Rocco Seminara, the corporate executive chef of Bagatelle Group, is a passionate advocate of nature and a perfectionist at heart. Here, he takes time out of his busy schedule to share histhoughts on the trends shaping the Saudi food scene and what makes Bagatelle so appealing.
How would you describe your culinary journey?
My culinary journey is not only about personal development as a chef but also passion for sharing my knowledge and experiences with others.
Throughout my journey, I’ve perfected my skills and refined my palate in a quest to create extraordinary culinary experiences. My dedication to excellence and attention to detail is evident in every dish I create. I make it a point to source the best ingredients, treat them with respect and allow their natural flavors to come through.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Alain Ducasse, live extraordinary experiences — like the wedding of Prince Rainier of Monaco — and serve royalty.
What prompted the group to open a Bagatelle in Riyadh?
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has undertaken significant social and cultural reforms to diversify its economy and encourage tourism. These reforms have resulted in an increase in international visitors and a change in the restaurant and entertainment landscape. The opening of Bagatelle in Riyadh is part of the country’s efforts to improve its hospitality sector and provide world-class experiences for locals and tourists.
Overall, the decision to launch in the Saudi capital was driven by a combination of growing market demand, favorable economic conditions, cultural reforms and interest in the region.
What are the latest food trends and how are you incorporating them in your offering?
Comfort food is a popular trend in the restaurant industry but with a twist. Many restaurants are taking classic comfort food and transforming it in their own way, using unique ingredients or preparation methods. Bagatelle incorporates its version of classic comfort food, using high-quality ingredients and innovative techniques to enhance these dishes.
For many years, we have opted to use as many local products as possible. We live by this philosophy and have created our own vegetable gardens and orchards, such as the ones you will find in Mykonos and Saint Tropez. This is reflected in our menu in dishes such as the Riviera Salad.
What are the particularities of the Saudi Arabian dining scene?
Saudi Arabia is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan, with a diverse population including expatriates from all over the world. As a result, the dining scene has expanded to include a wide range of international cuisines, including Asian, European and American. The Saudi Arabian dining scene is unique and offers a range of culinary experiences that reflect the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
What can guests look forward to experiencing at your restaurant?
When visiting Bagatelle, guests can expect a variety of flavorful dishes that use fresh ingredients, bold spices and are vibrant in color. The cuisine is typically characterized by its focus on healthy ingredients, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. In addition to the food, guests can also expect a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is often inspired by the Mediterranean region’s culture and aesthetics. This may include a cozy interior with Mediterranean-inspired decor and music, as well as attentive service from knowledgeable and friendly staff.