Entrepreneur and restaurateur, Riyaaz Amlani has been the former president of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). As the CEO and MD of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd, Amlani has over 56 brands under his name – including Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe, Prithvi Café, The Tasting Room, Social and more. Having sold shoes as a teenager, Riyaaz completed his education in UCLA with a Masters in Entertainment Management. On returning to India, he started working as an entertainment consultant for many location-based entertainment centres, before opening a café with Kiran Salaskar.

In this chat, Amlani talks about what gets him excited, what he likes about himself, and what irks him about people.

When and where were you happiest?

I usually am happiest when I am creating things or building things. I'm the happiest when I'm in the middle of building a restaurant. I enjoy the entire creative process. Other than that I'm really happy just being with my family, wife and kids. Just being with them makes me phenomenally happy and extremely satisfied.

Where would you most like to live?

Either next to the ocean or in the mountains somewhere. I don't really like places which are completely landlocked. I like to be next to some kind of water body. Having said that, I love living in Mumbai and I also hate it. And every time I travel to different places, I always wonder what would it be like to live there but I think I come back home as I really enjoy being a Mumbai guy and especially love being a Bandra boy.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I hate the fact that I'm not as disciplined as and as organized as I'd like to be. I keep finding myself making promises to myself that I can't cash.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I really hate people who make fun of other people just because maybe they come from a different socio-economic background or they have an accent or they didn't have the benefit of education or the way they dress. I really hate it when people look down on other people for no fault of their own except that they were born in a different circumstance.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to have more musical abilities. I would love to be able to sing well and mastered a musical instrument. Currently, I play the guitar very badly and can't even hold a note.

What is your most marked characteristic?

That I am a very approachable and easy-going person.

What do you most value in your friends?

I think just being there unconditionally even if we haven't met or spoken in a while. To pick off things where we left off, I love that about my friends. No matter how much time or distance it had been us, we can still connect and just go back into that same equation that we always shared.

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