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ISSUE No: 11

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June 2018

A S U M M E R D E G U S T A T I O N

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GOZO

Beauty close to home


Editorial ISSUE No: 11

d elicious

Food For

June 2018

Thought

A S U M M E R D E G U S T A T I O N

S

ummer is back and together with it an abundance of colourful fruit and vegetables. This is not to mention the vast selection of fish available during

this time of the year. The smell of BBQs coming

Printing & Publishing: Union Print Co. Ltd, A41, Marsa industrial Estate, Marsa, MRS 3000 +356 25900200

Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life. Anthony Bourdain

from roofs, gardens and beaches remind us that this is a time for various meat cuts rubbed or marinated with herbs and spices. No meal would serve its purpose without some chilled beer or wine. For those on a non altoholic diet, lemonades and slushes are at its best. The beauty of summer could not be seen from better eyes than those of local talent in the food industry and giants in the international culinary

Editor: Omar Vella delicious@unionprint.com.mt

world such as Albert Adria, the Can Roca

Design: Ryan Bezzina design@unionprint.com.mt

and Chantel Dartnall. Each chef shares with us

Front image: Courtesy of elBarri www.elbarriadria.com Photography by Moises Torne Photos: We thank all contributers for providing photos and images. Other photos taken by Alan Saliba. Recipes: We thank all contributers for the recipes provided Advertising: info@unionprint.com.mt +356 2590 0200

brothers, Andoni Luis Aduriz, Agustin Balbi, Kirsten Tibballs, Christophe Michalak, Ana Ros the way summer fits into their kitchen and what it brings to the table. This magazine is distributed for free with it-Torรงa. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form without the prior consent of Union Print Co. Ltd. While we make every effort to make sure that the content of Delicious is correct, we cannot take any responsibility nor be held accountable for any factual errors printed.

Sadly summer does not only give yet also takes. Some days ago, Anthony Bourdain left this world to start a new journey. Notwithstanding we will miss his legendary work and speeches, his legacy will never fade away. He was indeed a rare herb we will miss so much. His taste, flavour and fragrance will be deeply missed. RIP Anthony Bourdain. We wish you all a pleasant read.

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d elicious Agustin Balbi

08 12 16 20 36 39 42

Chistophe Michalak

& Pastry Chef Jordi Roca

46 52 64 66 72 84 90 94 98 104 106 110 116 120 124 126 130 140

Andoni Luis Aduriz

Martin Carabott Chantel Dartnall Malcolm Bartolo Tiziano Cassar Chef Joan Roca, Sommelier Josep Roca

Ana RoĹĄ Maria Sammut Nick Bril Kirsten Tibballs Steve Vella Albert Adria Katia Caruana David Darmanin Ryan Gialanze

ex

Stefan Hogan

Carlos Buttigieg Luca Selvaggi & Bjorn Attard Micah Melton

ind

04

Mark McBride Horace Micallef Trevor Portelli Shawn Borg Reno Spiteri

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Haku Connection

The Interview with

Agustin

Balbi Executive Chef at Haku, Hong Kong

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ith a wealth of experience in both Western and Asian cuisines, Chef Balbi has conquered Hong Kong with his exciting new culinary concept, where creativity and freedom take their toll with the use of premium ingredients. Haku is the epitome of his journey to the roots of Japanese food culture. Every dish served is innovative, bold and creates a perfect marriage between Japanese flavours and his Argentinean food connection. Above all, every dish conveys his perspective of food without cultural restrictions or rules. Chef Balbi shared with us his passion for Japanese food culture and the concept behind Haku.

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The difference between what you are and what you want to be is what you do

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Agustin Balbi Your gastronomic journey has spanned the globe, with experience in the West and the East, and both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. How has such exposure helped you develop your culinary identity? It helped me in many ways as different regions and countries expose you to new tastes and flavours. Learning different types of cuisines and how they fit into other cultures expands your food perspective in many ways. I constantly seek to evolve professionally so as to develop further my approach towards food. How do your Italo-Argentinian roots spell out in your work? My childhood food memories form the basis of my approach in the kitchen. It is present in every plate I prepare. By time though, my approach has evolved thanks to my exposure to other food cultures across the globe. At a certain point in your career you decided to spend some time training in Japan. Why? It is the goal of many prospective Argentinean chefs to travel and work in Europe. However I had a different plan for my culinary route and opted to work in the United States. Whilst working in the United States, I was given the opportunity for a stage at a restaurant that applied French techniques together with influences from Japanese cuisine. That experience increased my interest in Japanese cuisine which encouraged me to move to Japan to keep on learning and immerse myself in its culture and amazing cuisine. In 2015 you were selected as one of the top 10 Japan San Pellegrino Young Chef (under 30). What has such an achievement meant to you? It meant a lot to be chosen in that selection and being the only foreigner was a major feat. The experience helped me develop further my culinary career. Haku has often been described as a place to hide from the impossiblybright lights and noise of the other dining options. What is so special about Haku’s atmosphere? It is described that way because we are inside Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall. It is also famous for its incredible location which offers breathtaking views of Hong Kong. Haku is intentionally in a corner with a discrete doorway which makes it easily to miss out. The place is a refuge, a place to hide from the impossibly-bright lights and noise of the other dining options. The outlet stresses on the quality of the ingredients selected and on the detail in every dish prepared.

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A

Pastry Superhero

Interview with

Chistophe

Michalak Celebrity Pastry Chef at the 3-starred Plaza AthĂŠnĂŠe, Paris

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B

ob Kennedy once stated that “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” There is no better quote to define the style and philosophy of celebrity chef Christophe Michalak. Christophe is a dreamer with an obsession to constantly create highly original and extremely creative pastries and cakes. I recently read that he changes his recipes daily so that a client could, theoretically, come in regularly and never eat the same thing twice. His ultimate goal is to catch that priceless glimpse of sheer pleasure in the eyes of his clients. Chef Michalak took us through his impressive culinary career and shared with us the secret behind his desirable sweets such as the Religieuse au Caramel Beurre Salé, the Peach Melba Macarons or the famous Marshmallow Love Bears. Credit: ©Delphine Michalak

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Chistophe michalak

How did your journey in the world of pastry take off? I think everything changed when I won the World Pastry Cup. The medialization reached its height at this moment. It was when I started to communicate a lot about my work. I read you are obsessed with comic books and super heroes. Who is your favourite super hero?  It is difficult to answer… I love them all! However if I had to choose just one, maybe it is Captain America. I really appreciate his honesty and his benevolence. You often stress on the fact that your job creates emotions. Can you elaborate?  In Paris, there are many excellent pastry chefs so there is a lot of competition. My goal is to create intense emotions with textures and tastes but especially to be coherent. I am an entrepreneur without partner so I progress at my own pace. I have to be careful. How would you define your style in three words?  Elegant…Balanced…Emotional I read you hate “everything that is very creamy, mousse-y or gelatinous”. Why?  There are two reasons for this. First of all, I definitely prefer crunchy textures to creamy ones and the second

is because the more I use gelatine, the more I mask the flavour of ingredients and I do not like that. In a recent interview you emphasised on your mission to make pastries, cakes and desserts that are more accessible, less fattening and less sweet than the classic French “haute pâtisserie“. Why are you pushing this new approach?  I move with the time. I want to eat better with products that are good for my body but also good for my taste buds. I have stopped using pork gelatin and non-natural food colourings. Most of my cakes are made without wheat flour and I removed 20% of sugar.  What does summer mean to you?  Summer is synonymous with family holidays, sun and of course… ice cream, which is one of my favourite sweet treats! Which ingredient do you associate with this time of the year?  I am currently working on a tart with gianduja, coffee and licorice as main ingredients. A word of advice to amateur pastry chefs?  My word of advice is to work with your heart, do not count your hours and enjoy!

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A

Touch

Class of

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Interview with Chef

Stefan

Hogan Executive Head Chef at Corinthia Palace Hotel

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talent isn’t something you can learn: you either have it or you don’t. It’s a mix of creative flair, unpredictability, determination, luck and serendipity which, in the culinary industry are the fundamental ingredients for a master in the kitchen. Chef Stefan Hogan has certainly got that unique talent, as amply demonstrated in his achievements during his impressive career. Chef Hogan took us through his career and shared with us his views on the food industry.

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Stefan Hogan

Who was your major source of inspiration? As a young cook I vividly recall a program featuring Marco Pierre White and I was hooked on his burning passion that borders on obsession to consistently deliver quality dishes where the ingredients are treated with respect, the food is thought out from an aesthetic perspective and that you must taste everything. There are many other chefs that continue to inspire and motivate me but for my generation of chefs, Marco's driving vision was the start of a shift in perception of cooking. How would you describe your personal style of cooking? My cooking style is constantly evolving as new techniques and technology make cooking interesting. I am a strong believer in fresh quality ingredients, support local and champion artisan products and that as a chef, I must do them justice by ensuring the natural taste is highlighted and accentuated. What three words would best define your management approach in the kitchen? Disciplined, committed and focused. In what way does summer exalt your style of cooking? Summer is a season of abundance and a season that offers up the quintessentially Mediterranean tastes with olives, olive oils, tomatoes, aubergines, seafood and fish. This beautiful fresh produce is best highlighted by simple cooking techniques to highlight the natural flavours. What ingredient do you most look for during this time of the year? I love the vibrant colours of the spring/summer basket with beans, asparagus, artichokes, basil, mint, melon, watermelon and tomatoes specially the locally grown. Any projects in the pipeline? We have just installed a wood burning oven in The Summer Kitchen and we are looking forward to trying it out for some slow cooking overnight recipes.

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Attard & Co. Food Ltd Tel: 21 237555 facebook.com/attardcofood


Interview with

Martin Carabott T Senior Sous Chef at Hide, London

he local culinary industry can boast another jewel in its crown. Chef Martin Carabott is one of the best talents the local food industry has produced in recent years. Notwithstanding his young age, his curriculum is impressive and includes working in the kitchens of leading eateries such as the Gleneagles, Apsleys and the Royal Automobile Club. Martin is sharp, bold and is blessed with

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a unique creative approach which is visible in every plate he prepares. What strikes you most when you come across Martin is his determination and hunger to succeed. He has recently added another feather to his hat by winning the 2018 Roux Scholarship. Martin took some time off his very busy agenda to share with us his philosophy, his achievements and his plans for the future.


