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Chef Talk: Meet Giovanni Rinaldi, the new chef at The Westin Abu Dhabi

Sacci Italian restaurant at The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa has a new chef de cuisine cooking up an Italian storm and Team Yalla finds out more.


What inspired you to work at the Westin?

Being new to the Middle East, I look forward to showcasing my life’s work by infusing authentic Italian cuisine among Middle Eastern culture. This will be a new challenge for me and a great life-changing adventure. What better way to be authentic than to be among people who make you feel right at home; The Westin does this for me.


What will you bring to the table at Sacci?

I’m looking forward to revitalising the menu with my own unique twist, by combining classic Italian cuisine with modern techniques, making it exciting for my guests and fellow colleagues. I’m very connected to the Roman cuisine and its ingredients.


How did you come to be a chef?

As a boy, my grandmother used to make fresh pasta at home with her wooden board. I was mesmerised by her patience as I watched and observed her technique. My family have always proudly worn their hearts in the kitchen making them great home cooks. So, growing up, I always looked forward to our family dinners – a moment in the day when I got to relax and enjoy the time spent with my family. I’m a chef, because my fondest memory is now my reality.


What’s your go-to cuisine when you’re off duty?

I enjoy South American and Asian food, as it reminds me of previous chefs I have worked with. The flavours really interest me and I’m always looking for ways to incorporate this into my dishes.


In your view, what’s the go-to dish that diners shouldn’t miss at Sacci?

Risotto Ossobuco – a combination of saffron, butter, parmesan and ossobuco meat makes this dish a must try culinary experience. It reminds me of my time in Milan, the birthplace for this particular recipe which has now become famous worldwide.


If you weren’t a chef, what would you have liked to have been in life?

I am very passionate in what I do and have a deep love for food, but if cheffing were not an option, architecture is a similar creative profession that tells a story much like my cooking.


Yalla, it’s revelation time. As a professional chef, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in the kitchen?

Working in London during the festive season, my senior asked me to manage three main areas in the hotel as we were busy. Confidently, I accepted the task thinking I could handle it. Later, I realised, I had bit off more than I could chew, which is why I now delegate effectively and ensure teamwork and communication channels are streamlined.


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09-05-2021 - 10-06-2021


The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi