Page 1


BUSINESS INSURANCE A flexible and customisable package to cover virtually all aspects of your business, including:

| Property, Contents & Equipment | Public and Products Liability | Employers’ Liability | Professional Indemnity, Errors & Omissions, Directors & Officers Cover | Personal Accident/Income Protection (Single or Group) | Annual Travel Cover | Group Health Insurance | Group Life Insurance | Loss of Income | Money Cover | 24/7 Emergency Assistance Services

Additional Benefits: | Benefit from our best possible rates and terms by taking out a full insurance package. | Business Insurance policy comes with 24/7 Emergency Assistance Services, including immediate electrical, plumbing and broken external window repairs, and locksmith service. | Tailor your company’s health insurance plans to your own requirements, including preventive care and dental cover. | Group Life Insurance may be based on multiple of salary or flat sum, and may include cover for disability and critical illness. | Reduce your admin by having all of your insurance policies in one place. | Benefit from Laferla’s experience and excellent customer service. Valid claims are settled within 7 business days from acceptance.


Insurance? You need someone Professional | You need someone Reliable | You need someone To Trust | You need LAFERLA

Contact us for a free consultation Call

Agents for:

+356 2124 0828 |

E-mail

info@laferla.com.mt |

Visit

www.laferla.com.mt |

Laferla Insurance Agency Ltd.

204A, Vincenti Buildings, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT1453.

Laferla Insurance Agency Ltd. is enrolled under the Insurance Intermediares Act, 2006, to act as an Insurance Agent for Mapfre Middlesea plc (MMS). MMS is authorised by the Malta Financial Services Authority to carry on both Long Term and General Business under the Insurance Business Act, 1998. Both entities are regulated by the MFSA.


ALPINE EAGLE With its pure and sophisticated lines, Alpine Eagle offers a contemporary reinterpretation of one of our iconic creations. Its 41 mm case houses an automatic, chronometer-certified movement, the Chopard 01.01-C. Forged in Lucent Steel A223, an exclusive ultra-resistant metal resulting from four years of research and development, this exceptional timepiece, proudly developed and handcrafted by our artisans, showcases the full range of watchmaking skills cultivated within our Manufacture.


EDITOR'S LETTER

Since taking up the role of editor at EBM Magazine it has been a joy to see the editions flourish and grow, establishing a new personal favourite with each release, at least for me. I had been on Martin Pettersson’s case for at least a year anxious to get Tania Johanisson for the cover story! Having personally known Tania for some time, she continues to blow my mind with how stunning and smart she is, whilst also being a wonderful person and an amazing mother. Luckily, we managed to engineer an incredible photoshoot in August on the salt pans in Gozo, which can be seen on the cover of this issue. The day was extremely hot, close to our physical limits throughout the day, so thankfully we managed to get an early start before stepping off the Gozo Channel ferry and were finished by lunch, just in time before the heavens opened.

EBM Magazine EBM No 11 / WINTER 2019

Photos, however, do not tell the true story of a person; you can read all about our intelligent and inspirational cover story star in this issue. We have had a great time making this Winter Edition of the EBM Magazine, and hope you will love it as much as we do. There is also a myriad of other stunning content for this copy – we have 3 incredible restaurants covered, sure to tantalise you and give you plenty to think about for food options over the coming months, all of which are certainly worth a visit. With top quality food and service wise, each of our featured venues exhibiting a variety of interior styling, cosy atmospheres, and truly fantastic dining experiences. The food photos will surely seduce your stomach into spasms. We have of course, featured our favourite events that occurred during the summer of 2019, and our selection of the hottest offerings to look until Spring 2020 can be found towards the back. We have also had the pleasure to work on our first fashion feature for Junction store, located in The Plaza shopping centre; creating a beautiful photoshoot with the very talented new kid on the block Rob Golfeo alongside models from Supernova modelling agency! This is also not forgetting to mention a beautiful photoshoot for Edwards Lowell - the Chopard. Something sparkly and fresh, delicate and pretty – see for yourself and perhaps get inspired for your Christmas shopping. Last but not least – we give have our regular feature, the travel section, to inspire your trips in winter and spring. Hold on tight, winter is here and you will be craving the warm summers very soon!

Subscribe to EBM Magazine for free! Enjoy Every issue delivered to your door or workplace. SUBSCRIBE IN 3 EASY STEPS: 1. 2. 3.

visit www.ebmmagazine.com enter your details & hit subscribe enjoy reading all the stories

For sales contact Martin Petterson  sales@ebmmagazine.com

Julia Boikova

For any other enquires  info@ebmmagazine.com

Editor  hello@ebmmagazine.com  @ebmmagazine  @ebmmagazine #ebmmagazine

Photo by Julia Boikova


CONTENTS 10 18

One Step Ahead Tania Johannisson talks about her challenges and achievements faced within the iGaming Industry.

iGaming IDOL: Awarding the brilliant stars of 2019

We sit down with Head Chef Davide D’ignazio who gives us a low-down on his plans for Palazzo Parisio's future and what goes into making Michelin-starred food.

Colombia

66

#cleantheocean activity

70

A night to remember

74

Queen of Hearts

79

When friends cook

Michael Vella discusses how his aim is to create a fashion business that offers an alternative to the usual high-street fare.

86

Phuket

Attention: Ryan Vella is cooking

92

Grid Revolution

Taking the industry to NEXT Level Our overview of the vibrant and inspiring iGaming NEXT event that brought key players to confront challenges and plan the way ahead with energy and inspiration.

24

Expansion to Asia

26

Monaco Meets Malta

Eman Pulis speaks about how his company is striving become a global player in the super-growth sectors of the future.

Introducing the new fiery hotspot on the island. Check out Arabella Hogg's experience at the new Beefbar in St. Paul's Bay.

31 36

48

What makes a great chef?

60

Read about the 23 outstanding individuals, leaders and companies that made the final cut for this year’s spectacular iGaming IDOL.

20

54

Chopard Edwards Lowell brings to light the graceful heritage brand, Chopard.

Scotch DNA

Ryan Vella talks about his journey from waiter to head chef of Mezzodi and all the things he learnt along the way.

Follow Mari Aho's experience of a country with inherent beauty shaped by the ghosts of its violent past.

Mr Green's Communication Director, Mr Rikard Rinaldo, talks about how a small company initiative is set to become a strong driver for sustainable environmental change on the island.

Anna Marie Galea speaks to Debbie Cooper regarding the collaboration between Relax Gaming and Ambassadör Events about how the two companies delivered a knock-out event.

Ivonne Montealegre expands on how 2020 is set to be a big year, marking the 10th year of her partnership with Portomaso Casino.

Chris Diacono shares 4 delicious recipes that will not only make you happy, but all your friends and family too.

A brief insight into the country's best luxury traveller destinations.

How participants feel energised, and reinvented.


F O R E WA R D

In April 2013, EBM (formerly Events by Martin) was founded by photographer Martin Pettersson. After spending a few months on the island and realising that there was a lack of innovative high-end events, Martin organised EBM’s first invite-only event at a boutique hotel in St Julian’s and Events by Martin was born. EBM is now under the umbrella company of Ambassadör Events which was created by Martin and Managing Director, Pierre Lindh. Together, they have shaped Ambassadör Events into a one-stop shop for high-end experiences, concierge services and hospitality within the B2C and B2B sectors. In this jam-packed issue, our wonderful magazine team has been busy bringing you the latest and most exciting news in the iGaming, business and lifestyle world. Our cover star this issue is the wonderful Tania Johannisson from Evolution Gaming, a woman with beauty, brains and passion who talks us through her decade long and very specialised career as Director of Game Integrity and Risk. We’re also showcasing the highlights of our first ever iGaming NEXT conference which saw industry players and representatives from the leading industry giants together under one roof back-to-back with our awards show, iGaming IDOL. Ambassadör Events also helped Relax Gaming pull off one of the most sensational nights of the year with their boxing and MMA themed product launch in September. Keep an eye out for our upcoming events; a roaring night cast back in time for a 1920s New Year’s Eve at the newly refurbished Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa in Balluta and the infamous EBM Masquerade in March 2020 at Palazzo Parisio.

Grab a copy of EBM Magazine from the hottest spots on the island GZIRA Dr Juice · The Grassy Hopper The Ladybird · L'Angolo cafe

SLIEMA Café Cuba · Charles Grech Compass Lounge · Dr Juice Freemyme · Giorgio’s Cafeteria Giorgio’s · Hammett's Gastro Bar · Just Burger · Mint New York Best · Palazzo Violetta

ST JULIAN'S Crust Bakery · Dr Juice Fat Louie's · Hush Restaurant InterContinental · Pippa Toledo Rocksalt · Tiffany U Bistrot · Vivaldi Hotel Westin Dragonara

TA' XBIEX Beans Café · GENKI · Pasta & Co Busy Bee

Pierre Lindh

Managing Director, Ambassadör Events

Martin Pettersson Head of Sales, Ambassadör Events

For bookings contact

Debbie Cooper Head of Brand, EBM

VALLETTA Casa Ellul · Charles Grech Cru Wine Bar · Kingsway

 martin@ambassador-events.com

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 9


Cover image BALMAIN dress, this page full outfit by DOLCE & GABBANA. All available from SARTO.


C O V E R S T O RY

One Step Ahead Tania Johannisson

Director of Game Integrity & Risk at Evolution Gaming

Photography by Mark Arrigo I Make-up by Gia Marie Waits

What got you into gaming to begin with? Is this something you always wanted to do? 11 years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to apply for a summer job with a new European focused online live casino provider, a concept that I was totally unfamiliar with. In my mind this was a summer job for three months. Wow, this has been one long summer! Three months turned into over a decade, and the unknown gaming company became the world leader in live casino, with 7000-plus employees worldwide and a market cap of €4 billion.

Tell us about your journey into the Risk department.

Back in 2010 when I was managing a team of pit bosses, our Chief Operations Officer along with one of the founders of Evolution Gaming encouraged me to form a dedicated Risk team to focus solely on game protection. By then, we were already seeing players turning over tens of millions of euros, as live casino quickly gained popularity with tens of thousands of players enjoying our games daily. I was asked to take my best and fastest-learning  pit bosses. Whilst they gained the most detailed knowledge of managing 24/7 operations, there was one additional skill they needed as a Risk Analyst in the new Fraud team — the ability to think outside the box. We could never have looked for fraud specialists externally, because, at that time, there were none – at least none with the combination of land-based casino security experience, online operational setup knowledge and the technical capacity to work with various systems in the online environment.   

I have now spent the last eight years dedicating myself to table game protection and building an anti-fraud department numbering hundreds of risk-related staff, and I have been sharing our knowledge and expertise by attending and speaking at various game conferences across the world.

Where did you study for the role of Director of Game Integrity and Risk?

I enrolled for an Economics degree, with a big emphasis on mathematical and statistical data, at the same time I started at Evolution. During my studies, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Stockholm, at the Royal Institute School of Technology (KTH in Swedish). I have always had passion for numbers and been interested in mathematics, patterns and technology. This is something I excelled at in school. There is still no Online Live Dealer Risk Analysis and Game Protection degree available at universities, so we look for graduates with an analytical mind and gaming industry experience.

You have been with Evolution Gaming for more than 10 years. What it is that keeps you?

