Name: Rosario Seminatore
Restaurant: Olio Italian Restaurant, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa
Title: Italian Chef
My Breakfast: Single shot espresso.
My Knives: Damascus blades knives.
Most Overused Spice: Fresh basil and rosemary.
Favorite Foodie Destination: Italy, France, Thailand.
Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Sharpened high-quality knives.
Favorite Food Aroma: Salt and pepper…the simpler the better.
Q: Why did you first get into cooking?
I decided to take on cooking while testing and giving out my own advice to my mother and grandmother whenever they prepared traditional Italian dishes. I realized my tips were helpful and accurate, because I had a good habit of listening to the feedback of my family members and friends and I was good at tapping into their tastes.
Q: Describe your favorite dish.
I love slow-braised food, like Osso Buco which is a Milanese specialty of lamb shank cooked in a delicious broth. I also enjoy risotto simmered with different ingredients. I always believe in making dishes from scratch and using genuinely fresh ingredients for the best results.
Q: Name three ingredients you can’t live without in the kitchen.
Extra virgin Italian olive oil, aged Parmesan cheese and the freshest herbs available on the market because I do believe they build a base to any Italian dish.
Q: What is the most important part of a sandwich?
I think that, besides the best meat, cold cuts or cheese, the basis has to be the freshly baked bread and if possible add some extra flavor like lemon zest for seafood and other herbs to meet various meat or cold cuts pairings.
Q: What’s your favorite sauce of all time?
As an Italian chef, my favorite is tomato sauce made in the traditional way by using only selected fine and simple ingredients without mixing flavors to just keep it simple and authentic.
Q: How does your personality differ inside and outside the kitchen?
My role is more like an organizer and I keep the staff relaxed with my calm personality. Once I step outside the kitchen, I’m more of a marketing agent whereby I try to propose my menus and specials in a very appealing way to my guests.
Q: If you weren’t a chef, what would you like to be?
I could see myself as a trainer or a motivator and this is owed to my type of personality.
Q: If you could choose, what would your “last supper” be?
An array of various international dishes from all the countries I have worked for as a chef.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest food trend of 2018?
I can see customers are going back to the genuine food style. I see less attention on molecular or fusion cooking styles, but rather staying focused on the real, simple and homemade cooking style without trying to exaggerate it.