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You had the opportunity to work in several leading food outlets including the Gleneagles, Apsleys and the Royal Automobile Club. How have such experiences helped you develop your own professional career? It helped me massively as it would have helped any other chef. I gradually started to build up culinary skills by working with other talented chefs. In fact it is an ongoing process as one will always acquire new skills. It also gave me the opportunity to try out new flavours and dishes and also helped me to find the style of food that defines me the most.

Rummo Lenta Lavorazione is the only pasta to be approved by the Italian Cooks Federation.

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In a recent interview you noted that success in the food industry relies on one’s ability to be disciplined and focused. Can you elaborate further? Yes, you have to be disciplined and focused in whatever you do as what people see on TV and social media is just the tip of the iceberg. Every good chef and other successful professional managed to succeed by working really hard, when no one is watching, putting in many labour hours. You can quickly tell which chefs have become chefs the fast way, by just having seen someone with tweezers on YouTube but then struggle when preparing basic classic recipes. If you work hard at something, you will naturally become good at it.

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How would you define your style of cooking? I always struggle with these kinds of questions. I try to aim for delicious, European, substance over style and up to date cooking. How do your Maltese roots fit into your kitchen? Coincidentally in the semi-final of the Roux Scholarship, I used tomato paste from Gozo and capers which I personally picked last year from St. Paul’s Bay. In fact, the style of the dish had Maltese flavours, something which I’ve never done before. The more confident I get in the kitchen, the more I cook using flavours that got me in the kitchen in the first place, so I guess my Maltese roots remind me to keep it real.

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martin carabott

Why is foreign exposure so important for local chefs? Well a lot of guests in Maltese restaurants are tourists from abroad especially in the peak season so it helps being recognized as a country where you can go out for a nice meal. On this I have to say that the dining scene in Malta is getting better and better each time I visit thanks to the many talented chefs on the island and hopefully foreign exposure helps in letting it grow more. Hopefully we can get more Maltese going to restaurants as well, something which has also been improving. You recently accepted to join one of London’s best British chefs, Ollie Dabbous at 85 Piccadilly. What encouraged you to opt for such a move? What really attracted me to it is the variety of things being done and the food style which is quite different to things I have done previously, and there is a lot to see and learn. The restaurant’s name which has now been released is called Hide Restaurant. Going back to the second question, it is my way of going in the deep end to learn more. Tell us about your journey which led you to the victory of the 2018 Roux Scholarship. It started when I entered and got through two years

ago. I tried to enjoy it as it really does test you as a chef and I said that I’ll keep entering the Roux Scholarship whilst I can so I kept trying to get better and better in my work. How do you express summer in your dishes? Summer brings a lot of fresh ingredients such as strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peas so dishes would be based around those ingredients. Which ingredients are always handy in your kitchen during this time of the year? Everywhere I worked, one could always find boxes of fresh peas, strawberries and asparagus during this time of the year and also lobster. What is next on your agenda? Now I’m completely focused on the opening of Hide as it will be one of, if not the biggest restaurant opening, in London this year and it comes with a lot of expectation so along with the rest of the chefs here, we have our work cut out. I am also getting married in June and planning the 3 month stage in a 3 Michelin star restaurant around the world that comes with the Roux Scholarship. So I guess I won’t be doing much!!

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Nature is Served Interview with

Chantel

Dartnall Chef Patron of Restaurant Mosaic, South Africa

T

here is something magical in every plate presented by Chef Chantal Dartnall. Each plate is an interpretation of nature at its best and of her famous innovative Botanical Cuisine. Every plate brings people into contact with nature through the ingredients she chooses and the way she creates her dishes. Her unique approach to cooking has earned her Restaurant Mosaic a reputation as one of South Africa’s top tables. Moreover, she has also been recently awarded the title of the best Lady Chef in the World at the international 2017 Best Chef Awards in Warsaw in Poland. We recently had the opportunity to discuss with Chef Dartnall her passion for food and her definition of Botanical Cuisine. She also shared with us her achievements in the culinary industry and what to expect when dining at her Restaurant Mosaic.

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Credits: Dylan Swart

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Give me a run down on your culinary journey. How did it start? Where did you study? Your career up until now? After graduating from the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy, acclaimed UK chef Nico Ladenis offered me a position in the kitchen of his three-star Michelin restaurant, Chez Nico at 90 Park Lane, in London which was a huge break for me. When I began working in London I was fresh out of college. I had worked in some wonderful kitchens in South Africa during my practical placement such as Ellerman House with Chef Craig McCormack and then Ile de France with Chef Marc Guebert. I was very excited to begin working with Ladenis and thereafter with Chef Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park. Our working hours were intense but it taught me about stamina, dedication and perseverance. The most important lesson I learned, not only in London but also from the local chefs that I trained under, was in regard to consistency. The saying that you are only as good as the last plate you send out of the kitchen was drilled into us at every service in every kitchen I have ever worked in. Nothing except “perfection” was allowed to go out of the kitchen. They were all incredible learning experiences. Then to be able to open Restaurant Mosaic, 11 years ago and build up its reputation on both a local and international stage was a dream come true. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to work and collaborate with some of the world’s top chefs. Tell me about Restaurant Mosaic. When did it open? What is the cuisine style? Who is your typical customer? Your team? My home (and Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient) is situated in the beautiful Francolin Conservancy with its abundance of wildlife, birds and indigenous plants. This was my playground where I could experiment and explore. On my return from London it seemed only natural for me to open the restaurant of my dreams in an environment that is so close to my heart and we opened our doors in 2006. I was also blessed in that my parents have always supported my passion and helped make my dreams become a reality.

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We are open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday and for dinner on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I am always in charge of the kitchen and in attendance to meet guests when the restaurant is open. My style of food is passionate, feminine and botanical. I have always been inspired by the father of botanical cooking Michel Bras. His restaurant is on the top of the Aubrac plateau in Laguiole France, about four hours from Paris in the middle of nowhere. You get there by driving along long, winding roads in the country side. One salad has 29 different vegetables. You can feel you’re starting to glow with health after eating it! I am not sure that we have a “typical” customer except to say that most of our regulars are as passionate about food as I am and love the whole food and wine experience. Restaurant Mosaic also boasts one of the most comprehensive and lauded wine cellars in Africa, comprising of more than 75,000 bottles of wine under 5,500 different local and international labels and so each course is paired with what the team believes is the perfect wine to enhance the dish. For the teetotallers, we put as much thought into the non-alcoholic pairing with drinks specially chosen to complement the meal. My team and I are like a close-knit family many of who have been here since we first opened. I could not have achieved what I have without them. I am proud of how Restaurant Mosaic has matured, mentored and grown its staff in the decade the restaurant has been in operation. It is all about passing the passion and the knowledge forward. Where do you find your inspiration for your beautiful dishes? I am inspired by the setting of Restaurant Mosaic which is situated in the Francolin Conservancy with an abundance of wildlife, birds and indigenous plants. I am passionate about using organic and seasonal produce and endeavour to render “nature on a plate”.


CHANTEL DARTNALL How does it feel ranking as the top female chef Best Chef Awards top 100 list for 2017? After a frenetic end-of-year service I had to go away, unwind and really let it sink in. For a long time, it felt slightly surreal. Which other awards have you won? Restaurant Mosaic has been fortunate enough to win a host of culinary and wine awards. In 2017 I was also named 2017 Chef of the Year for Africa and the Middle East by the Luxury Travel Guide Awards which recognize and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the affluent travel and tourism industry in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East. At the 2017 Eat Out Awards, we won the Service Excellence Award, the Wine Service Award – for sommelier Moses Magwaza – and claimed second spot in the top 10 Best Restaurants of South Africa. I was named South African Chef of the Year by Eat Out in 2009 and again in 2015.

Tell me about the Best Chef Awards. What is the selection process like? I was honoured to be named the world’s Best Female Chef at The Best Chef Awards 2017, which took place in Warsaw in October, 2017. I was also placed at number 32 in the Best Chef Awards Top 100 list for 2017. I was also the only South African chef listed in the top 100. Launched in Poland in 2016, this international competition seeks out the world’s top chefs in terms of culinary artistry and visual presentation. The winning chefs are selected in six categories by 300 voters comprising chefs, food writers and culinary experts across the globe as well as 1.5 million followers on the competition’s digital platform. What did it mean to you being nominated for and then winning the Best Chef Lady at this year’s Best Chef Awards? I didn’t have a clue that I would win. It was just a privilege to have been nominated with people that I have looked up to and admired from afar. I attended the ceremony because I would get to meet some of these giants.

This award has obviously put you on the map. What has the response been like? Is it more difficult to get a table at your restaurant? Of course, there is pressure. There’s been a lot of international attention since I have been put in the same category as these major Michelin starred chefs. But those who have followed Mosaic since we opened 11 years ago know that I have never stood still when it comes to creating dishes so it will continue to be an evolution for us. We have the benchmark where we are now and we always push ourselves to be better and to produce a menu that will please both the eye and the palate. We had to open on extra days to accommodate people who wanted to visit Restaurant Mosaic after our win so we have been very blessed. Where to from here? I am delighted with the recognition my team and I have received. As far as the restaurant goes, I want to keep on growing in culinary terms and exploring all facets of food. It is all about passion. I put my heart and soul into every dish I create, but I am also happy to say that I am having a lot of fun working on my cookbook.  

