Everyday Stories

Roaya Saleh

Category: Inspired Lives


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Roaya Saleh is a Bahraini mother of 4 boys. Finding little professional satisfaction in the world of Banking, she decided to indulge her passion and  established “Villa Mama’s” a restaurant in the Saar area of Bahrain that serves fresh, organic Bahraini cuisine. Her enthusiasm is undeniable when she explains “I wanted to add my weight to the desire Bahrainis have in preserving their heritage, and food was my way of doing that,"

With unmistakable business gen, Roaya is Head Chef and owner of “Villa Mama’s” leading her dedicated team of kitchen professionals, she shouts commands and follows orders from the main stove in her Kitchen, aware and eager that every single meal that leaves her kitchen is just as the customer wants it. “How can I ask my staff do what I refuse to do?” she asks with typical candour, ‘I am a woman who likes to lead from the front and by example.”

With many of the cars in the car park of Villa Mama’s sporting Saudi licence plates it is clear that the aroma of her cooking has well and truly drifted over the causeway. “I wanted to make authentic Gulf Food” she says, “Like my mother used to make for us, and I believe the success of the restaurant is because we have stuck to that principal, without compromising the quality of the produce.”

Established with assistance from Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank, Villa Mama’s is one example of the Bahraini Governments desire to stimulate business growth and business diversity. “ I couldn’t have done this without help from the Government,” she explains, “we have plans to expand the business to other areas of Bahrain.

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