Abinash 'Abi' Kunjappan: Paving his own path

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Published: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 3:41 PM

Abi comes from an academically gifted family who always travelled internationally. He was born in Doha, Qatar and grew up most of his childhood in Kerala, India with his two sisters. His sisters were smart and so talented in school that one of them became an engineer and the other got a PhD. Abinash, on the other hand, decided his talent belonged somewhere else.

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Abi joined the hospitality industry upon receiving his MBA in International Business. Before he was scouted to take over three restaurants in Kampala, Uganda, he worked in Dubai for five years where he refined his skills. But his life really changed when Stefano Gianetti offered him the opportunity to take charge of an up and coming Italian restaurant and boutique hotel — Mediterraneo and Villa Kololo. Slowly he became the face and the mastermind behind two additional high end Italian restaurants, Divino and Pizza Connection.

Abi’s strategy in reaching such a level of success? His sincere interest and concern for each and every customer. He acquaints himself with everyone who walks in his restaurant to create an approachable atmosphere. Whether it’s 7am or midnight, he is always on call from his restaurants and customers for feedback and requests. Apparently it worked. With over thousands of numbers ranging from minister’s to your next door neighbour on his contact list, he is a household name to all Italian cuisine lovers.

His influence extends beyond restaurants in Kampala. When you first meet Abi, the first thing you notice is his sense of fashion. Always in his colourful range of suits and pants, he is the definition of elegance. He has a large number of followers who see him as a fashionista on social media. He is a brand ambassador for several designers such as Melikam. He also collects super bikes, and you can see him riding various bikes ranging from Italian Ducatis to American Harleys.

Back at his home, he has two pugs and two Persian cats — one could say he has a bias towards scrunchy-nosed animals!

Visit his page here.

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