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CHANTEL DARTNALL

Alchemist’s

Infusion W

est Coast Rock Lobster, Hibiscus Consommé, Heirloom Vegetables. Heirloom vegetables

are a gardener’s inheritance, handed down to him by his family. They have been selected and saved over hundreds of years, and offer some of the best tasting and best yielding varieties. The diversity of colours, flavours and textures in heirloom vegetables certainly add variety to my menu. The colourful hibiscus flower is cultivated worldwide for both its aesthetic appeal and its medicinal uses, which are primarily in the form of tea. Even though, for many of us, the beautiful hibiscus flower brings to mind visions of the Hawaiian Islands, the hibiscus plant is actually native to Africa. Hibiscus tea is made from the dried, vibrantly coloured calyces of the hibiscus flower and has an exotic and tart flavour. This dish consist of a beautiful and aromatic vegetable consommé that will reinfuse through hibiscus tea and other aromatics, which include Angelica - our small tribute to Hungarian winemaker Angelika Árvay whose wine we have selected to accompany this dish. Guests will be allowed to participate in the cooking process, as the infusion will be done at your table. The warm vegetable tea mixture will be served over West Coast Rock Lobster cut into medallions that will gently cook when it comes into contact with the heat from the consommé. For our Vegetarian guests this dish will be served with Saffron.

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The Salt Challenge Trio of Tuna

Ingredients:

Robert Cassar

Fresh local tuna Oranges Carrots Sesame seeds Honey Lemon Juice Soy sauce Teriyaki Dill Butter

METHOD: ■ Tuna tartare: Cut tuna in

small cubes and marinate in lemon juice, soy sauce, teriyaki and dill. Season to one’s taste. ■ In a hot pan cook sesame seeds in honey and when they start to boil remove from heat and roll the tuna tartar until all covered. ■ For the tuna: Cook in a hot grill for a few minutes on each side.

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■ Carrot purée: Clean and cut

carrots in small cubes and cook in pan in some butter until carrots are soft from the inside. When ready blend in some cream and season. ■ For the cured tuna: Cut with a rounded cutter. Cure in sugar and salt, lemon and orange zest and some star anise. Leave in mixture for 20 minutes and wash. ■ Plate according to your tastes.


Stuffed Sea Bream Carl Zahra

Ingredients:

METHOD:

1 deboned Sea bream

■ Make sure to remove the gills and

■ Stuff the fish with filling and close

clean well the deboned sea bream especially the stomach area. Cut fish excess especially fins and tail.

the it well. Drizzle sea bream with olive oil and wrap in a sheet of baking paper. Tie both ends with twine.

1 deseeded Tomato cut in cubes 1 Red pepper cut in cubes 1 Oyster mushroom cut in strips 1 Onion cut in cubes 1 Swiss chard cut in strips 2 spoons Mascarpone 1 clove of Garlic crushed and finely chopped A spoon of Capers A bunch of roughly chopped Mint Olive oil A pinch of Salt and Pepper

■ Garnish the inside of fish with ol-

ive oil, salt and pepper. ■ Place all ingredients in a bowl,

add mascarpone and a drizzle of olive oil. Wash hands thoroughly and blend all ingredients together with your hands. Add salt and pepper according to taste.

■ Place fish in a dish and add a little

bit of water before placing in the oven. Cook the fish at 200˚C for 25 minutes. ■ Serve together with a fresh sea-

sonal salad.

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Sayadieh Hany Harb

Ingredients:

2 kg Red mullet fish 3 cups Long grain rice, rinsed and drained 3 large Onions 3 tablespoons Olive oil /4 cup Vegetable oil

3

/2 cup raw Pine nuts

1

/2 cups Almonds

1

/2 teaspoon Turmeric

1

1 teaspoon Cumin 1 teaspoon Caraway /4 teaspoon Cinnamon

1

2 teaspoons Salt

METHOD: ■ In a pan, fry the almonds and pine nuts in 3

■ Fry the onions, in the reserved oil in the pan, until

tablespoons vegetable oil until they turn light brown. Remove from pan and set aside on a kitchen absorbent paper. Reserve the pan for frying the fish.

crispy and brown in colour. Remove 3 tablespoons of the fried onions and keep aside for the garnish.

■ Rub the inside and outside of the fish with some salt

and olive oil. ■ Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan and fry

the fish until tender. Turn off the heat. ■ Remove the fish from the pan and keep the oil in

the pan.

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■ Add the fish head, the spices, and 4 cups of hot water

to the fried onions in the pan. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat or until the onions become very soft. ■ Remove the fish head. Bring the sauce to a boil then

add the rice. Cover the pan and cook the rice over low heat for 25 minutes. Add more hot water if needed and taste to see if more salt and seasoning is needed. The rice is cooked when all water has evaporated.

■ Peel the skin off, and remove the bones and head.

■ Put the rice in a serving plate. Place the fried fish

Discard the bones and keep the head. Cut the fish flesh into big serving pieces and set aside.

pieces on top and sprinkle with the fried onions, pine nuts and almonds. Serve immediately.

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Mackerel Damian Ciappara

Beetroot 2 large Beetroots - 100 ml Olive oil 2 tbsp Chardonnay vinegar (or any other white wine vinegar) 2 tbsp Honey - 1 tbsp Caster sugar 1 tsp Thyme

into segments and add to the celery along with the pine nuts and parsley. Mackerel 4 whole Mackerel (8 fillets) Olive oil - Salt and Pepper English mustard

■ Slice beetroots very thinly using a

mandolin. Using a round pastry cutter cut the beetroot slices to get small discs. ■ For the marinade mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Add the beetroot discs one at a time ensuring they are all well coated. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill overnight. Celery Salad 4 Celery sticks - Sea salt Juice of 1/2 Lemon - Olive oil - Parsley 2 Oranges - 4 tbsp Pine nuts (toasted)

■ Fillet the mackerel (making sure all

bones are removed from the fillet). Lightly brush he flesh of the fish with english mustard using a pastry brush and season with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a non stick pan and add the fillets skin side down pressing down evenly for 30 seconds with a spatula to ensure an even colour. Leave to cook on this side for 2-3 minutes and then turn the fish over and remove from the heat. It will finish cooking in the residual heat of the pan.

■ Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel

the celery sticks into long thin strips and place in a mixing bowl. Season with sea salt and lemon juice. Drizzle over some olive oil. Cut the orange

Plating ■ Place the beetroots at the bottom of the plate followed by the celery and finish off with the mackerel on top. 98,Vjal l-Indipendenza, Mosta, Malta T. 2142 4311


The Sweet Challenge Pineapple Cream Byron Saliba

Vanilla Dough 225grms Flour - 170grms Butter - 95grms Icing sugar 30grms Ground almonds - 50grms Eggs 1grm Vanilla powder ■ In a mixer equipped with a paddle, blend the flour and butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the icing sugar , ground almonds , eggs and vanilla. Blend well. Spread the dough to about 3mm thickness and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut in desired shape and bake in a 160 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. Creamy Pineapple 282grms Pineapple pulp - 90grms Sugar 19grms Custard powder - 3grms Gelatine leaves ■ Heat the pulp with the sugar. Blend in the custard powder and add the gelatine leaves. Fill the desired moulds and put in the freezer to set. Yellow Glaze 125ml Water - 300grms Caster sugar 300grms Glucose syrup - 200ml Condensed milk 20grms Gelatin powder - 120ml Water 300grms White chocolate 5grms Yellow powder ■ Hydrate the gelatin with 120ml of water. Bring the water to 30

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the boil, add the sugar and glucose and boil at 103 degrees celsius. Pour on the condensed milk and the gelatine and blend with the chocolate. Mix in well the colour until you have a shiny silky glaze. Important to freeze the product before glazing. Coconut Meringue 56grms Egg whites - 56grms Sugar 56grms Sugar - 28grms Coconut ■ Whisk the whites with the first part of sugar until soft peak appears . Blend in the rest of the sugar and slowly whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut and gently fold by hand. Pipe with a French nozzle. Coconut Couscous 200grms Whole milk - 200grms Coconut milk 60grms Sugar - 35grms Couscous ■ Boil the milk and coconut milk together with the sugar. Pour the boiling liquid on to the couscous and stir occasionally until couscous is soft. Mint Ice Cream 1ltr Whole milk - 400grms Egg yolks - 350grms Sugar 40grms Fresh mint - 3grms Inverted sugar ■ Blend the fresh mint. Heat the milk and sugar in a pot. In a


seperate bowl mix the yolks with a small part of the sugar and pour in the boiling liquid, stir well until it reaches 81 degrees. Blend in the fresh mint and leave to set for 15 minutes. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine. When ready, put the ice cream in the freezer for better consistency.

Chocolate drop filled Katia Caruana

Chocolate Tourbillon 500ml Milk - 500ml Cream 35% - 100g Sugar 200g Yolks - 480g Chocolate 75% ■ Heat the milk and cream to a boil. Mix the sugar and yolks together. Add both ingredients together and blend until a light custard forms. Pour while still hot on to the chocolate and blend until a good and shiny emulsion appears. Pipe the mixture into desired moulds and leave to set in the refrigerator. Rum & Chocolate Cake 250grms Sugar - 3 Eggs - 1tsp Vanilla - 200ml Olive oil 100g Black rum - 75g Dark melted chocolate - 180g Flour 2tspn Baking powder ■ In a mixer blend slowly everything except the eggs. Gently fold in the eggs and whisk for a further 4 minutes. Bake in a 150 degrees preheated oven. Pineapple Gel 700ml Pineapple puree - 150g Sugar - 300g Water 3 Gelatin leaves - 7g Agar Agar ■ Heat the puree, sugar and water. Blend in the agar agar and gelatine and leave to boil for 2 minutes. Leave it to set and beat in a mixer for a smooth texture. Assembly ■ Place the Vanilla Dough at the centre of the plate and add the glazed Pineapple cream. Whip up the coconut meringue and pipe some dots with a French nozzle. Burn a little bit the meringue. With the pineapple gel place some dots next to the meringue. Cut small squares of the cake and place them gently on the plate. Put a teaspoon of couscous and place the chocolate tourbillon on it. Take the mint ice cream out of the freezer and do a quenelle on the plate. Decorate with some water cress and it is ready to serve.

