The Bagatelle Group’s Corporate Chef, Rocco Seminara (previously Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, Hôtel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, and trained by Alain Ducasse) is responsible for curating Bagatelle’s menu globally, to bring authentic French Mediterranean, seasonal dishes to its cosmopolitan crowd. We chatted with Rocco Seminara about his career, culinary philosophy, and the passion that drives him to continue innovating within the world of gastronomy.

Tell us a little bit more about Bagatelle and the food you serve?

Bagatelle is a world-renowned restaurant that offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine. We strive to create memorable culinary experiences for our guests by using high-quality ingredients and providing attentive service.

Your culinary style is described as a symphony of technical creativity and vibrant flavours. How do you balance tradition with innovation when crafting dishes for Bagatelle’s guests?

In creating our dishes, we draw on the tradition of Mediterranean cuisine while incorporating modern techniques and flavours. I believe it is important to maintain the roots of my cuisine, which are from the south of France, while also exploring new paths.

Having trained under the legendary Alain Ducasse, what lessons or principles have had the most influence on your approach to cooking?

Working under Alain Ducasse’s direction has been a fantastic experience. Learning the basics is the most important, as it’s the foundation of all good cooking. During my training with Ducasse, I learned the importance of simplicity, quality ingredients, and respect for culinary techniques.

Bagatelle is known for its lively atmosphere and bringing the French joie de vivre lifestyle to various destinations. How does the energy and ambience of the restaurant influence your food?

The energy and ambience of Bagatelle have a significant influence on the cuisine. We want our dishes to reflect the joie de vivre and enthusiasm found in the restaurant. We aim to create dishes that showcase the freshness and liveliness of the ingredients, and the pleasure of sharing a meal at Bagatelle.

Could you share some insights into your philosophy on sourcing ingredients for Bagatelle’s menu? How do you ensure the authenticity and quality of the Mediterranean flavours you aim to showcase?

The philosophy of sourcing ingredients is based on the search for the best local and regional products. We are committed to working with suppliers who share our values of quality and authenticity. We use seasonal ingredients to showcase the flavours and textures of the Mediterranean.

London is a melting pot of diverse culinary influences. What do you love most this vibrant city?

London is an incredibly diverse city when it comes to food. I love how different cultures blend and influence each other. This creates a dynamic and exciting culinary scene where one can find everything, from traditional dishes to gastronomic innovations. I adore London!

Precision seems to be a cornerstone of your culinary philosophy. How do you ensure consistency and excellence across the different Bagatelle locations while still allowing room for each chef’s creativity and interpretation?

I work closely with each chef at Bagatelle to ensure consistency and excellence across all our establishments. The opportunity we have with this cultural mix of chefs from around the world is a driving force for us. When we work on a new recipe, I provide the direction and each chef is encouraged to work on it while ensuring that our dishes respect our specifications and the Mediterranean spirit.

Could you share a memorable dining experience or dish that embodies the essence of Bagatelle’s culinary ethos, and what makes it particularly special to you?

The Sea Bass Carpaccio, prepared in the “Tonnato” style with crispy capers, and our Chocolate Pizza, symbolises the essence of our culture. The Sea Bass Carpaccio is a globally recognised signature dish that embodies the freshness and authenticity of the Mediterranean in every bite. As for our Chocolate Pizza, it has become an essential part of our identity. This fusion of Mediterranean tradition and chocolate indulgence makes it a truly unique creation.

With two decades of experience honing your craft, what advice would you give to aspiring chefs looking to make their mark in the culinary world?

It’s not a recommendation, but following one’s desires and passions is a fundamental principle. Cuisine is a constantly evolving field. There are always new ideas, trends, and techniques to learn and discover. Being open and curious, and not staying within one’s comfort zone is essential. Finding your personality, and expressing what one wants to convey to clients, remains the most important thing for me. But despite all these challenges, it’s an exciting profession that offers many perspectives. The teams in a restaurant are part of what makes this job unique and rewarding. Our profession offers a career path where passion and creativity can flourish, and where each day brings new opportunities for growth and learning.