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Spotlight on General Manager, Artan Mesekrani

Spotlight on General Manager, Artan Mesekrani

Artan has more than twenty-five years’ experience under his belt working in hospitality, highlights of which include being part of the opening team at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, running the Great Court restaurant at the British Museum and heading up the restaurant team at Searcys, St Pancras. He joined Soutine as General Manager in spring 2024, enticed by its neighborhood feel…

What drew you to the world of hospitality?

Well, I started my career very young in my native Kosovo. My first experience of hospitality was as a teenager, running a relaxed, informal bar there. It was all about simple cocktails and spirits, served in an easy manner with a great playlist. That gave me the bug. Then in 1998, I moved to London, spurred on by some friends who had joined the hospitality industry here. I cut my teeth under Anthony Demetre at the Michelin-starred Putney Bridge restaurant, learning about excellent standards of service. Other highlights include Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, and latterly, seven years at The Ivy Collection. What unites all those experiences is a desire on my part to make service the best it can possibly be.


Tell us a little about a typical day?

Generally, I’m the first in as I like to make sure everything is organised ahead of a busy day. I’ll check schedules, discuss the menu and talk about the day ahead with the team, usually over a coffee. We like to discuss service, look at the day’s bookings and go through any feedback. Service is always busy, but we tend to enjoy that adrenalin rush. I like to take time out to greet guests too – both regulars and newcomers. I try to be a good ambassador for the restaurant!


What draws you to working front of house?

I’ve worked in many types of restaurant, from Michelin-starred to neighbourhood, and I’d say that interacting with guests across the board is one of the draws of working front of house. I also enjoy the buzz of a busy restaurant floor, building a rapport with team and sharing my knowledge. I’m not someone who keeps my cards close to my chest, instead I think experience is best imparted.


You’ve recently taken on the role of General Manager here at Soutine – what are you most looking forward to in your new role?

I love that Soutine is already a well-established neighbourhood restaurant and I’d like to build on that success. For me that means maintaining solid standards, exploring new ideas and continuing to play an active role in the community. Here, it’s about hospitality from the heart. I like to put myself in the shoes of our guests; I always consider how I’d like to be treated in their position. That’s my guiding principle. And then of course, I have a soft spot for this part of London as I live locally. Plus, I love French food and wine, so that helps.


If you had to choose just one dish from the menu, what would it be?

I would choose the Soufflé Suisse – it’s a beautifully made dish. It looks so simple, but it’s deceptively hard to make well. We serve it with gem lettuce which cuts through the cheese beautifully. I also enjoy our Tarte Tatin – I don’t cook a lot at home, but that’s a dish I do make regularly for my two children.


When you’re not at Soutine, where can we find you?

As a family, we enjoy spending time in our local parks, such as Regent’s Park or Hampstead Heath, having a picnic if the weather’s good. I try to run now and again too, to keep fit. We also have lots of friends in hospitality, so trying out new restaurants is always high on the agenda.


What advice would you give to anyone looking to work in hospitality?

Make it a passion. In my view, hospitality is not a summer job, it’s a career to fall in love with. This is a brilliant city to hone your craft in and I’ve always found that there are people in the industry willing to be a mentor or a champion. The UK has a brilliant level of service, which means there’s also a lot of opportunity.