Peter Skudutis entered the world of hospitality at the tender age of 13, when he helped park cars and assist with functions at the prominent fine dining restaurant Kenloch, which was located in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia.
Skudutis progressed to cellar master and maître d’ by the age of 17 and, upon finishing high school, received a scholarship to attend the prestigious training academy, Academy Sofitel. By age 19, Peter was Director of F&B at Opal Cove Resort in Coffs Harbour, before swapping Australia for the island of Fiji to take on the role of Director of F&B at Sonaisali Island Resort.
Peter was lured to Dubai, where he assumed the position of Operations Manager at Barasti Beach Bar. From there he moved to Accenture Investments, an arm of the Al Habtoor group, as General Manager of several outlets including XL Beach Club and Horizon. He also launched soft drink distribution company, Top Shelf Beverages, alongside.
Peter was then sought out for his current position, General Manager at Zero Gravity, a venue he launched in 2013. In two years, Peter has taken this premium Dubai beach club, bar, restaurant and large-scale event space from an idea, to the constantly evolving and world-renowned lifestyle and entertainment venue that it is today.
Peter visited with our Dr. Nasrine Abushakra to talk about his professional journey and his favorite Dubai locations.
Peter Skudutis Talks Dubai Favorites
Where were you born?
I was born in Melbourne, Australia, and grew up within a restaurant and wedding complex in the Dandenong Ranges called Kenloch.
How long have you lived in your region?
I lived in the Dandenong Ranges working at Kenloch until the age of 18, after completing my Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management at Academy Sofitel Melbourne. I was 17 when I started at Academy Sofitel Melbourne and I attended under a full scholarship; the only one accepted out of over 2000 applicants. At the age of 19, I moved to Coffs Harbour on the Australian east coast, eventually to take on the role of Director of F&B at Opal Cove Resort, before moving to Fiji in 2007, taking the role of Director of F&B at Sonaisali Island Resort. After one year in Fiji I made the move to Dubai to run Barasti in 2008.
I currently live in Dubai Marina.
General Manager at Zero Gravity.
Latitude at Jumeirah Beach Hotel when I feel indecisive about what I would like to eat, Waterfront at Jumeirah Beach Hotel when I’m feeling healthy, and MJ’s Steakhouse when in need of a good steak!
I like the twist on the sushi available at Sumo Sushi & Bento.
Trattoria Toscana at Souk Madinat.
No one can beat the desserts we have at Zero Gravity. Chef Bhatt is constantly coming up with crazy variations, and this week I’ve been tasting way too many giant dessert-style milkshakes. Watch this space!
Best place for a romantic date:
Every time I travel or take vacation with my wife, we treat it as a honeymoon, so anywhere where we have to jump in a plane and explore a new country or city.
Best Sunday Brunch:
My idea of a good brunch on a day off is to pack a picnic basket with fresh bread, cold cuts and a bottle of something chilled and find a quiet place to sit and watch the day pass by with my wife.
Best place for a power business meeting:
We at Zero Gravity are blessed with some incredible surroundings and we try to mix it up with our meetings by moving them outside to the garden, terraces or even the beach! I’m a believer that a long walk with colleagues can sometimes inspire greater ideas than the boardroom or meeting table.
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?
Al Qasr all the way – it is by far my favourite in the region. Every time I enter the hotel I am amazed by its attention to detail and impeccable quality.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique:
There seem to be a lot of quirky markets popping up in Dubai these days, but I have been enjoying City Walk a lot recently.
Talise at Zabeel Saray – a beautiful set up.
Favorite Cultural Event:
DXBeach. A music festival that brings more than 5,000 people to the Zero Gravity beach. Nowhere will you find a more diverse crowd of people partying in one place.
Favorite Cultural Institution:
Dubai International Film Festival. It has really put this city on the map, and seems to get more glamorous, and respected, every year. Zero Gravity has hosted the closing party for DIFF for two consecutive years, and it is always an incredible evening.
MJ’s Steakhouse, Al Qasr.
I cannot shake an experience I had while exploring the back streets of Monaco with a friend four years ago. We stumbled across a small family run pizzeria with just the most amazing pizza. I still bring this up to my chefs and managers as a good example of an “authentic experience”, which I believe is what consumers are looking for these days.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility:
The outdoor gym at Sky Dive Dubai. There’s nothing better than outdoor exercise to get the blood pumping.
Describe your city in three words:
Determined, cultural and opportunistic.
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:
It is hard to beat a full day exploring Petra in Jordan. What an incredible place and see and experience, and so much bigger then I think anyone expects. It is full of mystery and thought-provoking artifacts.
All-around favorite spot in in your town:
Zero Gravity of course. I live a breathe Zero Gravity and I cannot imagine a better place to spend the most amount of my time.
Best Aspect of your town/city/region.
Dubai is full of opportunity, a place where anyone can come and – with a bit of hard work – create prospects for themselves.