Gabor Somogyvari, Former Catering Sales Manager, Zsidai Group Kft.

  • 1 Dec 2017 11:00 AM
Gabor Somogyvari, Former Catering Sales Manager, Zsidai Group Kft.
Gabor Somogyvari is currently working as a Catering Sales Manager for Zsidai Group, a leading Hungarian hospitality company with a unique portfolio of restaurants, hotels and bars. Together with their extensive event catering operation, they serve hundreds of thousands of guests every year with a mission to bring Hungarian gastronomy back to the the international forefront.

Gabor has always worked in hospitality gaining valuable experience in a wide variety of establishments from fine dining restaurants, to event catering firms, to luxury hotels and to high-end contract catering companies.

"I started my career as a chef" he explains, "straight after graduating from university I found myself a job in one of the countryside Hiltons in the UK."
From there it's taken him years of hard work, but eventually he ended up being for of the team of chefs cooking for JP Morgan's Managing Directors and their most important clients.

After making a career change into hospitality recruitment, he managed to gain great insight into the essence of sales.

"Being a recruiter in London is tough, it's one of quickest changing markets out there" Gabor points out. "You really have to know your game and dealing with Michelin starred chefs and Hoteliers on a day-to-day basis is not exactly a walk in the park, they have very high expectations." Eventually, he became the highest selling salesman at his firm, which he says was a very thrilling experience!

"However after living abroad for almost 7 years, the feeling of missing my friends and family really started to grow on me" he continues. That was when he decided to leave his London life behind and start a new chapter back in Hungary.

It's now been more that a year since he moved to Budapest and having never lived here before, he really loves that it has a sort of 'small city feel' to it. Obviously, compared to London that is.

"I am very happy because I love this environment, I love what I do, I've met some amazing people here and I've made some really good friends."

1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Godollo, a cool, small city just 30 minutes outside of Budapest.
I think I am quite lucky because family still lives there so I always try to pay them a visit whenever I can.

2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I used to live in the UK for almost 7 years so I think if I would prefer to stay in Hungary for now. Altough I have always wondered what it would be like to live somewhere completely different, like in the Mediterranean or in the States and I am also quite curious about Australia as well.

3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
This is easy, family and friends. They were the main reason why I moved back.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Obviously, they have to go see the main touristy bits such as Heroes Square, Castle District, Opera etc. but if they have a little bit more time to hand they definitely have to visit some of the more alternative sights as well like Csepel Muvek or Sziklakorhaz and visiting one of the city’s baths is also a must.

5. What is your favourite food?
Honestly, I love a good ramen, but unfortunately, I haven’t come across even a half decent one in Budapest so far. This might actually be a good little business idea for someone? If so, then please do give me a call!

6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
I did fencing when I was younger and I wasn’t awfully terrible at it either. It keeps the minds sharp as well as it trains the body.

7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?
I love Balaton, especially the northern shore and I also love Harmashaterhegy in Budapest. There is this hidden spot where it’s super peaceful and you get the best views of the north side of town.

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I can’t really think of anything else, I am pretty happy doing what I do.

9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
I wouldn’t want to be a soldier for sure and I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with snakes or spiders either.

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
I haven’t been on a proper vacation for ages now but I visited quite a few European cities this year. Berlin was the last one I think.

11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
I could really imagine a 3-week tour of like Cambodia or maybe some island-hopping in Thailand. The other one would be South Africa, some of my UK friends went there last year and they had some amazing stories.

12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I used to listen to Guns and Roses, Linkin Park or Edda Muvek but I have also been to a Scooter concert once as well.

13. Apart of temptation what can’t you resist?
Good food.

14. Red wine or white?
Probably white.

15. Book or movie?

16. Morning person or night person?

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Poverty and animal welfare.

18. Buda or Pest side?

19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
That I proved to myself that I can make it in a completely different country.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
This is actually written on a five pound note that I keep in the back of my phone: “You are not the mistakes of your past, you are the resources and capabilities that you have gleamed from your past.”

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