Evolution nurtures its staff and helps them grow, develop and carve out their own path. EVOlutioneers are truly amazing and inspiring people.   Our Group CEO says that if every single member of the team comes to work with a motivational attitude to make the company better, that is all it takes. One of my favourite leadership experts, Robin Sharma, summarises this thought perfectly: “Small daily improvements, when done consistently over time, lead to stunning results”.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 11


C O V E R S T O RY

12 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


C O V E R S T O RY

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 13


C O V E R S T O RY

14 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


C O V E R S T O RY

What are your observations on the gaming industry appreciating the importance of game integrity?

spoke about how we are competing in the broader entertainment sphere and see YouTube, Netflix and Amazon as competitors for players’ attention. Our latest developments are highly entertaining and successful games in our game shows game category, such as MONOPOLY Live, Deal or No Deal Live and our award-winning Lightning Roulette.

I always advocate that game security must be made a permanent and constant project for all of us in the industry in a preventative way.

An additional USP to our game portfolio is the scale of our operations. We can provide our customers with localized native speaking game presenters in almost 20 different languages and have more than 600 tables in operation.

For many, a simple win can be still considered as an indicator of a foul play. With the vast amount of data we collect our main focus is set on proactive detection of various suspicious betting behaviour, regardless of the result of a playing session.

Who is your biggest competition in the industry?

Our Chief Product Officer recently spoke at iGaming NEXT about live casino as the fastest growing vertical within the industry, and how many other providers are entering the market. He also

From my own point of view, a big impact on the industry is advantage players, who spend most of their time trying to beat the game using advanced, futuristic technology.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 15


C O V E R S T O RY

What is your biggest ambition in your current role?

A well-respected friend of mine, working in surveillance operations (we share a passion for data and numbers), told me that his biggest ambition is to stay one step behind the advantage players, not two or three steps behind. At Evolution we maintain a very ambitious goal — to stay one step ahead of advantage play. Our approach is proactive investigations and attempting to beat our own games in order to protect them.

What is your greatest professional achievement to this date?

Our innovative ideas have helped us to assure the integrity of our games, resulting in a department that targets both the online and land-based segments. We have designed and developed several red-flag systems, all in-house. I am proud to say these are globally patented and I am listed as one of the inventors. These systems attract very high interest from the land-based world and equipment manufacturers alike.

What challenges is the game protection vertical facing right now and what do you think the future holds?

Evolution Gaming is redefining the industry with its whole new genre of game shows. This change has naturally disrupted the game protection vertical because innovative new products bring new challenges. This same innovative approach must be applied to the monitoring systems and tools protecting these new games. You must think like an advantage player and then switch on your inner creator with the goal of trying to build something which ensures peace of mind for the business and its customers.

16 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

What is your greatest personal achievement?

I take great pride in being a mother and raising my children. Motherhood teaches you a lot of lessons and challenges your patience. Raising good human beings is a long process compared to my fast-paced working environment, where any decision prompts an instant response, resulting in a short-term achievement. The results of your labour as a mother however can only be fully evaluated when your kids are adults themselves. So, each milestone my children achieve warms my heart and makes me very proud.

 What personal routines help you to stay focused on your daily mission of risk awareness and protecting the game?

Routines are very important to me. Setting and sticking to those allow me to maximise my productivity every single day. I have a specific daily routine that includes a very early start and careful daily organisation and planning. I find this boosts productivity and focus and improves general well-being.

What steps one should take to work in the same industry and position? The industry had changed since you started 11 years ago, so I assume it would be different?

Gaming industry has seen a massive growth over the last decade and along with it, working conditions as well as requirements became more challenging and demanding. The industry however has always welcomed and recognized people with fresh ideas and those who were able to offer a new perspective on things. If you are committed to hard work, invested in personal and professional growth and want to make a difference in general, it is in your hands to build a successful future within the fast-growing gaming sector.


C O V E R S T O RY

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 17


EVENTS

iGaming IDOL:

Awarding the brilliant stars of 2019 Words by Giselle Scicluna I Photography by Silver Portugov 23 outstanding individuals, leaders and companies made the final cut for this year’s spectacular iGaming IDOL, held on the 11th September at the InterContinental Arena Conference Centre in St Julian’s. Now in its fourth year, iGaming IDOL has established itself as the premium awards event on the industry’s much acclaimed calendar. Bringing together the crème de la crème of the iGaming sector, iGaming IDOL’s unique concept seeks to recognise exceptional achievement by individuals within the industry who have, through their work or initiatives, excelled within their field of expertise, charity fundraising to benefit the greater community and topnotch entertainment. Idols are selected through a rigorous judging process, by an independent adjudicating panel made up of leading experts from within the industry itself. Delivering another fabulous, star-studded night, this year’s edition of iGaming IDOL was once again a unique celebration of extraordinary talent; a dazzling acknowledgement of the very driving force which propels the vibrant iGaming community. Choosing this year’s stars on the ascendant, from within an

18 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

industry renowned for nurturing and fostering the most gifted individuals, is no mean feat, but like every other idol, 2019’s protagonists have distinguished themselves above and beyond… Pierre Lindh, founder of iGaming IDOL commented, “iGaming IDOL 2019 was the celebration of the mutual understanding between the top organisations within the iGaming industry, that by promoting the pure talent that drives the organisations forward, and giving the employees a platform to be recognised for their hard work, we enable the entire industry to flourish. I'd like to congratulate all the worthy winners and finalists alike, as well as all the judges who chose the winners out of the more than 2000 nominees!”


EVENTS

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Idols of 2019…

The Compliance and Regulated Markets Idol of the Year award was won by Sara Condo of Jackpotjoy Group, and Jill Bergforth from Mr Green was crowned as the Copywriter Idol of the Year. The Developer Idol of the Year, a new category for 2019, was won by Jevon Demanuele of GiG.

2019’s CEO of the Year award was won by Martin Carlesund from Evolution Gaming and Eman Pulis from SiGMA was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to the Industry. The Employer Branding of the Year award went to Kindred Group, and the Employer of the Year was awarded to Hero Gaming.

The Fraud and Risk Idol of 2019 is Yan Grech from Jackpotjoy Group while Ashley-Christian Hardy of GiG won the Manager Idol of the year. Office Management Idol of the Year is Keith Caruana of Kindred Group and the Recruitment Idol of the Year award went to Martina Pugliesi of Catena Media. Lars Kollind of Playson Games is the new Sales Idol of the Year.   The SEO Idol of the Year was awarded to Koen Bongers of Blexr. Kenneth Christiansen from LeoVegas Careers is 2019’s VIP Idol of the year.

Olga Finkel from WH Partners, was the first to garner the Hall of Fame Award, the second award went to Pontus Lindwall of Betsson Group, and Robin Reed, founder and former CEO of GiG won the third Hall of Fame award.

Thomas Bijman, previously of Catena Media and now at NetEnt, while George Farantzikos from NetEnt won the Casino Dealer Idol of the Year award. Rounding off the NetEnt run was Bryan Upton, 2019’s Casino Idol of the Year. NetEnt's Bryan Upton is 2019’s Casino Idol of the Year. Affiliate Manager Idol of the Year award went to Vera Panczyk from SuprNation. The Customer Service Idol of the Year award was won by Timo Thronicke from Videoslots while Design Idol of the Year went to Joseph Xerri from Genesis Global Limited.

Identifying and recognising excellence

In an industry as innovative and progressive as the iGaming sector, rewarding absolute excellence is not only justified but essential. Through its intricate processes, iGaming IDOL seeks to recognise outstanding accomplishments, while offering the perfect backdrop for the industry to identify, celebrate and award its most gifted and accomplished idols. https://igamingidol.com/

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 19


EVENTS

Taking the industry to the NEXT Level iGaming NEXT brought the creme de la creme of the industry under one roof, and provided a vibrant and inspiring opportunity for key players to confront challenges and plan the way ahead with energy and inspiration. Words by Giselle Scicluna I Photography by Silver Portugov

Key iGaming industry players and representatives from the world’s most renowned tech giants were gathered together under one roof on September 10th, as the InterContinental Arena hosted iGaming NEXT; a vibrant event that’s more than just a conference, and which confirmed Malta’s position as a central player in the global iGaming industry. The event’s bona fides are confirmed through a simple look at its chosen keynote speakers. Among them is Karl Davies-Barrett, Senior Engineer Manager at Microsoft, who had no qualms about characterising the event as a high-stakes, high-level and high standards affair, and definitely “not your regular iGaming event”. Praising the dynamic, ever-relevant and content-rich ‘TED style’ that its speakers operated in, Davies-Barrett added that, “The level of attendees was first class, which of course enhanced networking opportunities to no end. I would highly recommend this event to my colleagues, people in the industry and many more in my professional network.”

Contributing to this mix of experts from fields outside of iGaming itself one could also find Head of Business Development at Amazon Game Tech, Griff Parry, who gave a thought-provoking talk about ‘How Gaming can learn from Games’. But of course, the opinion of industry players toiling in the mines of iGaming on a regular basis are also crucial to determine the value of such a specialised event. Luckily, they appear to have been won over by what they saw at iGaming NEXT. That was certainly the case for Todd Haushalter, the CPO for the renowned Evolution Gaming, who called it “the most impressive conference of the year,” attributing its success to more than just the sheer scale of participants. “The attendees were of a very high calibre, and the presentations were of top notch quality. We were happy to be involved in this and look forward to the NEXT one!”

A quick glance at Davies-Barrett’s fellow speakers gives us a clear picture of the high-quality range that the event operated in. Visitors were regaled with Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee’s insights into the evolving nature of entertainment, and how the future of the tech will be defined by products that leave a positive impact on society.

ComeOn! CEO Lahcene Merzoug praised the “stimulating” atmosphere that helped to keep conversations interesting and networking sessions flowing, while GVC Holdings VIP Team Lead Anni Bonev believes iGaming NEXT can have a serious, long-term impact on how the industry consolidates itself in the coming years.

Looking back at the event, Mukherjee thanked the organisers for offering him this crucial opportunity to exchange ideas, saying that he was particularly happy that his message of “innovating for good” met with such a positive response. “I learned so much about how the industry is collaborating with regulators, embracing new technology experiences, and adopting important safeguards for vulnerable consumers,” he added.

“It has laid a foundation where from now on, every year, the past, present and future of iGaming will meet and shake hands,” she said.

20 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

Meanwhile, Regional Director for BetConstruct (Malta) Kristina Hambardzumyan felt that iGaming NEXT is precisely the right kind of event to spark off interesting discussions about how the industry should move forward. Refusing to


EVENTS

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 21


EVENTS

shy away from speaking about the undeniable challenges that the industry faces – from regulation to recruitment – Hambardzumyan nevertheless remains confident that these issues are precisely the kind of problems a dynamic, attractive and expanding industry like iGaming can expect to face, and that one should never remain undeterred in their mission to move the field forward. “All of this keeps the gaming industry awake and actively looking for solutions, learning new ways of being compliant, responsible and profitable,” she said. In fact, Hambardzumyan is also mindful of the solutions that are at hand, largely a result of innovative technology that is such a startling feature of the 21st century’s digital landscape. “Once you identify a given problem, new technology will likely be available to tackle it,” she says. “Nowadays, companies are using artificial intelligence and automation in their services, which, by using even less human resources, ensures gaming is safer and more responsible than ever. The ability to develop virtual assistants is also of great help, as they can be educated to directly assist in gaming processes.”

22 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

With all these challenges and innovations in the air, Hambardzumyan believes an event like iGaming NEXT to be of crucial importance. “Brainstorming events such as iGaming NEXT gives companies the opportunity to showcase and test their approaches on a worldwide stage, allowing them to develop smart solutions that will help us collectively confront the challenges ahead.” In all this, neither can Hambardzumyan help but offer praise to the ongoing efforts of Ambassadör Events, who have been a welcoming beacon for the Maltese iGaming industry for years. “The team behind Ambassadör Events intimately understands all the needs of the gaming industry, and makes our lives on the island easier, more connected and more fun. They’ve created so many occasions for us industry players to meet, share our experiences and enjoy each others’ company. Ultimately, they are another reason why Malta is a great place to live in, and continue to grow this great industry,” she says.