Ingredients: Coconut milk - Dark Belgian Chocolate 70% Fresh pineapple - Rum - Mint

METHOD: ■ Prepare the chocolate drop by tempering the chocolate and moulding it on acetate tape. Other moulds can be used. ■ With a Parisian cutter scoop pineapple balls. Place the pineapple balls in a saucepan and caramelise them in their own fructose (natural fruit sugars), add a dash of rum and chopped mint. ■ Take a tin of coconut milk which has been kept chilled overnight in a refrigerator, separate the coconut water and the coconut cream and whip the cream separately until the cream forms a foamy peak. ■ Create a chocolate sauce by heating the coconut water to about 70°C. Remove from the heat and let it rest but do not allow it to cool down. While still warm add dark chocolate to it and keep stirring until achieving a nice chocolate sauce consistency. ■ Start plating your dessert by filling the chocolate drop with the caramelised pineapple balls, which have been marinated in rum and fresh mint. Make sure that the pineapple has cooled down; otherwise it will melt the chocolate. Pipe small dabs of coconut foam on the pineapple and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Add a dash of chocolate sauce on the plate and serve.

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Pineapple Tarte Tatin Mark Mc Bride

Ingredients:

■ Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. ■ Roll out the puff pastry to a 2mm thickness and cut out 4 x

Caramelised Pineapple and Rum 1 Pineapple, sliced into 2 cm rings - 90g caster sugar 10ml Dark Rum - 15g Butter - 400g Puff pastry

METHOD:

15cm discs. Place the pastry discs in the fridge until needed.

■ Spoon 1 tbsp of the pineapple caramel on to the bottom of 4 blini pans. Add 1 pineapple ring to each pan, then cover the pineapple with the discs of puff pastry, tucking the edges in.

■ Place the blini pans in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, ■ Peel and remove the core of the pineapple and cut into

or until golden brown.

rings. Add the caster sugar to a heavy-based pan and place on the stove set to a medium to high heat. Allow the sugar

Coquito Ice cream

to caramelise until golden brown and add the pineapple

13ml Coconut milk - 100ml Condensed milk

rings. Add the rum and then the butter to stop the sugar from

0.25 Vanilla pod - 4 Egg yolks

burning.

65g White sugar - 20ml White rum

■ Cook the pineapple for around 2 minutes on either side then remove from the heat. Spoon out the pineapple rings and allow to cool, keeping the caramel in the pan.

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■ In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.


■ While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into

75g unsalted butter, softened - 75g Caster sugar 3 tbsp Cocoa powder - 3 Eggs - 450ml Double cream

egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.

■ Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof

Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats

bowl. Then assemble a bain-marie – do this by pouring a

the back of a spoon.

little water into a saucepan and placing the bowl over the

■ Place into ice cream machine to freeze.

water (making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl). Set the pan over a gentle heat and warm the

Mint Glass 20 fresh Mint leaves, plus more to garnish 50ml Liquid glucose - 50g Isomalt sugar 100g Fondant icing

water until the chocolate has melted. Take off the heat and leave to cool a little.

■ Meanwhile, place the butter and half the sugar into another large bowl. Using a tabletop mixer or electric hand whisk, beat until the mixture is really light and creamy, then beat

■ For the mint glass, preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark

in the cocoa powder.

6. Place glucose, isomalt and fondant icing in a pan set on

■ Separate the eggs (the whites can be frozen for another

medium heat. Bring to 140°C, pour onto a baking sheet

time) and put the yolks in a third bowl. Tip in the remaining

lined with a silicon baking mat and leave to cool.

sugar, then beat together until pale and creamy. To check

■ As the glass is cooling, place the mint leaves on the top.

if it’s ready, make a figure-of-eight shape in the mixture

Allow to cool completely and solidify. Place into a blender

with the beater – it should hold its shape for a moment.

and blend to a fine powder, then place back onto a baking

In a fourth bowl, whip the cream until thickened with soft

sheet lined with a silicon baking mat.

peaks.

■ Bake the sugar and mint mixture in the oven, checking

■ Pour the melted chocolate into the butter mixture, and

regularly, until the sugar melts and forms a clear sheet.

carefully stir through until it is well combined. Gently fold

Allow to cool at room temperature.

in the egg mixture. When this is amalgamated, stir in the whipped cream

Mint Sponge 1 Eggs - 75 ml Oil - 75 ml Milk - 75 g Sugar 125 Plain flour - 10 Baking powder - 20 Mint leaves

Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag with a large nozzle attached pipe into moulds. Set to freeze.

PLATTING METHOD:

■ Whisk ingredients together with a hand whisk. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Line a 20 cm round casserole or

Take the caramel sauce and place drops onto plate.

plastic container with paper towel. Place mixture in dish and

Place gently your tart on plate, arrange on top the chocolate

microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook. The cake should still look slightly wet on the top.

marquise and the mint sponge. Place a rectangle of puff pastry on top of marquise. Rest at the back the dehydrated pineapple.

Chocolate Marquise 150g Dark choclate use 70%, good quality

Place ice-cream on top of puff party and finish off with mint glass strands.

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Coconut cheesecake, exotic flavours Ryan Gialanze Mint chocolate biscuit 100g soft Butter - 100g Egg whites 100g Icing sugar - 80g Flour 20g Cocoa powder - 2 drops Mint essence Method: ■ Incorporate sugar in the soft butter using a K-beater attachment, than add the egg whites and the mint essence. Fold in the sifted flour and cocoa powder. The mixture will look like soft butter not very runny. Spread thin on a parchment paper and bake at 170°C for 4 to 5 minutes. Coconut cheese cake 83g soft Cream cheese 33g Sugar 15g pasteurized Egg yolks 10g Lemon juice 4g Gelatine leaves 210g Whipping cream (lightly whipped ) 100g roasted desiccated Coconut Method: ■ Soak the gelatine in cold water for 10 minutes. Cream the egg yolks, sugar and cream cheese until no lumps are left. Fold the lightly whipped cream over the cream cheese using a spatula. Melt the soaked gelatine in lemon juice over low heat, do not boil. Pass through a strainer and fold on the cream mixture, add the room temperature coconut and set in your desired moulds.

Pineapple gel 250g Pineapple juice 4g Agar Agar Method: ■ Combine both ingredients and bring to the boil, whisking to make sure no lumps of powder are left. Pour in a plastic container to set in the fridge for 5 hours. Then transfer into a blender, blitz until all is broken down and forms a thick fluid gel. Spiced Rum Cremaux 60g Cream - 18g Yolks - 15g Sugar 24g whole Egg - 24g Butter 1 Gelatine leaf - 50g Spiced rum Method: ■ Put cream, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan and cook on very low heat until it reaches 72°C. This will take a while. Avoid lumps. Transfer in a food processor and add the butter, soaked gelatine and spiced rum. Pass through a strainer and set in your desired moulds. Fresh Pineapple in spiced rum ■ Put fresh pineapple peeled and cored in a zip lock bag with spiced rum of your choice. Extract as much air as you can and leave overnight in the fridge. You can now plate the dessert.

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Tof summer he

OTHER SIDE

Interview with

Malcolm

Bartolo, Chef Patron at Townhouse No3

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S

ummer is finally here and with it all the food this colourful season offers. This is a time of vibrant colours that stem out of fresh ripe tomatoes, from sweet peaches and from fresh melons. The colour of summer is also envisaged in the abundance of fish available and in the meats prepared for a family grill. The colours of summer food seem to have a different tone when we look at local produce. There is something special in it which makes it stand out of the rest and offers such an amazing taste to any recipe it is added to. Local summer food has always intrigued me to know more about its hidden secrets and who better than Chef Malcolm Bartolo could tell me about them. We met over a coffee at his outlet in Rabat, Townhouse No. 3 where we discussed the beauty of local produce during the summer season. He notes that "summer is a time when produce is very ripe and at its best of flavour." He also points out that "summer is a time to enjoy, yet also a time to plan for the next season. Indeed, summer is a time when we prepare many preserves


such as sun-dried tomatoes, capers, pickled onions, pastes, jams, marmalades and chutneys. It is a very busy time for all those who love adventuring with home made preserves." I ask him what makes local produce so special to which he promptly replies that it lies in the concentration of taste that is hidden in each product." Have you ever tasted something better than a local peach, strawberry or grape?" I feel, Malcolm's question is a rhetoric one and any other answer is pointless. He is indeed correct as the flavour of any local produce rekindles memories of mum's patata l-forn with fennel, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. On the other hand, the taste of local ripe tomatoes reminds me of our œobÿ biÿ-ÿejt u t-tadam we used to enjoy at seaside or on the roof together with some freshly squeezed lemonade. The simple about such genuine products brings a deep sense of nostalgia towards my childhood food experiences. Malcolm notes that “I visit the Farmers' market in Ta’ Qali every Saturday where I source all my stock of vegetable for the week. "Aesthetics are not the local produce major strength yet ultimately it is the taste and the way it is presented at the table which really matters and that is something Maltese fruit and vegetables will never disappoint you on.” He explains that the major challenge with fruit and vegetables during this time of the year is that they have a short shelf life. We shift our conversation on meats, poultry and fish available during . Malcolm notes that "we are spoilt for choice during the summer period with a vast selection of fish which exalts the imagination of every professional chef and food enthusiast. It is also a time for grills where we can experiment with various types of marinades and rubs. Every product marries well with some great wine or beer." I ask him what local fish is underestimated to which he promptly notes to be lampuki (dorado fish). "We are blessed with

lampunki at the end of the summer season yet often tend to underutilise it. It is a pity as it offers so many cooking options." Indeed, he is correct. I do recollect that during an interview with the former French Ambassador accredited to Malta had commended the exceptional taste and presentation of a lampuki tartar she tasted in Marsaxlokk. Malcolm notes that the same attitude can be envisaged with regards to local meats. "We tend to prefer imported meats and miss out on the taste a local cut can offer." He points out that when it comes to fish and meat, it all depends on the reliability of the source. He explains that his selection of food is sourced from a very small circle of suppliers who share his same vision and who focus on local products. When discussing local produce, our conversation touches on the topic of foraging where he notes to me that he does practice it yet on a very small scale. He admits that the major challenge with foraging is that it is limited and there is a lot of ignorance on the subject. I ask him what are the major challenges for local produce where he notes to be the price. "We are limited in volumes and that is a major challenge." He also notes that our country is pretty much dependent on imports and there is little respect towards the local source. He remarks that the government needs to invest in measures which seek to protect and promote local produce. Unless there is such a strong push from the government's end, respect and appreciation towards local produce will be poor.” Whilst drinking my last sip of coffee, I ask him what does he expect from summer to which he quickly replies that he hopes to attract more customers who have an interest in tasting and appreciating the local produce. "I also expect an abundance of produce which will offer me the possibility to create new dishes with a strong dose of local element."

