From the region of Abruzzo in Italy, Simone has lived in Abu Dhabi for seven years
Well known in Abu Dhabi from the delicious Antonia on Mamsha, Simone has expanded his brand further afield across Abu Dhabi.
Residing in the capital for seven years now, Simone gives us the lowdown on what keeps him in this wonderful city that we all love.
Tell us a little bit of yourself
My name is Simone Federici, and I am originally from the region of Abruzzo in Italy. I am a chef and proudly own the Antonia Group of restaurants based here in Abu Dhabi.
How and when did you move here, and what inspired the move?
I moved here approximately seven years ago after working on a private resort in the Caribbean. As much as it was tempting to stay and enjoy island life, I was looking for a change of pace and to discover a new city.
How has living in Abu Dhabi shaped your sense of belonging and community?
Abu Dhabi isn’t as big as you might imagine. Wherever you go or whoever you meet, chances are you’ll share a mutual friend, which is quite special when you think about it. So far this has connected myself and the people I know in many ways.
Can you tell us about a particular person in Abu Dhabi who has had a significant impact on your life and why?
I’ve had the privilege of connecting with numerous individuals whose positive influence has profoundly shaped my journey here in the UAE. Singling out just one person is challenging because, without each of them, I wouldn’t be in the fulfilling position I find myself in today.
What is your favourite thing about the emirate and why?
The friendly nature of the people and the city’s dedicated efforts to evolve and cater to our needs make it feel like home, providing everything required right at your fingertips.
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A myth about Abu Dhabi that you would like to bust?
Abu Dhabi, being an island-city, combines the best of both worlds. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not slow-paced and dull. There’s always something exciting happening, and plenty of new things to explore and enjoy.
Could you share a memorable moment when you felt the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Abu Dhabi community in your own life?
When I started my first restaurant, Antonia on Mamsha, we got a lot of encourage and strong support from friends everywhere. Expat friends and locals showed up and came out to show their love. They shared the news about our new opening and that I left my job as a chef in a hotel to begin my own business. It was of course a scary beginning for me and the overwhelming support received made it a whole lot easier.
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