While walking down to Shake Shack’s new branch at ABC ACHRAFIEH for a one-on-one interview with its Culinary Director Mark Rosati, one line was looping through my head: “Do not ask him if he liked Lebanese Food!”
Yes, I did try to avoid being too cliché, but Mark seemed to be well aware of how easily our Lebanese Ego is tickled and directly greeted me by expressing his love to the Lebanese culinary traditions and his newly developed addiction to SHAWARMA!
After getting that off my chest, we moved to a “less traditional” interview which went something like this:
If you were to describe the Shake Shack burger with one song, which would it be? Would it be Happy by Pharrell, Drop it like it’s hot by Snoop Dog or Sex Bomb by Tom Jones?
It would actually be a little bit of all three of those but if I had to pick, I would say “Drop it like it’s Hot” by Snoop Dog. Our big thing is that we cook everything to order, we put those burgers on the grill, we smash it up for you and that’s got to be the best experience: Hot Burgers! If your burger is hot and juicy, that makes it a great experience.
If you were a burger ingredient which one would you be?
Salt and Pepper! It’s a key and the secret ingredient. The beef is really great but Salt and Pepper is what makes it delicious.
Why did Shake Shack decide to open in Lebanon while it’s still absent in Los Angeles? Are we more popular than the celebrities capital of the west coast?
What I love about Shake Shack is that we do things in a very unique way as we grow. We do not really look at countries, what we look at are the great cities of the world and Beirut is definitely one of the great cities of the world especially with the culinary history it has that is very inspiring as well as being very cosmopolitan and beautiful. It’s a very inspiring city.
If you were to describe the Shake Shack experience in one sound, which sound would it be?
It would definitely be a (happy sigh) sound!
If your life was to be documented in a movie, which actor would you choose to play you?
I think I would pick someone that is kind of fun on screen, most probably I would choose Zach Galifianakis which you probably remember from the famous Hangover movie. I believe his character would combine what is fun about Shake Shack and also the role I enjoy the most which is creating food!
Lebanon is famous for holding the Guiness Book Record of the biggest Hummus plate in the world. Would you consider a collaboration between New York and Beirut in creating the biggest Burger in the world?
Wow that would be very interesting! I think we should go not only for the biggest but also the tastiest burger, and that would be the real challenge. I like that!
What is the competitive advantage that Shake Shack benefits from against other burger joints?
I would say the biggest thing would be having super super fresh food, we are kind of the anti-fast food as we like to use the freshest best ingredients possible. The other thing that makes us unique here is our hospitality, we do not want to rush you, if you come in here, we want to give you a warm welcome and create for you an environment where you can sit back, relax with your friends and enjoy being together.
Do you have any openings for a Food Tasting position?
Well you’re all doing it right now actually! Every time anyone goes to Shake Shack we value their opinion.
If you had to choose between engaging in a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger or reveal the secret Shake Shack sauce recipe, which would you pick?
I would definitely engage in a fight with Arnold and pray he would make it as quick as possible so I can run to the hospital and recover.
Based on your experience what is the number one ingredient for a business’ success?
I think it would definitely be how we structure what is the most important to us, the number one people we look out for, it’s ourselves. We walk in every day and want to make sure that every one of us is happy and having a good time and when you sit down and eat your burger it will make you smile. As long as we are all happy, it’s going to spill over to how we interact with you.
To learn more about Shake Shack’s big opening at ABC Achrafieh, make sure you read it all on Carmel & Vanilla !
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