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09/05/2017 4:09 PM

09/05/2017 4:0

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Pork Fillet in Port Wine Sauce with shoe string potatoes & petite vegetables ingredients

method

2 Pork Fillets Trimmed

■ Heat olive oil and a touch of butter in a non stick

200mls Port Wine 100mls Veal Stock 1 Finely Diced Shallot

frying pan. ■ Add the pork fillets and sear both sides until golden. ■ Add chopped shallot and garlic and lightly fry until

translucent.

1 Clove Garlic Finely Chopped

■ Pour in the port wine and baste the pork fillets, cook

1 Potato Peeled and Cut into Thin Strips

until sauce reduces, turn fillets and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. ■ Remove pork fillets from pan. Blend in the veal stock, and cook until sauce reduces. ■ Spoon sauce over pork fillets and serve with crispy shoe string potatoes, baby carrots and snow peas or vegetables of your liking.

Baby Carrots and Snow Peas 20grms butter unsalted Salt and Pepper Sprig Fresh Thyme

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The Rock is Back Rockin The White Rock Resto Lounge has a new owner with a new concept and a fresh look in store. Indeed the breathtaking views of the Baœar Iç-Çagœaq coast will serve as the ideal setting for Vincenzo Gambuzza’s new project; Dolce Sicilia La Scogliera. The place has been totally renovated so as to accommodate several eatery concepts under one roof. At ground floor level clients will be entertained with a selection of stone oven pizzas to be enjoyed in a casual environment ideal for all the family. On the other hand those looking for a place to have a chat over a coffee, the place will also include a cafeteria. Both concepts will be under the brand, Dolce Sicilia. Those looking for a place to organise a business lunch, an intimate dinner or any special event, one can reserve a table at La Scogliera which is situated on the first floor of the new complex. La Scogliera will be open for lunch and dinner offering a vast selection of quality food, excellent wines and an amazing ambience. Dolce Sicilia La Scogliera is the latest feather in Vincenzo Gambuzza’s hat. Vincenzo is an Italian entrepreneur who has established himself as a successful entrepreneur in Malta thanks to the various projects he has developed in recent years on the island. From the foundations of his Dolce Sicilia bar and restaurant in Paceville, Vincenzo has expanded his eatery brand to various other locations on the island namely, Msida, Bugibba and Sliema. The quality of the products sold and the continuous analysis on customer needs has earned Dolce Sicilia a reputation as one of the most sought after eateries on the island. To strengthen its presence in Malta and to satisfy the demand for Dolce Sicilia products, Vincenzo also created Dolce Sicilia Lab, a laboratory of over 700 square meters located

in Marsa. Dolce Sicilia Lab today provides all the Dolce Sicilia bar-restaurants, with high quality artisan products, carefully selected and prepared fresh every day. Shortly Dolce Sicilia Lab will also be supplying their products to restaurants, hotels and bars of the island. Notwithstanding a very busy agenda, Vincenzo gladly shared with us his projects and what to expect at Dolce Sicilia La Scogliera. What lies behind the success of your activity? Never lower the standard of products, because quality is what makes us stand out on the market. We also strongly believe in human development so as to ensure they provide the best service to our clients. What do you seek to achieve with the opening of Dolce Sicila La Scogliera in Baœar Iç-Çagœaq? We seek to strengthen the Dolce Sicilia brand and open further outlets on in Malta and Gozo. Hopefully, our expansion will also extend beyond local shores. La Dolce Sicilia La Scogliera aims to become an important location for events, and other activities. In time we also seek so to involve Maltese institutions so as to promote key concepts including healthy living. In order to implement our ambitious project, we have hired key experts including Salva La Rocca to assist us in developing a strong marketing strategy and the right management approach.

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TheTHREE Wise Men

Credits: El Cellar de Can Roca

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Interview with the trio behind

El Celler de Can Roca

Chef Joan Roca, Sommelier Josep Roca and Pastry Chef Jordi Roca

A

t the northwest of Barcelona, in the city of Girona, lies an eatery which many food critics consider to be a hub of creative and revolutionary cuisine. Hundreds of culinary enthusiasts each year pay a visit to El Celler de Can Roca to experience the unconventional incorporation of tastes, flavours and cultures in unique presentations which are real work of art. Every plate prepared is driven by a three-pronged approach of traditions, intellect and academics. Every plate focuses on the intimate emotions and global food experiences of Joan, Jordi and Josep. Indeed, in a recent interview, the Can Roca brothers noted that “Here we tell a story that starts with a journey around the world, from South Korea through the Mediterranean, and that travels back in time... to our childhood here in Girona.� We had the privilege to discuss with Can Roca brothers their culinary journey, their interpretation of food and their projects for the future.

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In our kitchen respect is in the air, we work with concentrated passion, committed to.

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El Celler de can roca

Some critics note that "to understand the chefs behind El Celler de Can Roca, start with a meal at their parents' restaurant”. In what way have your parents played a key role in your culinary path? The family restaurant was our living room, the place where the three of us grew up, played heads or tails, and did homework amongst the scents of our mother’s kitchen. A place where it was possible to live in family and make the restaurant your passion and your way of life. We grew up playing with the customers, with the smell of their stews and dishes forming our gustatory memory without being conscious that we were absorbing the culinary tradition of our land between games. Our mother taught us to cook and to love the trade. She transmitted in us important issues, such as generosity, hospitality, effort, commitment and patience. It is often said that three is the magic number. How do three brothers work harmoniously together under the same roof? We start from three complimentary disciplines: I’m the cook, a kind of architect for the experience. Josep is the sommelier and takes care of the emotional dance in the dining room, and Jordi comes at the end, the pastry chef to surprise and refresh when the guest believes that everything has ended... but it has definitely not. In the creative process each of us adds his own vision in every step we do. The difficult part, is that we take a lot of time to make a decision. The good thing, is that we make good ones. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Our working process is a three-part synthesis of three different complimentary gastronomic disciplines that together can bring a total experience on the table. But as we have always been exploring and realizing that it is important to keep on learning we are totally open in our creative processes and in shared knowledge experiences so this brotherhood triangle grows by including team multidisciplinary experts from other fields as botany, industrial design, chemistry, agricultural engineering, designers or plastic artists... and by permanently dialogue exchange with our nearby small suppliers.

What is your philosophy of food and dining? It’s about an internal and intimate sense, that is the result of many years of work and a certain accumulated or gained experience, as well as a consequence of a life devoted to the search of balance. It’s complex to explain, it has to do with work, research, commitment to the product and to the original taste. Our creative process is a three-way collaboration, a synthesis of the disciplines of 3 brothers: Josep is the liquid mind, the world of wine, Jordi is the sweet mind and me the salt. Each of us provides his own vision for a new dish or a new project, in every step we take. Then, we could define our philosophy in 16 key concepts which we draw creative roads: sometimes the starting point is PRODUCT, other times it can be the LANDSCAPE, that reminds us of our commitment to the environment, ACADEMICISM, MEMORIES and the sense of HUMOUR are often inspiring too, or BOLDNESS, INNOVATION, PERFUME and the olfactory sense, POETRY or MAGIC, the world of WINE or the colours... All these always from a TRANSVERSAL vision, as an unlimited creative exchange from a humanist conception of the culinary creation. It is ultimately the result of different worlds coming together. A fluid dialogue with the common thread of passion, fun and rigour. What does taste mean to you? Cutting-edge techniques and design must be used to enhance taste and flavours better than to disguise them. Authentic taste is very important if you want to play with remembrance. On the other hand they also play a role in order to surprise or generate a perceptive change in order to achieve an emotional script during the menu. What dish would you associate with the summer season? Cherry soup with elderberry infusion and smoked eel or Charcoaled grill sardine consommé. Sardines are more fatty in this season, in fact it is the best season to eat them. What are your plans for the future? We would like to make the present moment last as much as possible. The restaurant has been 30 years old, and now it has reached its maturity, a solid team and method, and its ready to accept new challenges that would be related to sustainable practices in all social, environmental and health areas.

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Experiencing Emotion Interview with

Andoni Luis

Aduriz Mugaritz Restaurant

Credit: José Luis López de Zubiria

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Credit: José Luis López de Zubiria

Several critics have defined you as probably the most interesting chef in the world. What makes your style of cooking so sought after in the gastronomic world? I believe in honesty both as a cook and as a person. In Mugaritz we have always believed that less is more and that is maybe a style that nowadays is very fashionable. In the end the idea of returning to traditions, going back to your origins in the gastronomy is something that we have always done in Mugaritz over the years. Getting rid of all the accessories to the gastronomic experience, to have less on the dish but more on your mind, I think that is a philosophic trend which manages to interconnect people in a world where sentences have became 140 characters and attention is measured by images.

A

ndoni Luis Aduriz is regarded by many as one of the most influential chefs of our times. He is the creator of several groundbreaking culinary projects in the world in which he successfully combines art, music, culture and cooking. His radical approach in the famous temple of food, Mugaritz, has earned him the reputation of a rebel. Indeed, Chef Aduriz’s work often crosses established borders to seek a constant evolution of food. Chef Aduriz shared with us some of his latest creations, his unique way of working with other disciplines and his views on the food industry.

I read that at the age of 14, you failed all your classes including sport and religious studies. Culinary school didn't go well either. Yet there was a turning point in your career when you turned sixteen. What happened?  What happened was that I had to repeat a year in the culinary school. However I luckily met two people that were really enthusiastic and liked cooking a lot. As I didn’t know anybody else and they were new, we stuck together and thanks to their interesting and brilliant influence on me, I started to take interest too. We are all permeable and information is transferred from one to another. So if you surround yourself with brilliant people in the end you will be brilliant, the same could be said to sad and happy people.

