂
NA: I think I will allow the other alumni to fill in the names!! Thank you so much, Rami.