FOR YOUR NEXT BUSINESS O R P R I VAT E F U N C T I O N C O N S I D E R M A LTA’ S F I N E S T A R T S PA C E

Contact Us i n f o @ v a l e t t a c o n t e m p o r a r y. c o m w w w. v a l l e t t a c o n t e m p o r a r y. c o m +356 21241667 | +356 79041051

Va l l e t t a C o n t e m p o r a r y, 1 5 , 1 6 , 1 7 , T r i q L v a n t ( E a s t S t r e e t ) Va l l e t t a , V LT 1 2 5 3 , M a l t a No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 23


EVENTS

Eman Pulis Expansion to Asia.

Eman Pulis can be credited for giving the local iGaming industry a serious shot in the arm with the creation of SiGMA, which brings industry leaders together on the island and has cemented Malta’s reputation as a central hub for this field. Now, he’s ready to tap into the Asian market, building on solid foundations established after years of hard work. Words by Julian Moore

He’s a family man, and while his immediate family is his partner Jelena, and their daughter Emilia, Emans' extended family reaches across oceans and includes thousands of acquaintances, old and new, each of whom count on him as a close friend and partner in their activities together. It’s this ‘one big family’ approach to business that has made Eman and his company, SiGMA Group, such rising stars over the last few years - a status confirmed at the iGaming Idol Awards in September, where Eman was presented with the prestigious “Outstanding Contribution to the Industry” Award. Now, as Eman looks back on 2019, he reflects on the huge strides his company has taken to become a global player in the super-growth sectors of the future. “I can’t believe how quickly we’ve grown,” starts Eman. “Just a year ago, we were still an iGaming events start-up, in my eyes. Now we have a global reach, bringing businesses together across the world and igniting high-growth sectors”. Pulis says ‘start-up’, but in reality the first SiGMA event was in 2014, and the company has grown ever since. But in 2019, yes, SiGMA Group, as it’s now known, has not only expanded its portfolio of Malta events activity to include three expos (SiGMA - the World’s iGaming Village, the Malta AI &

24 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


EVENTS

“For us, this is such an exciting time.” he explains. “While the European shows are still growing each year, with an amazing team in Malta taking care of all the details, we’re building a new hub in Asia, with offices in Manila and Hong Kong. I just get great energy from working hard and meeting all these brilliant people who are leading the world down exciting new paths. Asia is the new frontier for SiGMA Group.” The company is working closely with the government of the Philippines, as well as the regulator for the gambling sector in the country - PAGCOR. Not only is SiGMA Group realising opportunities for business partners and exciting new startups, it’s also focused on exerting a strong economic impact on the region. “By opening doors for collaboration between companies from both Asia and Europe, we hope to light the touchpaper for economic growth in these sectors shaping the future. AI and Blockchain will change the way the world works - for everyone! There’s plenty of under-privileged people that can benefit from that - banking the unbanked, for example, is a major step in creating greater financial equality for the world’s populations. AI and emerging technologies might help us solve the climate crisis through clean up efforts and automated regeneration projects. It’s not just about big business.” SiGMA Group is also doing its part to save the world. The company launched the SiGMA Foundation earlier this year to give something back to those in need. Eman is rightly proud of these fundraising efforts. “Across Asia and Africa, we’re raising millions in funding for charitable projects to help people to improve future well-being for communities. SiGMA Foundation has already implemented life-changing enterprises to build schools in Ethiopia and youth engagement activities in the Philippines - each with the sole purpose of improving lives for those less advantaged.”

“BY OPENING DOORS FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN COMPANIES FROM BOTH ASIA AND EUROPE, WE HOPE TO LIGHT THE TOUCHPAPER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THESE SECTORS SHAPING THE FUTURE.” Blockchain Summit, and Medical Cannabiz World), but also taken these three verticals halfway around the world to Asia, where the company aims to replicate success for these sectors. In June 2020, SiGMA Group will host a ‘super-show’ in Manila, Philippines, encompassing iGaming, blockchain, crypto, and emerging technologies such as quantum computing. And in Thailand, the recently announced Medical Cannabiz World Asia completes the trifecta for the Maltese entrepreneur.

As we wrap up our conversation, Eman concludes, “I live by the words ‘onwards and upwards’ - not just for myself and the SiGMA Group, but for the organisations we support, the governments we work with, and for the people of the world who we strive to help. As we come to the end of a busy year, with our expansion to Asia and becoming a global brand, I really couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved. I can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring!”

“I see it as a bridge between continents, bringing together these stellar industries between East and West. There’s so much opportunity as these sectors explode onto the world scene, and so much innovation too. We’re literally changing the world, and it feels amazing to play a role in that.” For SiGMA Group, the Asia events represent the new jewels in its crown, leading Eman to up sticks and move to Manila full time with his wife and daughter.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 25


FOOD

26 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD

MONACO MEATS MALTA Words by Arabella Hogg | Photography by Francis Amiand & Stephen Galea

Chasing the last of this year’s summer evenings, a group of my friends organised a get together before the nights draw in, and icy cocktails are swapped for warm mugs of tea. A new hot-spot is on the radar, located on the shoreline of St. Paul’s Bay. I called to make a reservation and before I hung up, I was politely asked if I would require the personal shuttle-service to take us to and from the restaurant — a nice touch if you want to enjoy an extra drink or two and avoid the hassle of parking. We arrived at Beefbar on the Beach and were ushered into a private elevator by a model-like hostess. As the doors slid open a floor below, we stepped into a paradise that can only be fully appreciated by understanding the ethos behind it. In a league of his own, Riccardo Giraudi, restaurateur behind the international Beefbar concept, has thought far beyond the traditional approach to steakhouses. He envisioned a place where guests were given a unique and extraordinary experience from beginning to end; a new generation of relaxed high-end dining without the conventional formalities. Giraudi’s expertise in meat is deep-rooted: his father began a high-quality meat importation business in the 1960s which he eventually helped to manage. After a few years, Giraudi noticed a gap in the market for a finedining steakhouse with elegant yet laid-back sophistication. He opened the first Beefbar in Monte Carlo in 2005 and hasn’t looked back. Since then, the company has continued to grow — there are now 15 outlets around the world including Hong Kong, Mykonos and Saint-Tropez, with more opening in 2020. Beefbar on the Beach in Malta is no less luxurious or impressive than you would expect for those familiar with Giraudi’s other establishments. Everywhere I looked, my eyes were treated to an aesthetically pleasing sight. Half-expecting Daniel Craig to appear around the corner, this location would not look out of place in a Bond movie. Resembling a billionaire’s luxury

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 27


FOOD

summer residence, Beefbar on the Beach is perched on the Northern coast of Malta for endless views of the Mediterranean Sea. Lofty and open-plan, Beefbar showcases spaces for different styles and occasions. The restaurant is spacious yet intimate, with their prized beef proudly on display in their butchery, waiting to be cooked using Executive Chef Thierry Paludetto’s signature techniques. The lounge is a more relaxed space, with inviting sofas throughout, and a bar running the length of the room. Once you’re there, it’s impossible to resist the urge to indulge in a cocktail, glass of wine or a selection of bites from the Street Food Menu which includes an array of Japanese, Malaysian, French, Mexican and Indian delicacies. Beefbar is truly an indoor/ outdoor experience, the large open sliding doors give the sense of dining alfresco with a fresh sea-breeze, whilst you enjoy your meal sheltered inside. Designed by world-renowned duo Humbert & Poyet, the interiors are ultra-contemporary, an essay in understated luxury. Every square inch is given the utmost attention, from the pleasing colour palette to the use of luxe fabrics and materials. The pair took inspiration from Malta, the sea surrounding the island and the indigenous natural limestone. What they have managed to create is an exquisite space which is stylish, elegant and inviting. We decided to start with an aperitif in the lounge, with the drinks menu catering to even the most refined drinker. Aside from offering the finest selection of wines and spirits, the extensive list of both exotic signature cocktails and classic favourites are not to be missed — including an outstanding ‘Old Fashioned’ Don Draper would be proud of. We were then escorted to our table, looking forward to the food we were yet to discover. The dinner menu encourages sharing, a concept I am truly fond of (to avoid experiencing the dreaded ‘order envy’). The food is a feast for the eyes, not just the taste buds. Intricately assembled sharing plates of tacos, ceviche and tataki offer an opportunity to try a little bit of everything before you settle into your steak. The first food revelation came as I tasted their infamous Miniature Big K — tiny burgers consisting of Kobe beef patties, crispy bacon and a secret sauce. My friend from London who is usually ‘far-too-fashion’ to touch carbs turned to me while chewing, with widened eyes, pointing eagerly at the little bites of heaven.

28 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD


FOOD

Seeking the perfect steak, the attentive staff patiently explained the menu to us. Beefbar offers their meat menu in a style similar to a good wine list – you can choose beef from all over the world, ranging from exquisite quality beef to the best cuts money can buy. With a ‘go big or go home’ rationality, we decided on the WX Wagyu Beef Tomahawk. Showing the precision of a well-oiled machine, the waiters brought out our meal and swiftly sliced it tableside with a level of theatrics you cannot resist capturing on your phone. Let’s face it, this place is as Instagram-worthy as it comes! Giraudi has left behind the tired cliché of steakhouses, serving chunks of meat drowned in thick sauces. The chefs at Beefbar use unique cooking techniques that mean there’s no need for any sauce at all: the beef is seasoned and seared to perfection, leaving the meat crisp on the outside, yet melt-in-your-mouth in the centre. With a name like Beefbar, you can imagine any herbivore would steer clear of this carnivore’s paradise. So, it came to us as a surprise that our non-meat-eating friend was well catered to on the menu, with an offering from the ‘Leafbar’ plus options featuring ‘No Beef’. We decided to accompany our meal with a divine potato cream, and French fries with parmesan and fresh summer truffles. There is something truly decadent about mountains of shaved truffles piled generously on to the humble French fry. ‘Earth’s Gold’ — the nickname aptly given to truffles — gets sprinkled on more than your fries; you can add it to almost every dish on the menu if you are feeling up to it. Beefbar excels in the art of low-key luxury, and truffles are just the beginning. Beefbar on the Beach is not just a restaurant, it’s a lifestyle. The cooler-than-cool ambience is a welcome treat for the professionally trendy, die-hard foodies and people who seek out the finer things in life. Beefbar on the Beach, 47 Darwet il-Gżejjer, San Pawl il-Baħar, Malta 30 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

Photography by Manuel Bonnici I Model Kylie from Models M I Make-up by Lyanne Sawyer

Known for its high jewellery, rather than exquisite horology, Chopard is rapidly becoming one the most desired watchmakers worldwide. With over 150 years of experience, its impeccable design, renowned precision and loyalty to its traditions, Chopard is a highly respected name in watchmaking and jewelry.

The company prides itself on their handcrafted movements, especially calibres that each are unique with hand-engraved floral finishings and raised motifs. The bespoke design of all Chopard’s products positioned the company as one of the most exclusive and valuable manufacturers of fine jewellery worldwide.

The ethos of the company consists of craftsmanship, innovative technological developments, and an unstoppable quest for perfection.

The design house is particularly adored by celebrities all over the world, who often step out on the red carpet wearing Chopard jewellery as the primary accent of the attire. The brand is also one of the official sponsors of the Cannes Film Festival.