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Your motto is, “If you want to stay young, you have to remain uncomfortable,” Can you elaborate? The problem is that when you arrive to a certain age you start repeating the things you know, you repeat what is the most comfortable to you, it is a question about evolution because we do the easiest thing in order to survive. But if you work on the way you look at reality, you will see different things. This demands an effort, one must be alert and have a conscious and clear vision. In the end to know what everybody knows is the same as not knowing anything. What impact did working at El Bulli have on you? When I started working at El Bulli, at the beginning of the 90s, I was young and used to one determined style of cooking and suddenly not only a new way of cooking but also a new way of thinking opened up in front of me. It was the first time that I understood that the main tools for a cook weren’t the knives, pots or other utensils but in actual fact the most important tool for any chef is his or her mind and the way that he or she uses it, not only for organization but also for creativity. I was lucky enough to be there for two 48

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years, and in the second year I was more in touch with the creativity area, and witnessed firsthand their way of working and creating and that planted a seed in my mind which has been growing all these years and has helped me develop as a cook. You often liken creativity to other character traits of everyday life. Can you explain further? People usually understand creativity as another tool, but creativity is a way of being. One is not happy just for a moment but to be happy is an attitude to face life and also way of taking on problems. In a recent interview you described Mugaritz as “a result of how we see, how we feel, and more than anything, how we think.” Can you tell us more of what to expect when dining at Mugaritz?  When you visit Mugaritz we prepare an experience for you, but the most important thing in that experience is how you face it. If you are happy you will go happier, the same can be said for creativity, if you came in a creative


ANDONI LUIS ADURIZ frame of mind you will leave even more creative. The Mugaritz experience is a tool that reflects and reveals the emotions which lies beneath the surface on that given day. How do you interpret summer in your work? In Mugaritz we do not interpret the seasons but we are somehow slaves to the seasonal products. Summer allows us to find products that we do not have the rest of the year, some of them are very traditional in The Basque Country such us tuna and bonito. It is also a period where the vegetable garden is flourishing. What ingredient would you associate with this time of the year? Tuna from the north.

10 CAL

Credit: Oscar Oliva

Why is it important for young chefs to find the right balance between natural ingredients and technology? When we talk about technology, we usually think about futuristic tools such as molecular cooking, but we need to be aware that technology is not greater than theoretical knowledge behind a technique. For example, if we cut a tomato, we do it using the technique of cutting, but technology is all the theory of knowing why we cut in that way, way we use that knife and how does the turgidity of the tomato affects that cut, that is technology. And that is what the young chefs need to understand first. What are you working on at the moment, and what is new at Mugaritz? This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary and we are reflecting on the concept of time, in what moment we are and where we came from. Time has become a key element that we use to explain factors associated with fine dining. Such luxury or the work of the chefs in order to generate the experiences we provide.

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SUGAR FREE

NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com.mt


143, St. Dominic Street, Valletta VLT1605 Email: info@nenuthebaker.com Tel: +356 2258 1535 50

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www.nenuthebaker.com


This week we met Carmel Debono, known as Nenu, founder of Maypole Group and Nenu the Artisan Baker in Valletta. Lately, we got our hands on his biography – Nenu for the love of Maltese Bread. Nenu, what’s the story of Maypole Group? Originally my father and I used to supply a bakery called Maypole with flour bags. Eventually we also started delivering bread on Maypole’s behalf. Over the years we were approached to buy the bakery. It wasn’t an easy decision to take, but I managed to convince my father that I was able to handle the business and also build on it. This was followed by endless hours of hard work and a strong determination to improve day after day. The Maypole brand as we know it today is the result of literally round the clock shifts by all the family. In the book you state that your brother Michael was like a mentor to you. What was the best advice he has ever given you? It’s true that my brother and I are very close to each other. He has given me a lot of good advice, although I have to admit that I did not always listen to him! One day he suggested that I visit an international business fair related to bread. Back then, travelling wasn’t easy as it is today and, I have to say that leaving your country behind, even if for a short number of days, made me anxious. Eventually I left the island, and I did not regret it at all! This trip helped me to better understand other cultures and compare our bread with that of other nations. I managed to meet with suppliers and contacts who eventually helped me modernise my bakery and grow my business. That was the best advice Michael ever gave me. What’s the secret of your successful bakery? Throughout the years we invested heavily and continuously in our bakery. But the real secret is that we managed to predict the change in shopping habits of our customers. It was clear for us that the ever-hectic lifestyle meant that clients

needed a place where they can buy all the things that they need. Following Qormi, we opened our second outlet in Fgura and started supplying milk as there was no one else selling milk in the neighbourhood. Over time we added more grocery supplies including our traditional confectionary and bakery products. What made you open a restaurant in the heart of Valletta? I have always wanted to preserve our traditional Maltese recipes. Once, on a trip to Germany, I visited an old brewery which had been transformed to a brewing exhibit. The experience at this brewery was fantastic and inspired me to follow my dreams and open a traditional Maltese restaurant. I wanted the ‘ftira’ to be the signature dish of my restaurant. Above all, I wanted to give the opportunity to the Maltese and tourists alike to try real traditional Maltese cuisine cooked as we used to in the past. In line with our love for Maltese bread and traditions, we found an abandoned bakery in St Dominic Street, Valletta and converted it into a lovely restaurant with a set-up of a small bakery diorama with paper-mache figures. I also wanted the restaurant to be a complete Maltese experience. We have so much to be proud of. That’s why at the restaurant one can only consume Maltese products, including the serving of only Maltese wines and beer. At first most of our clients order foreign drinks and are slightly taken aback when we say that we only serve Maltese beverages. However, one cannot not feel a sense of pride when tourists compliment the complete Maltese dining experience. It is also a common occurrence that the same tourists visit our restaurant twice, while on a four or five day stay in Malta. I’m very proud of our heritage and the restaurant is a way of sharing Malta with everyone. This book can be found online on www.maypole.com.mt

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S

erendipity

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Credit: Robert Ribic


Interview with

Ana

Roš, World Best Female Chef 2017 Chef & Co-owner of Hiša Franko

A

former member of the Yugoslav national skiing squad and a polyglot with a clear ambition to follow a career as a diplomat in Brussels experiences an unexpected change in plans when she falls in love with her husband, Valter Kramar, whose parents happened to own Hiša Franko. Since then, the self-taught chef embarked on a culinary journey which saw her quickly achieve so much. Her precision, attention to detail, and imagination as well as her passion for local ingredients have helped her develop into one of the best contemporary chefs. Her impressive work also earned her the prestigious status of World Best Female Chef 2017. Ana shared with us her experiences in the food industry and her plans for the future. Credit: Suzan Gabrijan

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I respect traditions and produce wisely yet never hesitate to break the rules with food combinations and techniques.

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Credit: Suzan Gabrijan


ANA ROŠ

Credit: Suzan Gabrijan

You were offered a job at the European Commission in Brussels, and yet you took the decision to abandon your dream of a career in diplomacy and try the restaurant business instead. What lies behind such a bold decision? It was a spontaneous decision. I met my husband whose family owned a restaurant in the Slovenian countryside. We quickly fell in love and I remained in the valley instead of heading to Brussels.

Some of the greatest chefs in the world, such as Niko Romito are completely self-taught. It gives you more freshness and freedom when approaching the cooking. But it still limits you in your knowledge.

In a recent interview, you commented that “I come from a society that doesn’t have a tradition of gastronomy, where cooking is not a prestigious job.” To what extent has such a background posed a disadvantage to you? It is always a disadvantage to work in a society where your work is not appreciated.

You love travelling to remote parts of the world. How does such experiences enriched you from a gastronomic point of view? A lot. Walking through the world and dream with open eyes gives you richness of knowledge. Knowledge is never a waste.

Critics note that your cooking reflects not only the richness of local biodiversity, but also the complexity of local history. To what extent do you agree? I respect traditions and produce wisely yet never hesitate to break the rules with food combinations and techniques.

In what way does summer fit into your work? Like in the case of all other seasons, I tend to adapt to the ingredients summer offers.

How does a self-taught chef find her way in the food industry? Self-taught chefs are not so rare in our industry.

You have a reputation as a risk taker when it comes to using contrasting textures and tastes. In what way do you cross lines? I never cross the line. I simply walk on the edge.

What is your favourite ingredient during this time of the year? Our garden and the forest. What are your plans for the future? To be happy in the professional and private life.

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RESTAUR ANT, CO CKTAIL BAR & LO UNGE

An al fresco oasis Drink, dine and while away the summer.

O P E N D A I LY F R O M 1 7 : 3 0 H R S T O 0 0 : 3 0 | R E S E R VAT I O N T E L : + 3 5 6 2 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 C O R I N T H I A H O T E L S T G E O R G E ’ S B AY, S T. G E O R G E ’ S B AY, S T. J U L I A N S

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2

SERVES

Fish and Shellfish Mixed Grill A tempting mix of grilled swordfish, grouper, fresh meager and king prawns

ingredients 1 Lemon 200gr Swordfish 200gr Grouper 200gr Meager 4 King Prawns

method ■ Prepare all the cleaned fish on paper to dry

excess water. ■ Brush with olive oil and season with salt and

crushed black pepper. ■ Place on grill. Cook fish for 2 minutes on

each side. ■ Serve with half lemon and grilled tomato.

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BROADSIDE TERRACE

Mediterranean Mezes A selection of four Mediterranean Meze served with chili oil and freshly baked Tandoori bread

5

SERVES

ingredients For Hummus: 50gr Chick peas 10gr Tahini Pinch Salt ■ Blend chick peas together with tahini and salt. For Babaganush: 100gr Grilled aubergines 10gr Peppers 10gr Tomato Pinch Salt 3tbspn Olive oil ■ Combine grilled peeled aubergines, finely chopped green and red peppers and salt.

For Mouttabbel: 100gr Aubergines 20gr Plain white yoghurt 10gr Tahini Pinch Salt ■ Blend grilled peeled aubergines, tahini yoghurt and salt. For Tzatziki: 200ml Plain white yogurt 20gr Mint 50gr Cucumber Pinch Salt ■ The day before drain yogurt by putting in a cloth, so water extracts out. ■ Combine drained yogurt, fresh mint cucumber and salt. Place dips in ramekins. Drizzle with chili oil and serve with warm tandoori or pita bread.

