The son of an Algerian Berber, Mourad Mazouz is born surviver. After leaving home at the age of 15, he’s been a cleaner, a music PR and finally, a restaurateur. Now, he has two extremely successful London eateries under his belt. Not to mention successful restaurants in Paris, Dubai and soon Beirut.
Having ventures all over the world makes Mazouz an epic traveller. He is in Paris at least twice a week: "I use the Eurostar and I hate it," he tells The Times. "Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I can’t stand the train company. They are always charging different prices and I understand that is business, but it is just too much. Everything is about maximising profit and charging the most to people who need to go at a certain time. How would it be if you charged £40, £80 and £120 at different times in a restaurant?"
Despite his success, Mazouz is very pragmatic about money. He insists that he is not impressed by luxury or ostentation. "I’ve only been business class once in my life," he says. "Maybe when I’m 60 or 70 years old and I have a bad back, I will fly business. People think I have a lot of money, but if I make it, I spend it. I have a family in Algeria and the difference between economy and business is enough for them to live on for two months."
During all these long-haul journeys, Mazouz admits he has a fondness for comedy series "like Mr Bean" but despises airline food: "I think they should only serve ragu," he says. "They have to heat the food at high temperature and with ragu, the longer you do it the better it tastes."
At least his international business allows for comedy "language barrier" moments with his A-list clientele.
He explains: "A celebrity called me to say he wanted to go in Derriere, my restaurant in Paris. I said ‘No, just say Derriere, not in Derriere.’ Derriere means ‘behind’, because it is behind a bar and restaurant that I own. In Derriere means in your backside, which is something quite different.”