Currently, the firm produces all its watches and jewelry in Geneva, and the company is one of the few luxury brands that can associate a significant amount of success to the development of ladies watches and high end jewelry. As a family-owned brand, the brand carries a signature of elegance and timelessness in its design that can only be passed from generation to generation. Chopard has built its reputation not only for its exceptional quality but also for innovative design. Comparing to other high-end jewellery makers, Chopard collections are often more fun and contemporary. Chopard stands for passion and elegance, but the company also emerges from the competition through ethics. Since 2013, Chopard has been promoting its most prestige products as using ethical and sustainable gold.   

A wide diversity of watches and jewellery allowed Chopard to establish itself as a benchmark in the field of precious watches and jewellery. The quality of Chopard watches ensured by COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. To surpass the industry standards, Chopard launched a new label of precision – “Qualité Fleurier”. Many Chopard watches bear Fleurier Quality Foundation certification to assure the accuracy and durability of the timepieces as well as the movement quality.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 31


FA S H I O N

Chopard Happy Hearts (817482-5301, 857482-5202 & 837482-5210) Chopard, the Big-Hearted Maison, has always regarded generosity and kindness as its core values. A perfect match between Chopard’s heart talisman and the Maison’s iconic dancing diamonds, the Happy Hearts collection unites big-hearted women around the world. Little Diamonds Do Great Things.

32 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 33


FA S H I O N

Imperiale (829221-5070, 859221-5001 & 799220-5007) The eminently feminine, beautifully balanced and powerful IMPERIALE collection dazzles with the richness and refinement of its details. It pays tribute to modern-day empresses whose noble, majestic beauty is rivalled only by their conquering spirit. A variety of ornate and sophisticated jewellery creations enhance this collection with their distinguished and precious lines. Delicately revealed through an exquisite set of arabesque motifs, precious stones glow with the strength and beauty of their majestic colours. A tribute to modern achievers. 34 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

Chopard Happy Diamonds (829903-5010 & 799903-5001) Chopard’s Happy Diamonds creations are as audacious as they are playful, with their iconic dancing diamonds gently moving and twirling between two sapphire crystals, symbolising an authentic touch of Joie de Vivre and a truly free spirit.


FA S H I O N

SCOTCH DNA SCOTC H & S O D A AT J U N C T I O N

Words by Arabella Hogg I Photography by Rob Golfeo Models Manuel & Jacqui from Supernova Models I Make-up by Gia Marie Waits I Location Palazzo Pariso

36 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

In the heart of Malta’s shopping hub Sliema, there is a destination for people who seek out premium, yet affordable clothing called Junction. Started by Michael Vella in 1995, his aim was to create a fashion business that offered an alternative to the usual highstreet fare available. By selecting brands that had never been seen on the island, he carved out a reputation for the shop as the place to find the latest, most up-todate labels. Michael studied Engineering, but soon felt a calling for his true passion – fashion. He decided to pursue it with a goal to source and bring brands that had never been to Malta before, signaling the creation of Junction – their motto? ‘Forever Progressive.’ Today, Junction is home to worldrenowned men’s clothing brand Scotch & Soda and women’s line Maison Scotch “In 2006, I came across Scotch & Soda at an international fair in Berlin. There was something about the brand.” Says Michael. Founded in 1985, Scotch & Soda started in a canal-side design studio in Amsterdam, they now have over 200 independent stores and over 8,000 global multi-brand shops. The Dutch-based label is where personality and uniqueness reign supreme. The brand prides itself not only on its eclectic style, but also its social ideologies - as the brand philosophy states ‘we travel the globe with our eyes and hearts wide open.’ Their identity, referred to as ‘Scotch DNA’, is not only about the unique style of their clothing, but also the sustainability. Scotch & Soda make it a priority to create pieces that are both ethically-made and environmentally-friendly. Creativity and individuality are the backbone of the brand, with each collection based on inspiration found by the Scotch & Soda team from all corners of the world. Their Autumn/Winter 2019 collection is named ‘The Collector’s Ateliers’ – inspired by the works of Kees van Dongen, a Dutch-French painter from the early 1900s. Van Dongen’s artwork is famed for his intense use of colour, which elevated the expressiveness of his paintings. The

themes of his work are predominantly centered around nightlife – dancers, singers, masquerades and theatre (which were considered racy and exhibited with great scandal!) His controversy landed him an association with twentieth-century rebellious artistic group “Les Fauves” (French for “the wild beasts”) alongside the likes of Henri Matisse. The Collector’s Ateliers’ collection echoes Kees van Dongen’s free spirit. Using his bold bohemian style, Scotch & Soda created conservative workwear pieces with a dramatic colourful edge. From the exceptionally-tailored tweed blazers, bold Prada-style prints to flashes of colour in greens, oranges and mustard-hues, the collection transforms traditionally bland workwear into something new and refreshing. The pieces in this collection are not selectively for wearing to work, they can be worn throughout the day to night – totally desk to dinner chic. If you’re dreading the approaching grey weather plus a dreary wardrobe to match, this seasons’ catwalks are providing a welcome ray of sunshine. The A/W runways were crowded with colours that will brighten up any day (or mood). The leading colour on the catwalks was yellow – from bright neon pops of it, to toned down muted-mustard; a shade very prevalent in The Collector’s Ateliers’ collection. Another noticeable trend on the runway was a country-club-chic look with a twist. Celine, Chanel, Gucci and Burberry all showcased silk pussybow blouses, tailored tweed sports jackets and pleated midi-length skirts (including a JW Anderson trench coat with contrasting tweed lapels that went viral on Instagram during the show.) The latest collection from Scotch & Soda and Maison Scotch offers the very latest wardrobe updates, straight from the designer shows (without the designer price tags). On the fashion menu this season are bold prints, bright colours and tweeds. The mix ‘n’ match approach is something the brand excels in; a few key pieces will successfully keep you fashion-forward throughout the winter months.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 37


Scotch & Soda: Turtle neck €99.95, chino pants €89.95, parka jacket €239.95 Fly London: Boots €124.95 Maison Scotch: Coat €199.95, shirt €89.95, side stripe pants €99.95

38 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 39


40 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


Maison Scotch: Blazer €149.95, green blouse €99.95 Scotch & Soda: Sweatshirt €89.95, corduroy jacket €179.95 Fly London: Boots €124.95

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 41


FA S H I O N

42 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

Maison Scotch: Midi dress €139.95, double breasted coat €239.95 Scotch & Soda: Sweatshirt €79.95, shirt €69.95, denim jeans €99.95

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 43


44 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FA S H I O N

Maison Scotch: Long lurex dress €139.95, blouse €99.95, pleated skirt €99.95 Scotch & Soda: Corduroy shirt €99.95, checked chino pants €99.95 Fly London: Boots €124.95

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 45


46 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD

ATTENTION RYAN VELLA IS COOKING Words by Anna Marie Galea I Photography by Sean Mallia

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 47


FOOD

The first time I heard about Giuseppi’s Bar & Bistro was not through word of mouth, but rather through word of sight. A good friend of mine posted a photo on social media about this amazing octopus dish that she had sampled and within a few seconds of seeing that photo, I too was sold. Since then, visiting their restaurant in Salini has always been something of a treat so you can imagine how excited I was to hear of their newest offshoot venture tucked away in the heart of Valletta, Mezzodi. Today, I catch up with Ryan Vella and talk about his journey from waiter to head chef of Mezzodi and all the things he learnt along the way. “I didn’t always want to be a chef,” Ryan states emphatically. “In fact, I was already working as a waiter at Giuseppi’s in Mellieħa before I started studying physiotherapy. To be honest, I almost immediately realised that physio wasn’t the road for me, and I only did half a year of the course before I

48 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

decided that my place was in the kitchen. I’ve always preferred being backstage than working with people.” Unlike other things, cooking came naturally to Ryan and as he pored over cookbooks and received more and more encouragement from chef-patron of Giuseppi’s Michael Diacono, he felt more and more emboldened to do something new: “The more I asked myself why I was in the course, the more I felt no reason to stay. I got a lot of support from Michael who confirmed my belief that I was in the wrong line of work and offered me a full-time job in the kitchen. He even spent more time working the floor instead of in the kitchen to give me a chance to grow. I am eternally grateful for how much he has always believed in me.” After his two-year stint as a waiter in Giuseppi’s in Mellieħa, Ryan spent another two years working in the kitchen of the same place and attending ITS. He also spent his six-month


No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 49


FOOD

internship abroad working in a Michelin star restaurant in the UK, however, when he came back he wasn’t sure where he wanted to work and spent a year or two switching between jobs till the fateful day when he stepped into what was at the time Diacono’s new restaurant in Salini: “Michael and I had always kept in touch but when I went into Giuseppi’s in Salini, I literally told him that if he wanted me, I would be happy to work with him again. I worked there for another three or four years before I came here.”

“I love cooking at home and experimenting and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a misconception to say that chefs don’t enjoy cooking in whatever downtime they have. I’m constantly reading cookery books and every single holiday I plan revolves around food. I think my current favourite food is the humble sardine because apart from the fact that you get this amazing flavour and texture, it’s also sustainable. I know that it might come across as clichéd to some, but good, fresh produce makes for good food.”

On hearing that Michael was ready to embark on a new venture with his nephew Chris Diacono, Ryan approached him and asked if he would be interested in him having a share of the new restaurant, the rest is history: “Mezzodi has become my life. Michael has taught me so much in the time I have known him. One of the most important things I ever learnt from him is that both food and people need patience. Thanks to him, I panic and worry about things a lot less than I used to. It’s been a privilege to be able to learn so much and to be given the opportunity to grow. I can’t ever imagine doing anything else and I’m inspired by what I do every day.”

So, what advice would he give to chefs who are at the beginning of their culinary journey? “I think that the most important thing in this job (as well as in any other) is to love what you do. You have to be sure that this is what you want because being a chef is all-consuming and you need to be willing to work at all hours. In this job, you don’t have a routine and you’re never not thinking of food but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am deeply thankful to Michael and Chris, I always dreamt of having a restaurant in Valletta and thanks to them, that dream has come true.”

Indeed, while some chefs rue the fact that they have to go home and cook, Ryan finds this to be untrue of himself:

80 South St, Valletta www.mezzodirestaurant.com

50 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 51


FA S H I O N

A SENSE OF DISCOVERY The St Julian’s address which has reached icon status through its curated edits of designer fashion. Creative Director, CEO and local fashion pioneer Michelle Farrugia gives her insight in to what drives the brand, and delves behind the scenes of the launch of SARTO Eau de Parfum. Photography by Brian Grech

Tell us about SARTO... Seven years ago the retail landscape in Malta offered little in the way of luxury. The desire for bespoke brand experiences and quality products was clear; and thus SARTO was born! Our concept is about more than just fashion: we provide a source for inspiration and a form of escape through beautiful objects. If the store is our heart, fashion is our oxygen, and people are our soul. How have things changed since SARTO opened doors? Our portfolio has grown from seven brands to twenty, and we are thrilled to have welcomed Fendi, Pucci and Balmain in 2019. Beauty, creativity and authenticity have always been a big part of our DNA; and this is communicated through the store’s signature window displays. These become more diverse, complex and elaborate with each passing month. In terms of mile-stones there have been several; Ermenegildo Zegna took a leap of faith with the first Made To Measure event some years ago. This bespoke experience has gone from strength-to-strength and is now available bi-annually, with a Zegna Made to Measure Specialist flying in. ‘SARTO Children’ was recently introduced with Burberry, Moncler and Dolce & Gabbana, along with a number of child friendly in-store experiences. We are constantly working to innovate, particularly with our online presence. The level of interaction we receive through our socials has increased and allows instant connectivity. SARTO.COM.MT was recently re-launched and now offers next-day delivery on our online Gift Card and SARTO Eau de Parfum.