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Vigneti Villabella

is the vine-growing estate within the Cristoforetti-Delibori group. It has its headquarters at Calmasino in the Province of Verona, in the heart of the Bardolino Classico zone, on morainic hillsides overlooking Lake Garda.

F

ounded over 40 years ago by Walter Delibori

the Villa Cordevigo domaine at Cavaion Veronese, a

and Giorgio Cristoforetti, Vigneti Villabella is a

viticultural and natural oasis that is organically farmed.

wine-producing company that expresses the full

Here we have sought to preserve the genius loci of the

potential of the area, creating unique, genuine wines,

countryside that surrounds the Villa Cordevigo Wine

and operating in an ethically responsible manner,

Relais, an 18th century Veneto villa which now offers

maintaining a balance between man, the landscape and

accommodation and hospitality services, as well as

nature.

promoting the wines of the estate. A further 13 hectares

Vigneti Villabella produces all of the great classic

(currently being converted to organic methods) will soon

D.O.C and D.O.C.G. wines of the Verona area, such

be added to the original 10 that already benefit from this

as Bardolino, Chiaretto, Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone,

type of cultivation.

Lugana, Custoza, Soave and Garda. The crus of Villa Cordevigo complete the range. The real heart of the Vigneti Villabella holdings is

Abraham’s Supplies Co. Ltd. is the exclusive importer and distributor of Vigneti Villabella wines in Malta and Gozo.

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The Malta Tourism Authority

Quality Assured Experience

I

n an ever changing, fast paced and competitive tourism industry, there is however one thing which remains a constant; the tourists’ search for quality. People today travel more and are willing to pay for a great experience, as long as in return for their hard earned money they experience quality in both service and product. The Malta Tourism Authority has long been aware of this factor and in order to remain sustainable and competitive has devised ways to raise the bar of quality. This has been done through policies, practical projects and promotional schemes. One such scheme is the Quality Assured seal; it was first launched in 2008 with the first Destination Management Companies awarded in 2009 and Visitor Attractions in 2010. Following its success and a demand from the industry the QA seal for restaurants was launched in 2014 with the first ones being awarded in 2015. The seal is based on international standards yet tailored to the Maltese market and also takes into consideration the category of restaurant being assessed. One will therefore find a fine dining QA restaurant side by side with a QA family oriented bistro. This is based on the belief that price is not necessarily related to quality of product and service. The detailed criteria can be satisfied by any kind of restaurant. The criteria cover the dining experience from beginning to end, from the search for information on line, through booking, the

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dinner service and even payment process and departure. The criteria pay attention to details such as clarity, politeness, welcome, service and hospitality, the food presentation and quality, service timings, the quality of cutlery and crockery, ambience and even the state of the bathrooms. No stone is left unturned to ensure that the restaurant really does offer quality. This scheme is voluntary so the restaurateurs who take it upon themselves to participate do so fully aware of the responsibility they are taking on to carry the seal and maintain its prestige by keeping the high standards expected. The QA seal operates on a two year cycle and undergoes two professional audits through mystery guest visits. The first is to join and the second one in the subsequent year is to ensure they deserve to keep it. An announced visit is also carried out in the first year to offer professional feedback to assist growth and improvement. To date there are now around 120 restaurants in the scheme which is approximately 20% of all licensed restaurants. This offers tourists and Maltese alike a vast selection of restaurants to choose from where they can be assured they will be treated to a quality experience. Whilst online reviews are helpful they may also be biased. The QA seal offers a professional independent standard offering peace of mind. To find the complete list of restaurants pay a visit to the dedicated website www.qualityassuredmalta.com; and restaurants interested in the scheme may find all the necessary details to apply.


The Awards As part of the Quality Assured seal, each year restaurants also have the opportunity to take home further awards. During this year’s June event three restaurants received the best in class award and a further three received the award for best service and hospitality, representing one restaurant from each category. These awards are based on the independent results of the mystery guest visits. A further award sponsored by Review Pro, was for best customer feedback based on almost 30,000 customer reviews. The awards were presented by Mr. Leslie Vella, Deputy CEO MTA and Mr. David Mifsud Director Quality and Industry HR. · · ·

Best in Class Award Trattoria AD 1530 One80 Kitchen and Lounge De Mondion

Best Service and Hospitality Award · The Greenhouse · Brookies · Paranga

Customer Feedback Award (sponsored by Review Pro) · New Madras

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Interview with

Maria

Sammut Executive Chef 59 Republic

TFOOD Republic he

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Do you consider food to be culture or art? Neither, food for me would definitely be defined as a love, a passion and a joy. What lies behind the name 59 Republic? When launching the restaurant, we were going through many names and working on the branding and suddenly realised what a cool address the restaurant had so 59 Republic was born, situated of course at 59 Republic Street, Valletta. How does summer tease your creativity in the kitchen? Summer is not my favourite month as I prefer colder weather, but for cooking it is fantastic as there is an abundance of fresh produce. The kitchen is full of the incoming fresh products and allows us to be very creative and add a wide selection of specials daily.

A

few meters away from the busy St. George Square in Valletta lies a small republic famous for its seasonal food delicacies. The menu is impressive and tells a story of food concepts which highlight the beauty of local produce. The master behind such an amazing food concept is Maria Sammut who relies on her wealth of experience and her talent to take food to a different level. Maria shared with us her food experience, her philosophy and what makes 59 Republic such a popular eatery on the island.

What is your signature dish for this time of the year? Definitely, our year-round signature dish is our loved, Beef Wellington. We are presently launching our third menu in the coming weeks and surely some of the signature dishes from the new menu such as fresh local prawns served crudo with homemade burrata with truffle and orange sauce, pan seared scallops with carrot and coconut soup. What are your plans for the future? Continuing our growth and development with Republic 59 and making sure that it retains the highest level of quality in both service and cuisine. Maybe one day there will be another Republic 59 someday but not till I catch up first on some sleep!

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AReligion Food

Interview with

Nick

Bril,

Chef / Owner of The Jane, Antwerp

T

here is a special connection between the world of food and Chef Nick Bril. It is his profession, his source of inspiration, his life and above all his religion. It is by no coincidence that he chose a former military chapel for his restaurant - The Jane. The place serves as his food gallery where he exhibits amazing dishes which have earned him the status as one of the best chefs in the world. Every food experience is complemented by his second love, music which is meticulously chosen so as to blend well with the tastes and flavours of his works of art. Chef Bril, shared with us his philosophy, his experience in the food industry and his plans for the future.

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Credits: Pieter D'Hoop

You started your career at the age of fourteen as a dishwasher in a restaurant.What happened since then? A lot I must say. My experience as a dishwasher helped me gain my first practical experiences in the kitchen. It was also the place where I developed an interest in the gastronomic world. At the age of 19, I started working as a sous-chef with three-star master chef Sergio Herman at Restaurant Oud Sluis. It was there where I learnt the meaning of working extremely hard, trying to be incredibly close to perfection whilst at the same time creating an informal ambiance. I left restaurant Oud Sluis after four years and became the Chef de Cuisine at Envy in Amsterdam. One year later though I returned to Oud Sluis, as Chef de Cuisine alongside Sergio Herman. Five years later, Herman decided to end the Oud Sluis chapter and start our very own project: The Jane in Antwerp. Shortly after opening, in 2014, the restaurant was awarded the first Michelin star and only eight months later a second star followed. You often stress that food is your religion. Why? 90% of our life is connected to food in one way or another. The food industry itself is very demanding and calls for a strong commitment from all those operating in it. On a personal level, I dedicate 20 hours of my day to matters related to food. This makes food such an important component of my life and anybody’s life which in a way has developed into a religion. You are also a famous DJ, performing in clubs and at festivals. How do Gastronomy and music come together? They are very much connected to one another. The main focus in what I do is to entertain people and both worlds offer me a platform to reach such goal. In the restaurant, I like to please people, to entertain them, to allow them to enjoy the good things in life. Deejaying is the same. It is something that comes from the belly and makes people smile. So whether you are cooking or playing a deejay set, the end result is the same. Music has also helped me to avoid burnout.

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Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com.mt


Nick bril

In a recent interview you noted that “I function well if I have 5 hours of sleep." How do you cope with such little rest notwithstanding such a busy daily agenda? This has been my daily routine since I was 15. I like to maximise days and thus 5 hours are more than enough to give me time to recharge. I trained myself to a short rest which today I work well with. I do not drink during the week to make sure I stick to those hours. By following this routine, I can still find energy on a Saturday night to finish service at 11pm and drive one and a half hours to perform a deejay set in a club before arriving home early in the morning. One of your secrets to sustain such a hectic life is in not drinking alcohol during the work week. Why does a non alcoholic diet help? I have learnt to stay away from alcohol during weekdays so as to ensure that I am fully charged and not to disrupt my rhythm. I am also a sports person thus alcohol must stay out of the equation. This does not mean I do not enjoy a drink or two yet everything has its time. In a recent interview you explained that creativity in a restaurant is not just about the food. Can you elaborate? Clientele have changed their perspective of dining out. Social media and conventional media has raised client expectations of food as well as service and ambience. Their experience is based on one whole package which must be of a high level from all angles. Our restaurant is in a chapel and thus we seek to optimise the experience we offer through the various features and details available. We also seek to accentuate further the ambience feeling by working closely with other partners. At the moment, we are collaborating with a boutique glassware to offer clients a different experience.

What importance do you give to travelling? It is essential. It opens your vision and your palate. Travel is education. It is exploring and discovering flavours, visions and insights. You will limit yourself if you think that travelling is not important. All people who want to do something that has not been done before need to travel. What does Summer mean to you from a gastronomic point of view? It is a time when flowers bloom. The sun gives that extra vibe to people and their mood is much happier. Summer gives a sense of freshness and motivation. It also provides a lot of oxygen to the brain. What ingredient do you associate with this time of the year? Summer is a time when fruits and vegetables full of vitamins are in abundance. What are your plans for the future? In January I will launch a new project. The next eighteen months will be fully dedicated to it so as to ensure a smooth launch.

