Talent Interview: Eric Ballard

by Crystal Chesters | Published 1 year ago

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Eric BallardThe group beverage manager of Sunset Hospitality explains his role looking after the beverage offer at Dubai’s Provocateur and the newly opened New York burger bar and restaurant, Black Tap.

Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?

My first role in the F&B industry was flipping pizzas and taking phone orders in Domino’s Pizza back in 2006. I did that job for a little over six months to pay off my car and ski passes. I then moved to the mountains to teach snowboarding and golf for the next four years.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

It’s next to impossible for me to name just one person. Our industry is full of super inspiring people and I have been fortunate enough to get to travel and learn from some of the best. The people that have inspired me the most are some very close friends – I have unintentionally managed to surround myself with loads of inspiring people.

How do you view the F&B scene in the region?

Rapidly Darwinistic (that’s not a real word but it works).

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

My biggest challenge is time. I have done a practical crash course in time management over the last nine months.  Juggling a seven-month trade ambassador position, while opening a restaurant, and simultaneously working 30 hours a week at a nightclub, I did not have time to learn this skill.  It was sink or swim, and we’re only speeding it up now.  With the very successful opening of Black Tap under way, it’s straight into the next project, which we will be excited to share with everyone soon.

What is the best aspect of your role?

I never have a routine as my role is always evolving.  Right now, my favorite aspect is working on bringing some of the best craft brews from around the world to the market.  As a Coloradan, we love our craft hops, but there is so little of it available here.  I am stoked that at Black Tap we are working closely with our suppliers to bring new and exciting beverages into the region, some of which you will only be able to find at Black Tap.

 If you could work in any restaurant in the world, which would it be?

Our next one!

What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region?

Longevity in a company can be a huge advantage. If you have a good role in a good company, progress within that company as far as you can.  New venues open all the time and it is easy to see a pay increase as a reason to move. Weigh up your options and be hesitant before jumping for better money.  Loyalty pays off in our industry, and you could be surprised who is quietly noticing; waiting to offer you not only an opportunity, but the opportunity.


May 2016 – present: group beverage manager, Sunset Hospitality, Dubai

May 2016 – December 2016: Luxury Collection trade ambassador, Bacardi-Martini, Dubai

November 2014 – present: Head bartender, Provocateur Dubai/Four Seasons Hotel Jumeirah Beach

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