52 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

The SARTO Eau de Parfum campaign has been quite visible lately... how did this come about? We are so thrilled to have finally rolled this out! The fragrance took three years to develop, and is designed to empower every woman on her life journey. SARTO Eau de Parfum is a limited-edition scent, and the first product to carry the brand’s namesake. I collaborated with an international team on this project and was present throughout the whole process. It was crucial that the scent not only provides an honest representation of SARTO but also connects with women everywhere. The sense of discovery and the creating of beauty are central to our message. The fragrance itself opens with a burst of floral femininity and settles with the nostalgic aroma of vintage talcum powder. Its depth lies in a base of patchouli, vetiver and cedar wood. The feedback so far has been wonderful. What is working in the fashion industry actually like? As far as industries go, it is fast, hybrid, and hectic with rules which are constantly changing. One must therefore never take anything for granted, or sit still for too long. People look at fashion events and shoots, and see the glamorous side. While this is sometimes true, it involves more hard work than meets the eye. Fashion Weeks are fun, as they help to keep one’s finger on the pulse and nurture connections. Pierpaolo Piccioli, the Creative Director at Valentino is one such example. He is the epitome of cool and I admire him tremendously! Jo Malone also gave sound advice at a chance meeting during the development of the fragrance. The day-to-day however takes dedication, with long business hours and weeks on the road, travelling from city to city on seasonal planning. At the end of the day, everything we do is about our customer, and that all-important impeccable moment-of-truth.


FA S H I O N

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 53


54 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD

What makes a great chef ? Words by Anna Marie Galea | Photography by Sean Mallia

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 55


FOOD

56 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD

Transporting you away from the hustle and bustle of Malta’s noisy streets, Palazzo Parisio has always been a safe haven for aesthetes and foodies alike. Sitting down in the gardens at crisp, white-linened tables is not just a reminder of the exquisiteness of being in a beautiful, tranquil place, but it has always been nothing short of an experience; an experience which is about to reach new heights thanks to brand spanking new chef Davide D’ignazio who is already making waves in the three short weeks he has been in Malta. EBM sits down with him and gets the lowdown on his plans for the Palazzo’s future and what goes into making Michelin-starred food. “I’ve only been here for 20 days, but I’m already in love,” Davide exclaims. Bright and animated, he immediately dives into what put him on the path he loves so much: “In a way, I suppose you could say that I fell into this job. I was studying to be an engineer because I have loved Maths and Physics from a young age, but I love food more.” Finishing his degree whilst simultaneously being a waiter, Davide returned to his hometown of Monterotondo near Rome and started working in a local restaurant for free. From then onwards, he embarked on what he has described as a passionately nomadic existence. “The beautiful thing about cooking is that you can do it wherever you want in the world. I worked at the Westin Excelsior in Rome and then I worked with the legendary Antonello Colonna for two years. It was while I was Head Chef at one of his restaurants that we were awarded a Michelin star. After some time, I decided to move to London where I worked at ‘The Ledbury’ which was awarded two Michelin stars and is considered to be one of the top restaurants in the world. I was at the ‘Mercante’ at Sheraton Grand London Park Lane not looking for a new job when I saw the call for applications to be an Executive Chef at Palazzo Parisio and after a couple of interviews, I just decided to go for it. I’m greatly looking forward to what the Baroness and I will create.” Although he hasn’t even been here for a month, Davide has been hard at work fueled by his passion for the flavoursome produce which is so plentiful on our islands, as well as his wish to create something wonderful: “I deeply believe in local produce and I want to be in contact with all the local farmers and fishermen. I want to act as a support system to help people be more innovative with their produce. In this way, we can create high-quality food. At the moment, I’m looking for a cheesemaker to work with so that we can collaborate on making a new product.”

Although Davide loves innovation, it is his firm belief that some things just shouldn’t be touched and that keeping things simple is the key to unforgettable cuisine: “The most memorable meal I ever had was in Tenerife and was literally an oyster served with a lychee vinegar. It’s been 5 years since that meal, but it left a huge impact on my memory. All it was made up of was two elements, yet it lit up my taste buds. I remember once being in the kitchen with Antonello Colonna and someone was blending fresh peas from the restaurant vegetable garden. When Colonna saw the destroyed peas, he threw a fit and said: “Why are you blending this magnificent vegetable when it’s so fresh? You need to work around your fresh ingredients, not ruin them to fit into your plan.” So, what else did he learn in all his years in the kitchen? “Well, from Colonna I learnt the importance of using fresh, local produce and how great things can taste when you keep your cooking uncomplicated and from Executive Chef James Dugan at ‘Mercante’ I learnt to coordinate and communicate effectively. It was he who taught me how to manage my time and other people. There’s a popular misconception that chefs are working around the clock and basically dying in the kitchen but if you manage yourself and your time well, it doesn’t have to be that way.” When speaking about the new Palazzo Parisio menu which is yet to be rolled out, his excitement is palpable as well as infectious: “Well, when it comes to me, I would say that people can expect local ingredients, always. This place has so much potential and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here and make things happen. The Baroness has given me a lot of freedom and as she is an excellent cook too, we are testing out a lot of things at the moment. She loves French cooking so just yesterday we were looking at the possibility of a Foie Gras Brûlée. Whatever we decide on in the end, you can be sure that everything we source is going to be fresh and delicious so watch this space.” Luna - Palazzo Pariso 29, Victory Square, In-Naxxar www.palazzoparisio.com

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 57


FOOD

58 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 59


T R AV E L

A C O U N T RY O F S TA R K C O N T R A S T S Words by Mari Aho & Teodor Reljić I Photography by Mari Aho

60 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


T R AV E L

Put simply, Colombia blew me away. Ahead of the trip, I approached this great country with a bundle of mixed perceptions: rumours of its inherent beauty did reach me, but of course the ghost of its violent past of drug wars and kidnappings (along with present-day cocaine tourism) does hang heavy too. Fortunately, any unpleasantness was dispelled like so many weak cobwebs upon my arrival to Medellín. Riding from the airport to the city one is instantly greeted by a rich and diverse natural landscape, soon morphing into fully developed large cities and charming towns. Although ‘developed’ feels like an understatement for Medellín, considering its giant leap in safety since the times of Pablo Escobar. Comuna 13, a slum made infamous by its record-breaking murder rate, is now a popular tourist site. The terrors of drug wars are gone but not forgotten, and a terrorist is exactly what Escobar is considered to have been by the vast majority of the locals. The public opinion is very much against drug tourism, both the kind where tourists come to sample the cheap cocaine as if they’re munching on a baguette in

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 61


62 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


T R AV E L

Paris or watching a spot of tango in Buenos Aires, and the kind where they partake in Pablo Escobar tours that the locals feel are glorifying this tyrant who traumatized many, dominated and ruined the reputation of the whole country Idolising Escobar is seen as being aking to poking an open wound, and something that only the ignorant and uneducated partake in. I would however recommend visiting Comuna 13 either by joining a free walking tour or just walking around by yourself. You’re likely to find it far too crammed with tourists, but it’s amazing transformation is worth noting. A big part of the problem was the isolation of the area due to the steep hills, so the infrastructure was improved with escalators that facilitate movement, especially when it comes to children heading to school. The government also provided free painting materials for residents, encouraging them to create street art that would beautify the area. The Metrocable is also considered to be another great measure that helps with mobility across different areas of the metropolis. The city is located in a valley and is surrounded by underdeveloped settlements on steep mountains. A cable line was specifically designed to provide the masses with access to nature. You can reach the tranquility of the mountains in Parque Arvi in no time by taking an incredibly scenic cable car ride across what feels like an infinity of terracotta tiles until they’re replaced by deep pine forests.

An easy trip from Medellín in Guatapé, a small town with a big monolith offering some of the most beautiful views of a puzzle of green and blue, created by a lake and its countless inlets and islands. Kayaking, paddle-boarding and boating are obvious choices of passing time here, as is laying by a pier interrupted only when your urge to plunge into the refreshing water grows too strong to resist. Take a walk through a Colombian fairy tale by wandering the streets and plazas in the town centre where everything is decorated in colourful bas-reliefs, making it all look like from pages of a storybook. Salento is another charmer of a small town, with a more authentic and bohemian vibe than Guatapé. It is incredibly picturesque, so much so that I shot some of my all-time favourite photos during just one golden hour of random urban wandering. A horse waiting outside a café while its owner sat inside, and other lively scenes were taking place behind every corner. Speaking of cafés, there are many that look like hipster heaven. The town is located on the lush mountains of Colombia’s coffee region. Visit some of the fincas (coffee farms) that offer tours and introductions to coffeemaking (and of course sampling), and enter a coffee nerd’s nirvana. Valle de Cocora can be found a short jeep ride away, showcasing a wax palm wonderland that looks like a surreal dreamscape. There grow the tallest palm trees in the world. Welcome to the land of giants.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 63


T R AV E L

Meanwhile, the Caribbean coast can be found up north. Cartagena is a city of dazzling contrasts; with the colourful, colonial old town and the modern, lavish Bocagrande characterised by high-rise buildings. It also has its hipster neighbourhood, Getsemani. Off the coast of Cartagena you’ll find islands Isla de Tierra Bomba with hip resorts and beach clubs, Baru with its easy-going, touristy Playa Blanca, and the paradisiac Islas del Rosario dotted in the crystalline sea of all shades of turquoise you can possibly dream of. The northernmost part of Colombia is in a desert surrounded by the Caribbean Sea: La Guajira peninsula. In Cabo de la Vela there are a few hostels along one and the same dirt road, and at least as many kite surfing schools. Life is simple here – a tourist can basically kite surf or lie on the beach. It’s primitive: the hostels barely have walls, and when then they do, you’re unlikely to find all for, all sturdy; it’s more of a sticks-in-the-sand kind of deal. I guess the wind is predictable enough here to make this a viable accommodation solution. Hammocks are the norm for sleeping. There’s no running water, so you shower with buckets. Electricity is often not available, Wi-fi or a mobile phone signal even less likely. You can spend a day doing a Jeep tour that takes you to a few different beaches and viewpoints in the area. Landscapes here have a minimalist beauty, the sun-drenched desert sands meeting the glistening sea. From Cabo de la Vela you can take an overnight Jeep tour to Punta Gallinas, the actual northernmost point of the South American continent. The tours depart when it’s still dark, and you’ll see the sun rise while riding through the desert. Then you’ll probably encounter a strange sight: children standing on both sides of the road, raising a rope to stop the car. They won’t let go until the driver gives them some cookies or money. These are Wayúu people, an indigenous group of the region. This happens several

64 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

times during the drive. Our driver told us that the children are sent there by their parents to beg. They must have been coming from somewhere very far away as there was nothing for miles and miles. There’s no shade, and the sun out there is scorching. The most disturbing part was that according to our driver some people don’t stop in front of the rope but just drive through, snapping the rope right out of the children’s hands, possibly leading to physical injury. Somewhat shaken by this, we arrived to Punta Gallinas, and after lunch boarded a Jeep again to explore the area. We picked up a couple of Wayúu boys at one of the stops who spent the rest of the day with us as we were driven around beaches, sand dunes and dusty plains, each view more beautiful than the last. This is a country of stark contrasts, harsh elements and great natural beauty. Its vibrant cities are welcoming to tourists and its wild parts luring to the adventurers. Its transformation is quite a success story, so I hope nobody will be deterred from discovering this diverse region now that they can safely be allowed to do so.


