Sunjeh Raja is the Founder, Director & CEO of the ICCA Dubai, of the international award-winning world-class culinary training center established in the year 2005. Since then he has been spearheading the engagement of the company’s Vocational Education Training (VET) programs and takes on a holistic approach to establish ICCA Dubai as a Center of Excellence, offering world-class culinary education. He adopts a very practical and innovative approach with an eye for detail, to continually develop the concept of industry-focused training and outcome-driven learning.
He is a recipient of several international awards & recognitions and has been consistently raising the standards of culinary training and food service across the region. Recognizing and taking opportunities as they arise, the centre has been able to leverage on many strategic partnerships with world majors – a direct result of Raja’s vision and leadership.
Inspired by her inherent passion to teach and excited by the opportunity to set up a Technical Vocational Training (TVET) Center in Dubai, Shanaaz has been one of the strongest pillars of the founding team, working tirelessly to put together outcome-focused course plans, programs, and quality assurance processes that make learning at ICCA meaningful and fruitful.
Being exposed from a very young age, having grown up with a mother who founded four schools which flourish to this day, she understood the importance of having good infrastructure and talented instructors to provide quality education. Little did she know that her love for food, passion to teach and a Masters Degree in Food Science would come together to lead her on this beautiful journey. Her advice to young people is to keep learning, keep persevering, and give your best to whatever you do, and your vocation will find you!
Francisco Araya's long and eventful career showcases his international hospitality expertise and vocational education, including a period spent as Director of the Culinary Arts program at IP Duoc UC Valparaiso and a Leadership Diploma from Universidad Adolfo Ibanez. Passionate about crafting gourmet culinary delights and training the next generation of Chefs, this Honduras-born award-winning Chef is currently serving as the Centre Director of ICCA Abu Dhabi.
Nasarene Jeddy Dhanki is an internationally renowned Master Sugar Crafter and has been teaching the British Sugarcraft Guild approved cake decoration techniques and skills for over 25 years. Each year she returns to the UK to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field and to renew her Sugarcrafters guild license. She is recognised as an expert at delivering training at the Personal. Professional and Entrepreneurial levels, creating exquisite Cakes and masterpieces of edible art for every occasion.
He is a well-renowned name in coffee in the Middle East and famous as the first Global Champion for Costa Coffee. In his career spanning over twenty long years in coffee, he has successfully trained and mentored two global and eight regional champions and professionally educated over 3000 baristas in the UAE and the region.
With over 18 years of expertise in the hospitality industry, Chef Durgesh has ample experience in managing and anticipating customers' unanticipated needs and concerns. During his stint in the industry, he discovered an interest in gastronomy, prompting him to change his career path from food & beverage to culinary. Today, he is looking forward to teaching and inspiring young chefs while also sharing his enthusiasm and passion for the culinary arts with them.
Chef Louna has two main passions: preparing gastronomic meals using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients available and teaching aspiring chefs. A seasoned culinary challenge participant, he was also among the Top chef Arab 2021 semifinalists. Chef Louna comes with solid industry experience, having worked in luxurious and renowned hotels and restaurants in Europe and North Africa. He is also proficient in food styling and has worked as a consultant for numerous Food TV shows.
With over 13 years of experience in the gastronomic field, Chef Rene honed and perfected his pastry-making skills, working in different countries, including France. Besides being an accomplished pâtissier, he has around seven years of experience teaching and mentoring young aspiring chefs while also working as a consultant. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the industry by actively participating in different international congresses of cakeshops.
Chef Ayoub loves to make exquisite desserts and melt-in-your-mouth confections. With over seven solid years of experience as a pastry leader, Chef Ayoub has perfected his craft of creating delicate and high-end pastry products and now aims to share his knowledge and train those keen to enter this industry.
Anissa Kawem is a seasoned marketing manager with extensive experience in sales, marketing, and guest relations. Armed with a Business Administration degree, she has worked with reputable brands in the hospitality industry where she has showcased her ability to raise awareness around the business and its offerings. Fluent in English, French, and Arabic, this Tunisian national lives by the philosophy of 'Love what you do then you can do your very best.'
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Maryam's experience as an education counsellor comes in handy in advising and mentoring prospective students while inspiring them to make the best decisions for their career path. Fluent in English and Arabic with a working knowledge of French, Maryam is a team player who believes in the motto of 'Every day is a new learning and new beginning.'
A certified cook, Aisha Mohammed comes with the unique advantage of advocating culinary education culled from her own experience as a student chef at the ICCA Dubai. Having worked in customer service and supervisory roles across sectors like banking, education, and fashion, among others. Aisha has a keen understanding of what her clients need. Fluent in Arabic, English, Urdu, and Hindi, she is also conscientious and motivated to build strong customer relationships.
Sunil Nair is a seasoned online strategist and analyst with extensive experience working with agencies and corporates of all sizes, from start-ups to corporate giants, for over 17 years. Sunil is responsible for delivering seamless digital experiences and establishing the brand online.
Akhila handles student performance monitoring to ensure holistic learning and overall development. She plays a key role in maintaining an effective online education management system.
With over six years of work experience in graphic designing, event photography, videography, and video editing, Carla is responsible for the day-to-day coverage of events and happenings at ICCA Abu Dubai. Of an artistic bent of mind, Carla is a big believer in the axiom, 'Everything in life happens for a reason.'
Anu’s proactive and goal-oriented attitude to providing quality work outcomes makes her the go-to person for any insights on the learning and development of students here. An MBA professional armed with a post-graduate diploma in Digital Marketing and Data Analysis, she brings with her solid experience in client management, training & mentoring students, service operations, process improvement, and consumer research and data analysis.