Damiano Ruggiero, general manager of Signor Sassi, has Italian food on his mind as he talks about what makes Italian food and his restaurant Signor Sassi stand out in the burgeoning restaurant scene in Dubai.
How has your family’s background in the hospitality industry influenced your career choices and your approach to managing restaurants?
My family played a significant role in influencing my decision to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. I grew up immersed in the hospitality industry, as my family owned numerous hotels and restaurants worldwide. After completing my studies, I initially ventured into the world of finance, working in Canary Wharf, London. However, after just six months, I realized that my creative and spirited nature was not suited for this career. Following some soul-searching, I returned to my roots in Italy, where I wholeheartedly pursued a career in hospitality. There, I worked at my aunt’s enchanting hotel nestled along the captivating shores of Lake Como. Over the years, I dedicated myself to gaining invaluable experience, supporting the family business, and pursuing a degree in Management and Business Engineering in Milan. In my spare time, I worked at restaurants and clubs, honing my hospitality skills and mastering the art of connecting with diverse people.
Signor Sassi is known for offering an authentic Italian dining experience. What are the challenges and opportunities faced by an Italian restaurant such as Signor Sassi in the competitive market of Dubai?
The way I see it Signor Sassi faces both challenges and opportunities in the competitive Dubai restaurant market. Dubai boasts a diverse culinary landscape with a multitude of high-end Italian restaurants. To remain at the forefront, we must ensure that we stay ahead of the competition. Through consistently delivering a unique and exceptional Italian dining experience. Dubai diners have extremely high standards and expectations. Furthermore, given the intense competition, our priority was to ensure, since the opening, were offering our guests nothing less than first-rate quality and innovation. I feel that as a team we have really risen to face these challenges and have turned them into opportunities., Thus, carving out our niche in this competitive market. In our short time open, we’ve garnered praise for our Italian cuisine, fine wines, cocktails, impeccable service, and stunning interior design. These elements combine to craft an enchanting atmosphere, transporting guests on a magical journey through Italy’s diverse regions, setting us apart.
What distinguishes Italian cuisine from Emirati cuisine, and how do you customize your Italian offerings to cater to the preferences of local clients?
Italian cuisine and Emirati cuisine are distinct in various ways, primarily due to their cultural origins and regional ingredients. Both cuisines, despite their stark differences in ingredients and signature dishes, have renowned rich culinary histories, diverse flavors, and dedication to high-quality, simple ingredients. Furthermore, Dubai’s cosmopolitan nature has created a unique challenge and opportunity for Italian restaurants like Signor Sassi. Adapting the menu and offerings to cater to local tastes while upholding the essence of Italian cuisine has been essential.
Moreover, the dining experience goes beyond the plate. Creating a welcoming atmosphere and providing attentive service that respects local customs and traditions is pivotal.
What are your plans for Signor Sassi Dubai?
Signor Sassi Dubai is primed to become a beacon of authentic Italian dining. Thus, we are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of culinary innovation by blending traditional Italian flavors with contemporary culinary techniques. Next on the agenda is the imminent launch of ‘Il GIARDINO di Sassi’. It is a picturesque garden setting where guests can savor their meals beneath a verdant pergola. The garden will feature a marble fountain and a bar, creating a unique atmosphere for our guests to enjoy. As part of our ongoing efforts, we actively commit to nurturing the growth of our team. Looking further ahead, we aspire to establish a reputation for delivering top-notch silver service, setting new standards in the industry. Furthermore, engaging with our community through collaborations and strengthened ties is central to our mission. Thus, we will remain committed to setting the stage for memorable moments. My team and I will continue to work hard to ensure that Signor Sassi remains at the forefront of the competitive Dubai restaurant market.