T R AV E L

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 65


EVENTS

#CLEANTHEOCEAN We talk to Mr Green's Communications Director Mr Rikardo Ronaldo, Mr Michael Lemmel Founder of ÖTILLÖ & Mr Jonathan Shaw from Swimrun Malta about the exciting #cleantheocean and Swimandrun event that you all can join. Please see the details below.

November 23rd for beach clean-up & November 24th for the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series 16:00 on

at Golden Sands beach.

Words by Anna Marie Galea I Powered by Mr Green

66 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


EVENTS

A few years ago, hardly anyone on the Maltese islands had heard of clean-up initiatives, let alone created them, however, slowly but surely, more and more people are coming forward with innovative new ideas about how to make a difference. EBM speaks to Mr Green Ltd Communications Director Mr Rikard Rinaldo about how what started as a small company initiative is set to be a strong driver for sustainable environmental change on the island. "Everyone agrees that Malta is a fantastic place to live," Rinaldo says full of enthusiasm about the subject. "However, because of the size of Malta, the negative impacts of a lot of people living here can be felt even more. The headquarters for our brand is right here on the island and so we feel like we have a huge responsibility to do our part to make Malta as clean and as beautiful as possible." Originally from "a small place in the woods in Sweden", Rinaldo highlights his appreciation for his fellow colleagues sharing a common wish to organise clean-ups, and in fact, Mr Green even have a volunteer programme to facilitate this: "We started with short, minor clean-ups because that way everyone could help and take part in some way or another. It was great to be out there having a positive effect. These clean-ups turned into a volunteer programme where every summer, Mr Green employees can sign up and join daily clean-up sessions all around the island on a boat rented by the company. Every Friday there would be smaller clean-ups organised. We felt this

connected well with our 360 degrees commitment to well-being which includes community engagement, diversity and inclusion, mental health, and fitness. In a way, it was a natural progression to go from what we were doing to finding the perfect partner who had shared ambitions with us. We managed to find this partner in the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series.” For those of you who aren't very sporty, swimrun is an adventure sport which sees people racing both overland as well as in the sea from island to island, and well, according to one of the founders of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series, Mr Michael Lemmel, this now renowned race all started as a harmless wager: "ÖTILLÖ started because of a drunken bet. My partner Mats Skott and I heard about it in the autumn of 2005 and were asked to make a commercial race out of it. The first race was held in the Stockholm Archipelago in September 2006." From these intriguing and somewhat humble beginnings, the race grew and grew: "Our ambition from the beginning was to create a race which would get world recognition. That said, we did not think it would be the start of something completely new. In 2012, we decided to push as hard as we could to create an innovative sport. Since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds. It truly is a fantastic experience to take part in." Indeed, as of the end of November (from 23rd – 24th November), Malta will be added as one of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series race's legs thereby

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 67


EVENTS

allowing locals the opportunity to take part through the race's organising body’s collaboration with Mr Green. The aforementioned clean-up will be happening the day before the race commences as well as during the event itself where one of the cardinal rules is that participants are not to leave anything behind while taking part. "Our aim has always been to make Malta as clean as possible," Rinaldo continues. "This race will help us to marry health and fitness with our ambition to show love and respect for the place many of us call home. The sport itself brings people together in a way which few events can because you do everything together. We do not only accomplish challenges, but we also collaborate as a team. The local support we have gotten has also been immense thanks to the collaboration with the local swimrun community. Supporting the ÖTILLÖ organisation in Malta, Mr Jonathan Shaw has been instrumental to making this happen. The magic of ÖTILLÖ is that there is something for everyone." The something for everyone Rinaldo is talking about is the fact that one can choose between taking part in the mammoth 40km race, a 15km race entitled “The Sprint”, or "The Experience" which covers a mere 5km. Shaw feels that this is part of what makes ÖTILLÖ so amazing: "ÖTILLÖ is great because of many different aspects. It not only gave us a new sports genre, but it did so in a very special way that places nature and the environment at the apex of sport which is a wonderful thing.

68 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

Having been asked to support the organisation of ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series in Malta, I’m looking forward to having a great series of races which deliver on participant expectation so that we can create amazing swimrun experiences for all those involved.” While the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series race is a feat in itself, Rinaldo is optimistic about what else can be achieved to help make our environment better: “We are always open to new suggestions and ideas, it's amazing what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. We invite everyone to participate and be part of the change.”


EVENTS

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 69


EVENTS

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER Words by Anna Marie Galea I Photography by Marin Babanov

70 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


EVENTS

Following a successful mini trade show event in 2018, Relax Gaming partnered with Ambassadör Events for the second year to showcase it’s growing roster of studio partners. The brief was to capitalize on 2018 and deliver a much larger scale event for 2019. Anna Marie Galea speaks to Debbie Cooper from Ambassadör Events about the collaboration and how the two companies delivered a knock-out event. "We were approached by Relax Gaming to help deliver a larger-scale version of their 2018 concept, which aimed to create industry visibility for all its studio partners. The theme centered around the releases of two great new boxing and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) slot games called ‘IT’S TIME!!’ and ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’. If the names sound familiar, it’s because they were created in collaboration with the famous Buffer Brothers, which caused quite a stir.” Relax Gaming were keen to give guests the ultimate fight

night experience and in order to do so, they wanted to create a whole boxing world from scratch: "We worked closely with the marketing team at Relax, who came up with the concept. The idea was to add value to attendees from both sides and embrace Relax’s approach to open collaboration between its partners. Between us, we actually turned the ballroom at the Westin Dragonara into a fully-fledged boxing ring with professional supplier stands around all sides. We brought in a professional boxing coach and hired incredible fighters. Even our fighters were chosen according to age, rank and weight and statistics. On the day, we had two bouts each of boxing and kickboxing, followed by four bouts of MMA matches and that was just the very tip of the iceberg." The event, which took four months to plan, didn’t just offer people the opportunity to enjoy the live action. It was also a chance for people to network and for Relax and their partners to showcase their games and what they can offer their clients.

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 71


EVENTS

"The fights actually took place two and a half hours into the event itself, when the atmosphere was right to move from a corporate vibe to one that was more focused on the entertainment. Everything, from the male and female fighters' boxing robes to the ring itself and screens, were branded with the fight night sponsors.” While events like this usually cater for smaller numbers, this particular one had ten times the usual amount which meant that the logistics were even more challenging than usual. “We had around 600 people actually attend in total, twice the previous year’s guestlist, and apart from the open bar we also had appropriate catering to really carry that stadium feeling through. We wanted everyone to feel immersed in the atmosphere, so we even had our Relax boxer at an Oculus Rift station giving attendees a virtual reality experience of a fight. Throughout the night, Relax had two tournaments where guests could win incredible prizes, which they then announced from the ring." As with any good event, attention wasn't just paid to the event itself, but a lot of detail was also put in when it came to the build-up to the day: "We helped Relax send out the invites in

72 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

June, in the form of giant cake to each office with the invite printed on top, and some fliers with the information. Usually, these kinds of events are reserved for top management, but Relax wanted everyone involved in the process to be part of this as a thank you for all their hard work. Something which made it extra special was the fact that the Buffer Brothers themselves recorded messages and videos for the big day which were projected onto a big screen." Speaking about the final outcome of the event, Debbie said, "The feedback Relax got from their clients was absolutely phenomenal. There was such an incredible turn out that it made all the more impactful. The vibe was amazing and people were delighted to stay all evening. After the fights themselves, we prepared for the closing party but the crowd stayed on, which is testament to the quality of the event - it was brilliant. It was a night to remember for everybody and I’m really looking forward to collaborating on the next one."


EVENTS

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 73


PEOPLE

QUEEN OF HE

74 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


EARTS

PEOPLE

Words by Anna Marie Galea

When you meet Ivonne Montealegre, her striking good looks turn out to be the least interesting thing about her. What truly stands out is her whip-smart intelligence and confidence that radiates. Similar to a box office drama, her story is one full of twists and turns, where the underdog (we are all rooting for), eventually comes out on top – a real-life David and Goliath tale. I sat down with her to learn about her journey and what is next on the horizon. 2020 is set to be a big year for Ivonne, it will mark the 10th year of her partnership with Portomaso Casino at the Hilton Malta, an association she is immensely proud of, which has withstood the test of time. “It is the only venue on the island that can provide a 5-star poker operation like the one we are dealing with” she says. The casino is the chosen venue for one of her latest success stories - The Malta Poker Festival which began last year and has since continued to grow in popularity.  The festival spans over 6 days in November, bringing together an array of nationalities from around the globe. Over the course of the festival, several poker tournaments are held, all leading up to the ‘Grand Event’ with a guaranteed prize pool of €500,000. During the first Malta Poker festival, together with Roland Boothby, she formed the idea for The Hendon Mob Championship - a coinciding live event during the festival (which after its inception, every tournament around the world wanted to add as a plug-in to their event). The festival’s creative organization has gained international recognition, Bluff Magazine coining it “The hottest poker festival in Europe”.  Ivonne places strong beliefs in the ethics of poker, an ideology which sets her poker tournaments apart from the rest. “We don’t sacrifice a good playing structure to get crazy numbers, we prefer to have a quality poker product. In the poker world there are tricks to make a price prize pool big, you have multiple re-entry which means that one player can enter 10 times during the day, we don’t do that – its real professional poker with one reentry per player per day. We could have been tempted to break records by tweaking and punishing the structures, but we don’t do that. Portomaso and I work together to bring a very ethical poker game.” The Malta Poker Festival is not the only thing on the cards for Ivonne, in May she started a new project called The Malta Poker Championships which she is planning to extend as a 2-week festival next year, not only improving the poker industry in Malta but developing the tourism industry too (an industry which has contributed over €1.2 billion to the island). “Since the beginning of poker when I started, I played tournaments here with 2 tables maximum, that was poker in Malta, but now the island has become one of the meccas of poker. There are a lot of ingredients here to make it really good, for example in such a small location as St. Julian’s you can find a lot of restaurants and hotels for a range of budgets. There are 5-star options and more budget-friendly options so poker professionals can come here and really earn their living, these festivals bring liquidity to the industry.”

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 75


PEOPLE

Originally from Costa Rica (an iGaming destination in itself) Ivonne was dealt a hand in the form of a job offer in Malta, which she took. Using her transatlantic experience, she has mastered the art of networking, a skill that is highly important in this industry, opening the door to many opportunities. It is due to these exceptional networking skills and her dedication to the sport that won her the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award during the 2018 edition of iGaming IDOL. The awards ceremony is held at InterContinental Arena celebrating and recognising professionals in the industry. “I was having a really bad time losing the brand I had created, and dealing with a lawsuit, so it was amazing positive news. It really lifted my spirits when I needed it the most and for that, I am grateful to the iGaming IDOL community, it was very needed as I was experiencing some troublesome times, once this happened a lot of other things aligned and started to change.”

The judgement was a victory, “I am very thankful to the Maltese judicial system. I was really worried at the beginning, I was worried the judge wouldn’t understand the technicalities of iGaming but the amazing Dr. Tony Abela really saw the intentions of freezing me as intentions of a big company trying to stop and intimidate an individual – it was a case of complete bullying. I am a normal individual, a working-class person in the system going against a powerful company.”

To understand more about these troublesome times, we have to rewind the story. Three years ago, the unfathomable happened, a play of power shook her world when a brand she had dedicated her career on building, was swept away from her in just 24 hours. The high-stakes moved from the poker table to real-life drama.

