For those of you who have been part of our community for a while, you'll know that we are very keen to promote, celebrate and push forward the incredible talent that we have as part of Hopscotch.  This month, through our newsletter we called out for women who'd like to contribute to our platform by sharing their talents and we're happy to say that Marcella, a copy writer with years of experience, was one of the ladies to answer our call.

So, this month's Hopscotch Hero has taken a slightly different tack.  Marcella recommended Marta to be our Hopscotch Hero -  TV chef, entrepreneur and owner of Marta's Kitchen here in Dubai - and this is her interview.

 “I know it sounds cheesy, but if you have a dream then go for it,” the Spanish mum-of-two shared. “You might fail, but if you fail it means you tried.”Marta shares the highs and the lows of her entrepreneur journey with Marcella, as well as what it takes to run your own business in Dubai and beyond while raising her sons.

"Do what you love!"  "Follow your passion!".  We’ve all seen the inspirational quotes on Pinterest or received similar career advice. May’s Hopscotch Hero Marta Yanci - owner and founder of Marta’s Kitchen and Workshop, Mixto restaurant in Belgium and TV chef - has some honest advice on turning them into a reality.

"I didn’t decide to become an entrepreneur, it just kind of happened. I’m a lawyer specialized in European Union law so when I moved to Dubai I took a variety of jobs not related to my specialization. Then after my eldest son Lucas was born nine years ago, I felt I needed to work.

My catering business Marta’s Kitchen started off as a hobby, making canapés and dinners for friends. But I got so much positive feedback that, with my husband Jorge’s encouragement, I started to take it seriously. It started in Marta’s kitchen; that’s where the name came from. We didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.   

The hardest part has been the bureaucracy, all the paperwork that comes with starting your own business. The UAE is a young country so the laws are constantly evolving, and you have to stay up-to-date. We recently expanded Marta’s Kitchen and Workshop, our restaurant in JLT, and some of the regulations had changed since we started up over five years ago, for example.    

But there have been many, many highs too. Just a few weeks ago, we launched Mixto restaurant in Brussels, Belgium, and as a Dubai-based chef, opening in Europe was a real ‘wow’ moment. The feedback has been phenomenal. Another high was when Marta’s Workshop won a Dubai Hidden Gem award just three months after we launched the business lunch concept.

Also there’s huge satisfaction of doing a great job and I love a challenge. We are very client-orientated at Marta’s Kitchen; we recently catered for a 50th where the birthday girl loved Tiffany so we served all kinds of food in Tiffany blue. With our recent expansion, we can now cater for events for 10 guests up to 500 guests so there will be a few sleepless nights too, for sure.

Looking back, I don’t think I’d do anything differently because you learn a lot from your mistakes. Luckily, more than 90 per cent of our Marta’s Kitchen clients are repeat customers, but of course there are times when things don’t go to plan. The important thing is to take ownership and ask yourself “What can I change? What can I do differently next time?” You need to have a thick skin.

And I’ve grown up a lot. Back in the beginning, every time a staff member left I got upset but I’ve come to realize, while it’s my passion and I’m fully committed to it, for others it’s just a paycheck.

Running my own business has also given me a lot of autonomy and I can manage my time around my kids’ activities. I get up very early, work while my sons Lucas and Pablo are at school, then carve out some time to spend with them in the afternoons before going back to work in the evenings. But I am always ‘on’ and I don’t have any ‘me’ time. It’s a long time since I last got a mani-pedi!"


Copy:  Marcella M for Hopscotch.  If you'd like to speak with us about hiring Marcella, please get in touch at info@hopscotch.ae.