The Costa-Rican beauty has always been competitive, reminiscing how, as a child, she loved to participate in boys’ games. It gave her an extra kick when she was told she couldn’t do something because she was a girl, and then succeeded. And what is more male-oriented than poker? “I’m so grateful to have had experience from the founders of poker, it was an amazing experience for me to be present there at a time it was all starting, and especially being a woman in the industry was a very rare thing.” Ivonne has found a great support system with her female peers “the female poker friends I have made along the way are amazing and we stick together, it’s a really tight community because it’s such a male-dominated world that we women especially stick up for each other.” The female comradery Ivonne has experienced over the years came to fruition when she was appointed ‘International Affairs Director’ for the Women’s Poker Association, rewarding her tireless efforts to bring women’s equality to the poker tables.

Ivonne came to Malta from Latin America over a decade ago with a success story under her belt - the Punta Cana Poker Classic, a fruitful tournament in South America. After landing on the island, she put all her efforts into the creation of a huge tournament with a business partner. The brand gained momentum and became a huge success. In a turn of events, her business partner decided to sell the main company and in doing so, her project went along with the sale. As she was not a major shareholder, she had no say in the decision “even though I poured all my efforts into the project, 7 years of my life, it was taken away from me and given to the competitor in just 24 hours.” If that wasn’t bad enough, her (now ex) business partner decided to take legal action against her, citing a ‘non-compete clause’ - a clause in contract law where one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against another party. This was a blow for Ivonne, as the possibility of her losing this case would mean that she would be prevented from working in the field she cherished, “it wasn’t even about money, imagine not being able to do something that you love – it was the worst punishment I could get. For me poker is more than just a career, it’s my whole life passion.” During the court battle Ivonne felt destroyed, and the possibility of defeat was agonising. The courts froze her from working, networking and building another project, she was stuck in limbo awaiting the judgement. 76 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

Against all odds, Ivonne weathered the storm, and managed to continue her lifetime passion of poker. “Starting from scratch reminded me of how hard you have to work to build something.” A true lesson in humility, she learnt a lot from her experiences “the most important lesson is the journey, and not necessarily the destination.” The tough competition in this industry is something that she not only deals with, but champions.

With an all-In approach, many accolades to her name and experience dating back decades in the industry, Ivonne has successfully challenged the stereotypes in this maledominated career – building a poker empire in between raising her young family – her own Full House.


PEOPLE

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.� Albert Einstein

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 77


Exceptional Living

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY A stunning 2,371m2 detached villa with surrounding landscape areas which includes within its boundaries part of a natural rocky ridge. The villa is set across 3 floors, with an external staircase up to the roof garden open deck area, inclusive of pool with cascade, bar, dining area, BBQ area, chill-out areas and deck. Inside the villa you will find an entrance hall, various reception rooms, a large deluxe fitted kitchen with an open plan sitting and dining room, 4 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, gym, wine cellar, office, cinema room, large garage and a splendid drive in. This villa is truly a rare property in Malta.

• Total Rooms: 15 • Bedrooms: 4 • Bathrooms: 8 • Deluxe fitted kitchen • Three Floors • Large garage • Gym • Cinema Room • Large roof top terrace • Swimming Pool

I PRICE

SALE: €7.5 MILLION RENT: €18,000 PER MONTH Contact: Martin Pettersson at martin@ambassador-events.com or call +356 7995 9561 for more information.


FOOD

Friends who cook Words & Photography by Julia Boikova

I met Chris Diacono a while back, maybe 2-3 years ago. Here is how the story goes – I went on a date with a guy to Giuseppi’s, the place Chris co-owns and is front of house of, and my date introduced us! I never saw the date again, but Chris and I became friends ever since. We partied together more than cooked, in fact we never cooked together, although always planned to. We had this one idea that we have been talking about for at least 2 years. We discussed a recipe we could make together that eventually Chris made on his own, and I just watched, while occasionally taking photos of the process (well, I held the pasta making machine to the table at some point too!). Chris comes from a foodie family; his surname is well known in the restaurant industry and among food lovers in Malta. And if you haven’t heard of Nanna Rita, well – you can’t say you like to cook or eat for that matter! Chris originally studied hospitality in Switzerland and then worked in hotels in London, Barcelona and Florence. But his genes took over and he ended up buying Giuseppi’s in Salina Bay together with his uncle Michael, upon returning to Malta. He is not a chef by trade, but I have caught him in the kitchen of Giuseppi’s a few times, and the food on that night was amazing as always. Chris also treats me to some lovely home-cooked lunches and dinners every now and then. There is something incredibly attractive in watching someone cook with passion, adoration

and respect for food, as he does. Chris knows my tastes a little, and we discussed the recipes beforehand. I got to his place around 2-3 pm on that day and sat on the other side of the kitchen isle watching him cook, while every now and then taking some snaps. The recipe that we have been thinking of making for ages is prawn ravioli. It is an incredibly yummy dish that would not only make your day – but your week. Now writing this a while later it makes me sad that I am in the office alone and there is no prawn ravioli next to me. Of course, the starters should be mentioned first – the asparagus was just incredible, but the secret is of course in the aromatic sauce. When we ran out of asparagus, we ended up finishing the sauce leftovers with bread. Warning - don’t bite your fingers off when you run out of asparagus and bread. The arancini were too die for! I am a huge fan of risotto, so could be slightly biased here, I still think you can’t not love them. Last but not least, dessert. You know the dessert is amazing when you are not a dessert person but can’t stop eating it. And don’t forget to close your eyes while doing so! The day finished with bellies full of yummy food, good laughter and nostalgic smell of delicious food, that was long eaten by then. I strongly recommend you to try your kitchen luck with these recipes; it is something that will not only make you happy, but all your friends and family too. No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 79


FOOD

GRIDDLED GOZO ASPARAGUS WITH ‘NDUJA HOLLANDAISE & PANCETTA Serves 4 (Starter)

INGREDIENTS: 400g Gozitan Asparagus Pepper & Salt 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 250g unsalted butter 4 egg yolks 1 tsp. white wine vinegar 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice ‘nduja to taste 8 very thin slices of pancetta

Asparagus 1. 2. 3.

Hollandaise

1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

80 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

Heat olive oil in griddle pan. Griddle asparagus for 5 minutes, leaving al dente. Season with pepper & salt.

Melt butter in a saucepan and skim any white solids from the surface. Keep the butter warm. Put 2 egg yolks, ½ tsp white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a splash of ice-cold water in a metal or glass bowl that will fit over a small pan. Whisk for a few mins, then put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk continuously until pale and thick, about 3-5 mins. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter, bit by bit until it’s all incorporated and you have a creamy hollandaise. (If it gets too thick, add a splash of water.) Season with a squeeze of lemon juice and as much ‘nduja as you wish. Pour hollandaise over griddled asparagus and top with two slices per portion of the thin pancetta slices.


FOOD

ARANCINI SUGO NERO WITH PECORINO CREAM Serves 4 (Starter/ 2 Arancini Per Person)

INGREDIENTS: 350g Arborio rice 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 medium red onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 fresh Sicc (cuttlefish), ink sacks removed and reserved, cuttlefish cut into small cubes. 150ml white wine 1.2L fish stock 150g parmesan, grated Zest of one lemon 75g unsalted butter Pepper & salt Vegetable oil for Frying 150ml fresh cream 100g Pecorino FOR THE COATING: 150g plain flour 3 eggs, beaten 150g fine dried breadcrumbs

Risotto

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9. 10.

Heat olive oil in heavy based pan. dd onions & garlic and fry until translucent. A Add cuttlefish cubes and fry till cooked. Add rice and fry a little, seasoning with salt & pepper. Throw in white wine and allow to cook down. At this point add the fish stock, little by little, and constantly stirring keep cooking rice until al dente, always adding more stock as it gets absorbed. During this process you can add lemon zest and more seasoning as needed. Also add the ink from the cuttlefish, scraping out the black liquid and discarding the ‘sack’. Once rice is cooked add butter and parmesan cheese and stirred until you end up with a nice creamy consistency. Place rice in fridge to cool.

Arancini 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

eat vegetable oil for frying. H Separate the flour, eggs & breadcrumbs in three bowls near each other. Roll rice in the palms of your hands resulting in balls around the size of a lime. Roll each ball first in the flour, then the egg and finally breadcrumbs and set aside. Once oil is hot fry the arancini until a nice golden brown colour.

Pecorino Cream

1. 2. 3. 4.

ring frech cream to boiling point and reduce to as simmer. B Add finely grated pecorino to the cream. Keep simmering, constantly stirring, until sauce becomes nice and thick. Serve hot arancini over cream, sprinkled with some Maldon salt. No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 81


82 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FOOD

PRAWN & BURRATA RAVIOLI WITH GARLIC & CHERRY TOMATO Serves 4 (starter/4 ravioli per person)

Pasta

1.

2. 3.

4.

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack 4 of the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – the longer you knead the more gluten you will create, keep kneading until the dough becomes silky to look at. To knead: bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges.

Rolling

1.

2.

3. 4. 5.

Dust your work surface with some Tipo ‘00’ flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting - and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Keep rolling pasta through machine, reducing the setting each time, until you end up with a sheet (approx. 10cm wide) that is almost translucent but not thin enough that it will tear (about the thickness of a beer mat). Now to make the ravioli you can either use a cutter or shape by hand, I prefer preparing by hand, it gives a more rustic “malfatti” style result. I cut my ravioli into approx. 10/10cm squares. Brush edges with the yolk of the 5th egg.

Filling

1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Heat a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil. When hot add peeled prawns and simply sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove prawns. Cut each burrata into 8 pieces. Now to fill the ravioli: Place one prawn and one of the burrata pieces on each of the 10/10cm squares, season with some freshly ground pepper & Maldon sea salt. Fold over and press down the edges to make sure it is sealed well; any shape will do!

Finishing

1. 2. INGREDIENTS: 400g Tipo ‘00’ flour 5 eggs 16 peeled king prawns 2 large burrata 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 200g cherry tomatoes, halved 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped Fresh oregano Pepper & salt

3. 4. 5. 6.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling gently add the ravioli, boil until they begin to float, approx. 6 minutes. In a large heavy based frying pan heat the olive oil and add the garlic, fry until very lightly browned and throw in the cherry tomato halves. Keep frying and with the back of a wooden spoon squish the cherry tomatoes to release some of their juices. Season with some salt & pepper, you could also add some dried chilli at this point if you like heat. Add fresh oregano leaves. Once ravioli are cooked, add to the pan with a little of the boiling water and keep frying on a high heat until all is amalgamated well. No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 83


FOOD

FIG TARTE TATIN Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: Plain flour to dust 1 vanilla bean, scraped out 50g soft brown sugar 1 sheet puff pastry (I use the ready-made

Method • • •

Jus Roll)

1 tbsp. Armagnac 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 15g salted butter 6/8 fresh figs, depending on size, halved. A 15cm oven proof “tatin dish” or oven proof frying pan.

• • •

84 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

eat the oven to 180°C. H Cut the pasty into a round the size of the pan you will be using. Prick all over with a fork, then chill for 30 minutes. Put the tatin dish or frying pan over a medium heat and add the sugar, vanilla bean paste, armagnac and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Keep cooking for a further 5 minutes or until a golden caramel forms. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter, being careful not to split. T ightly pack the figs, cut-side down, into the dish/pan on top of the caramel. They will shrink slightly when cooked, so pack them in as tightly as possible. Lay the chilled pastry over the top of the fruit, then gently tuck it inside the rim of the pan around the figs. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge, separating the pastry from the pan. Cool for 2 minutes, then flip over onto a serving plate or chopping board. Serve hot with a good quality vanilla ice-cream.


Malta ‘20

29/30.09.2020 INTERCONTINENTAL ARENA MALTA igamingnext.com


T R AV E L

86 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


T R AV E L

Phuket T H E L U X U RY T R AV E L L E R ' S PA R A D I S E Words & Photography by Martin Pettersson

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 87


T R AV E L

Amanpuri

Paresa 88 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


T R AV E L

People often ask me why I go to Phuket? Many seem to believe that Phuket is a horrible place to visit due it being too touristy and grimy, from both people who have been there and even those who have never set foot. Nothing could be further from the truth. The first question you must ask yourself when travelling is, what do you want to get out of this trip? Let’s get one thing straight from the start, you don’t go to Phuket to experience the genuine Thailand. I first visited Phuket in 1992 and numerous things have happened since then. In fact, over 9 million people visit Phuket each year and it’s clearly become very touristic. Patong area is the worst but the further you get away from there the better it gets. So why should you visit Phuket then if it’s just a crowded tourist spot? In my opinion, the only point going to Phuket is to have a nice relaxed luxury holiday. If you understand this you will have an amazing time. Many people associate Phuket with Patong, the most popular area with cheap charter flight tourists and big crowds. What many don’t know is that Phuket has a long history of luxury resorts. For example the Aman Resorts hotel group, one of the most prestigious hotel groups in the world, opened their first property the Amanpuri in Phuket back in 1988. This was way before Phuket got touristic and commercialised. So if you just look outside Patong area you will find a vast selection of luxury hotels, amazing beaches and fantastic restaurants. Most of the properties are situated north from Patong along the beaches of Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao. Lately, hotels have started to pop up on the east and south coast as well since there is a high demand to stay as far away from Patong as possible. You have some of the big luxury hotel brands like Banyan Tree, COMO, Rosewood, Aman, Anantara and Six Senses. You will also find a lot of small luxury hotels like Paresa, Trisara, Andara, The Surin and Sri Panwa. Many of these hotels are very popular with local Thai as well, so it’s not only foreign visitors coming to Phuket.

Paresa

Amanpuri

Trisare No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 89


T R AV E L

When it comes to food, in my view, nothing is as versatile as the Thai kitchen, there are so many different dishes for you to try. If you eat Thai food in local places it’s extremely cheap and often also the best. Most of the luxury hotels have their own Thai restaurants as well but you are looking at 4-5 times the price, so you really pay a premium for the ambience and service given. For those that travel for a long time and get a bit fed up with Thai food, there are plenty of international restaurants around the island since tourists from all around the world visit Phuket. There are countless great beaches in Phuket and some of the luxury hotels even have their own private beaches. If you want to experience something less touristic there is a great beach called Mai Khao beach in the north of the island, which is part of a national park. Part of the beach is also close to the airport so you can watch all the planes land from a very close distance. Surrounding Phuket you will find lots of smaller islands and there are lots of boats available if you want to visit some of them. Travel options range from public ferries all the way up to superyachts since Phuket is a famous yacht destination. So to summarise Phuket: Don’t go there if you expect to see the real Thailand but it’s one of the better places in the world for a luxury vacation with great food and cocktails with a very reasonable price.

The Surin

Trisara

90 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


T R AV E L

Amari

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 91


FITNESS

GRID REV 92 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


FITNESS

VOLUTION No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 93


FITNESS

On Saturday 19th October, thousands descended on a small patch of unforgiving coastline tucked away in the corner of the Mediterranean to challenge and defeat The Grid, Malta’s premier Obstacle Course Race (OCR) and one of the brightest lights this burgeoning sport is forging on the Mediterranean sporting calendar. For the uninitiated, The Grid is a bi-annual event held over two courses, the recently held ‘Sprint’ event is a 6.5km all-terrain race, with over 40 obstacles, mud, walls, cliffs, climbs and mud pits to name but a few. The other, held in late spring, is a winding 13km course through the Pembroke coastline, notorious amongst those who have already taken on the challenge for a 7m ‘leap of faith’ from the cliffs into the sea below. For the organisers Mike Naudi, Omar Said and Ryan Calleja growth has been both significant and highly rewarding. From humble beginnings in 2015, participation has rocketed form a few hundred to thousands in the intervening years, owing in no small amount to its surprising accessibility and inclusivity. Whilst attracting some of the very top, professional talent around the world to compete in the Elite waves, the real success has been the thousands of mere mortals, of all shapes and sizes, of all ability levels, ages and backgrounds, who readily take on the challenge.

94 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11

The modus operandi for the guys in charge has always been to build a legacy event in Malta, gathering support along the way from key local sponsors and businesses to develop it into the community event it is today. An incredibly important caveat to this work is the money raised each event for local charities, in collaboration with headline sponsor The Stars Group. Simply, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s a strange anomaly of the human condition. Acknowledging a sweeping generalisation that this narrative affords, you’ve woken early, you’re dipped in cold water, you’ve scrambled up and over walls, you scaled obstacles and crawled through the dirt. You finish exhausted and you look disgusting, yet paradoxically feel the opposite. You feel energised, reinvented and most acutely, you’ve claimed a prize you can’t shortcut, cheat or buy. One of the most valuable commodities you can earn. Pride. Pride that you struggled, pride that you finished, pride that you buried the self-doubt. You’ve surprised yourself, this doesn’t happen very often, which begs the question. What else can I achieve?


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

NOV 01 31 JAN

Pierre Huyghe: Exomind (Deep Water)

(Art exhibition) Wied il-Luq Is-Siggiewi, Malta 1st November - 31st January 2020 09:00-15:00hrs

21

30

USE FROM BELOW by Ahmet Öğüt and Adelita Husni-Bey Curated by Sara Dolfi Agostini

(Exhibition) Blitz Valletta, 68 St Lucia Street, Valletta Free, 1st November - 30th November . Tuesday – Friday, 14:30–18:30hrs . Saturday 10:00–13:00hrs . Sunday, Monday, public holidays – closed thisisblitz.com

01 04 DEC

22 06 DEC

The Malta International Organ Festival St. Paul's Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Valletta 22nd November - 06th December 19:30hrs €15 | €20 www.maltainternationalorganfestival.com

23

CORPUS ADFLICTUM Solo Show by Aaron Bezzina Curated by Ann Laenen & Stefan Kolgen (exhibition) Valletta Contemporary 15, 16, 17, Triq Lvant (East Street), Valletta. Free, 1st November - 4th December . Tuesday to Friday, 11:30 - 19:00hrs . Saturday 11:30-17:30hrs . Sunday & Monday Closed

(Networking event) Casino Maltese, Republic Street, Valletta 21st November, 09:00-14:00hrs €35 www.shemalta.com

www.facebook.com/MICASMALTA/

01

SHE End-of-Year

Met Opera Live on screen: Akhnaten (Philip Glass) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta 23rd November, 18:55hrs €18 www.kreattivita.org

27 29

Sigma 19 MFCC Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre Millenium Stand, Level 1 National Stadium, Ta' Qali 27th November - 29th November €49 | €159 www.sigma.com.mt

www.vallettacontemporary.com

08 08 DEC

A State of Limbo Artist: James Micallef Grimaud Curator: Rachel Formosa

(exhibition, visual arts) Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta Free, 8th November - 8th December . Monday 9:00 – 17:00pm; . Tuesday – Friday 9:00 – 21:00hrs; . Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 21:00hrs www.kreattivita.org

15 17

42ND STREET

20 DEC

Bolshoi Encore: Le Corsaire

(Ballet on screen) Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta 17th November - 16:00hrs €15 www.kreattivita.org

Vitori by Cirque du Soleil Mediterranean Conference Centre, Triq l-Isptar, Valletta 27th November - 20th December, 20:00hrs €37 | €80 | €162 www.maltashows.com

29 05 JA N

(Broadway show on screen) Eden Cinemas, St. George's Bay, St. Julians 15th November - 17th November, 20:40, 16:15hrs €15 | €18 www.edencinemas.com.mt

17

27

THE KOLAZ – Ktiro Collection / Buildings In Time. Artist: Damian Darmanin (exhibition, visual arts) Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta Free, 29th November - 5th January . Monday 9am – 5pm; . Tuesday – Friday 9am – 9pm; . Saturday – Sunday 10am – 9pm www.kreattivita.org

29 30

Music of Tonight. A Viennese Varieté

(Classic music concert) Malta Society of Arts at Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta 29th November - 30th November 20:00hrs €20 | €25 www.ticketline.com.mt

96 - EBM MAGAZINE - No 11


DEC 06

Rembrandt (Exhibition on Screen) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta, 06th December, 19:30hrs €7

28

Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta 28th December at 18:00hrs €12

www.kreattivita.org

08

Met Opera Encore on screen: Manon (Massenet) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta,, 08th December, 14:30hrs €15

The Pleyel Sextet plays Chopin and Vuković (Classic music concert) Teatru Manoel, Valletta 08th December, 17:00hrs €10 | €23

15

COPPÉLIA

(Ballet on screen) Eden Cinemas, St. George's Bay, St. Julians 10th December - 15th December, 16:00, 20:15hrs €15 | €18

31st December, 21:00 - 03:00hrs €30 | €40

First Ever Ice Show In Malta Jester's Wedding Independence Ground, Floriana, Malta 13th December, 19:00hrs €15 | €80 www.showshappening.com

15 26

JAN

09 FE B

Ding Li: Hidden by Sealing Curated by Wang Chunchen

(exhibition, visual arts) Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta Free - 20th December - 09th February 2020 . Monday 09:00 – 17:00hrs; . Tuesday – Friday 09:00 – 21:00hrs; . Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 21:00hrs www.kreattivita.org

28

EBM Masquerade Palazzo Parisio 28th March at 19:00hrs www.showshappeningcom

03

Van Gogh and Japan

(Exhibition on Screen) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta, 03rd January at 19:30hrs €7 www.kreattivita.org

10 25

Valletta International Baroque Festival 2020 Varuous Venue 10th January - 25th January €8 | €15 | €20 | €25 | €30 www.teatrumanoel.com.mt

11

Met Opera Live on screen: Wozzeck (Berg) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta, 11th January, 18:55hrs €8,

www.kreattivita.org

20

(Ballet on screen) Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta, 26th January at 16:00hrs €18

MAR

www.showshappening.com

Bolshoi Encore: The Nutcracker (Ballet on screen) Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta 15th December - 26th December 16:00, 18:00hrs €15

Bolshoi Live: Giselle

www.kreattivita.org

www.facebook.com

www.edencinemas.com.mt

13

26

Intercontinental Arena, St Julian's 31st December, 21:00 - 03:00hrs €80 | €150

www.teatrumanoel.com.mt

10

www.kreattivita.org

Brass New Year's Eve 3 1 Versatile Gala 2020

NYE 1920 3 1 EBM Marriott Hotel, Ballutta

Royal Shakespeare Company on screen: Timon of Atens Spazju Kreattiv Castille Place, Valletta, 22nd January at 19:30hrs €12

www.kreattivita.org

www.kreattivita.org

08

22

The King and I : from the London Palladium (Musical on screen)

www.kreattivita.org

16 19

The sleeping beauty

(Ballet on screen) Eden Cinemas, St. George's Bay, St. Julians 16th January - 19th January, 16:50, 20:15hrs €15 | €18 www.edencinemas.com.mt

17 19

Lucian Freud: A self protrait

(Art on screen) Eden Cinemas, St. George's Bay, St. Julians 17th January - 19th January, 14:00, 20:30hrs €10 | €12 www.edencinemas.com.mt

No 11 - EBM MAGAZINE - 97


the Ballroom, Malta Marriott hotel & spa, Balluta Bay. 31st December. doors open 9pm.

tickets available from showshappening.

Profile for EBM Magazine

EBM Magazine #11  

EBM Magazine #11  

Advertisement