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Stuffed Chicken Breast METHOD

By Jean Paul Cauchi

ingredients Chicken breast 100g Maltese sausage 6 slices Parma ham 20g Prickly pear jam Seasoning Olive oil

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 Start by cleaning the chicken breast from any fat, then butterfly open the breast, season and set on a side. Blend well the Maltese sausage using a blender. Open up some transparent plastic film and start by placing 3 slices of thinly sliced Parma ham, then place the breast followed by the paste made from the sausage. Roll the plastic film tightly, cut the film and tie it with a knot on the ends.  Put the chicken in a pot of hot boiling water and cook for 15 minutes, then remove plastic and season.  Finish off by frying the chicken in olive oil, until the Parma ham is crispy. Then slice and serve on a plate with a hint of prickly pear jam.  A fruity and light dish in preparation for summer!


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TQueen Chocolate he

of

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Interview with

Kirsten

Tibballs, Award Winning Patissier and Owner of Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School

K

irsten Tibballs world revolves around anything related to pastry. She has dedicated her life to sweets and has played a major role in developing the pastry industry in Australia thanks to her work and her Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School. She is today regarding as the major exponent of the Australian pastry industry and one of the best patissiers in the world. Her work is an explosion of colours and detail which exalts the beauty of seasonal ingredients she loves incorporating in her work. Notwithstanding her hectic agenda and the time difference, Kirsten gladly accepted to share with us over a conference call her passion for pastry, the success of her school and her upcoming projects.

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quality assured

RESTAURANTS

malta

gozo

BIRŻEBBUĠA Ferretti DINGLI Diar il-Bniet FLORIANA Admirals Landing Café Phoenicia Haywharf Nan Yuan Phoenix LUQA SKYPARKS Vecchia Napoli MARSASCALA Uncle Matt’s Kitchen MARSAXLOKK Il-Bukkett iPlace La Nostra Padrona Ta’ Victor T’Anna Mari Tartarun Tex Mex South MDINA Bacchus Coogi’s De Mondion Medina Trattoria AD 1530

MELLIEĦA Agliolio Al Ponte Munchies Mellieħa Bay one80 Reflections The Arches Flavours MOSTA Ta’ Marija NAXXAR Munchies YUE Bistro PIETA’ Fumia RABAT Grotto Tavern Il-Veduta San Andrea SENGLEA Hammett’s Macina SIĠĠIEWI Chateau Buskett SLIEMA Cuba Sliema Fratelli La Bufala Hammett’s Gastro Bar

Medasia Ta’ Kolina Tex Mex Bar & Grill The Chophouse ST. JULIAN’S Blue Elephant Barracuda Bianco’s Caviar & Bull Cuba St Julian’s Da Marina Dolce Vita Fra Martino Gululu Henry J Beans Hugo’s Lounge Il Pirata Il Ponte Le Bistro L-Għonella Lore & Fitch Steaks Marina Terrace Paranga Quadro Rasoi Authethic Indian Kitchen Saffron Sale e Pepe San Giuliano Scruples Suruchi Taro The Avenue The Villa Brasserie

Waterbiscuit Zen Sushi & Tepanyaki Zeri’s

QALA D-BAR & Restaurant Xerri il-Bukkett

ST. PAUL’S BAY BUĠIBBA & QAWRA Tal-Pjazza Venus Lovage Bistro New Madras Ocean Basket Oracle Casino Bistro Peking Surf n Turf Batubulan Café Delos Gate of India Tarragon

MARSALFORN L’Aragosta Il-Kartell Pulena Qbajjar Ristorante Il Gambero

SWIEQI The Greenhouse TA’ XBIEX The Black Pearl The Galley VALLETTA Aaron’s Kitchen Giannini La Mère Nenu the Artisan Baker Papannis Rampila Sciacca Grill

MĠARR Il Migiarro Country Terrace Porto Vecchio Sammy’s l-Kċina tal-Barrakka Tmun Mġarr VICTORIA Brookies XAGĦRA Dvenue Il-Loġġa Ta’ Frenċ Xi Xi XLENDI St Patrick’s Hotel The Stone Crab The Boathouse

YOUR TRUSTED SOURCE FOR MALTA’S QUALITY RESTAURANTS, VISITOR ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANIES 74

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www.qualityassuredmalta.com


KIRSTEN TIBBALLS

Your interest in pastry developed at a very young age. What attracted you to pastry making? I was always attracted to the creative and artistic side of pastry. From a very young age, I adored cooking and creating my family’s favourite dishes. I was particularly focused on desserts and began decorating cakes. I was very lucky that my parents supported what I did and encouraged my passion, and they drove me to and from work in the early hours of the morning! It seems though that not all was smooth sailing. In a recent interview, you noted that there were a few incidents in your mother’s kitchen. Can you tell us more?  When I was eight years old, me and a friend of mine decided to cook a cake from the Mickey Mouse Cookbook. Mistakenly using bicarbonate of soda

instead of flour resulted in an oven explosion and of course mum got mad with the resultant mess. It was a lesson we quickly learnt on the need for diligent ingredient checks! Part of your very busy agenda includes the management of the Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School you opened in 2002. What attracted you towards education? I noticed a large gap in what was being created in Europe in comparison to what was being produced in Australia. We really had no artesan chocolate stores and very few patisseries. I was fortunate to have had some experience and training in Europe so I felt it was my obligation to transfer my knowledge to other passionate foodies and professional chefs in my country. Today, we have about 3000 students attending classes

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KIRSTEN TIBBALLS

EACH BAKE CONTAINS

EACH BAKE CONTAINS

every year. We have classes seven days a week and we cater for all levels of knowledge and experience, from beginners through to advanced students. We also have online classes that are very popular. I am proud that many of the school’s students have gone on to open their own boutique chocolate shops and patisseries around the world. EACH CRACKER CONTAINS

EACH CRACKER CONTAINS

Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com.mt

How does summer fit into your kitchen? I actually do love all the seasons. I love summer for berries and the tropical flavours available during this time of the year. What sweet would you associate with this time of the year? Summer time in Australia coincides with Christmas. This is definitely a time for Individual Pavlovas and a time when I enjoy preparing Christmas Wreaths with chocolate mousse .  Any projects in the pipeline?  I have started my own TV show Queen of Chocolate which is currently being edited and will be available at the end of the year. 

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Your Path Towards a Career in Tourism and Hospitality An Interview with ITS CEO,

Mr Pierre Fenech

ITS is well known for its courses for food preparation, however what other programmes of study does ITS offer? The ITS offers a vast selection of courses, ranging from Foundation to Degree level. Available courses include Travel, Rooms Division, Food and Beverage Service, Events, Tour Guiding, Culinary Arts, Gastronomy and International Hospitality Management.

The Local Industrial Trade Practice (LITP) is a fourteenweek practical experience in the local tourism and hospitality industry, which ITS students undertake on the Maltese Islands. Whereas, the International Internship Trade Practice (IITP) is a twelve-month practical experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, which ITS students undertake in a foreign country.

You mentioned that you offer Degree Courses. Are these in collaboration with any other institutions? In fact, yes. We have sealed agreements with top international Universities and Institutions, which also ascertain that students not only have the possibility to graduate from a reputable institute, but in the process also get the opportunity to obtain a wider experience and hone their skills to an international level. Our degree in Culinary Arts is available in collaboration with the renowned Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique in France, our Degree in International Hospitality Management is in collaboration with the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and our degree in Gastronomy is in collaboration with the University of Malta.

What are the entry points for the ITS’ courses? We have four entry points where prospective students may enter, namely in Foundation, Certificate, three Higher National diplomas specialised for a career aboard a cruise liner and Degree level. One may find information on the entry criteria for all our programmes on our prospectus, which may be found on our website – www.its.edu.mt.

Do students acquire on the job training while studying? ITS students not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also receive extensive hands on experience, through the ITS’ practical labs as well as and through a Local Industrial Trade Practice and an International Internship Trade Practice.

What can one do to apply with the Institute of Tourism Studies? Applications will be open between Monday 23rd July and Friday 10th August. Applications will be available online on www.its.edu.mt. For assistance during registration period with the application process and information about the courses, please contact our Career Guidance Officer on guidance@its.edu.mt. Please note that the ITS has moved its campus in Malta to Aviation Park, Aviation Avenue, Œal Luqa LQA 9023 (Ex Air Malta Headquarters).

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360

Degrees Of Coffee

C

offee lovers assemble! MOAK are organising a number of training

sessions for high-quality coffee making here in Malta, and have brought with them international barista and avid coffee aficionado Marco Poidomani. He meets with Matthew Charles Zammit to discuss the difference between a good cup of coffee, and a great one.

For millions of people around the world, coffee isn’t just a normal beverage: it’s a lifeline. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when we wake up, and the source of energy which helps us to keep on going in our jobs. It’s also what we take when we go out with friends, or what we offer our guests in a business meeting. Coffee has become so ingrained in our daily lives that we sometimes take for granted... At least, until someone hits you with a cappuccino so good, you’re forced to recalibrate your taste buds and redefine what makes a good cup of coffee. Marco Poidomani is not just a normal barista. He has spent nearly two decades studying the art of making the perfect cup of coffee. From the various coffee blends, to the perfect temperature of the milk, from the grinder used, to the scales used to measure the amounts used, and so on and so forth. “First of all, you need to be passionate to do this kind of work. You can’t simply do it for financial gain. Only if you pour your heart out, if you work and ensure that every single little detail is just right, can you make sure that the product is well made.” Poidomani was in Malta

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www.mazagafruit.com

Fruit & Vegetable Market, Imports Fruit Section No. 13, Ta Qali, Attard.

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Tel: +356 2143 4668 Fax: +356 2141 8025 June 2018

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MOAK

conducting a series of training sessions with Maltese baristas and shop-owners and is looking forward in delivering these lectures in Malta periodically, as he looks to ensure that as many Maltese people as possible can enjoy a high-quality experience every time they visit a cafeteria. His voyage started eighteen years ago as a cocktail barista, and yet his love for coffee (which goes beyond the standard fashionable with most Italians) remained. “Coffee has always fascinated me. Studying the science behind coffee is not a destination, it’s a journey which never ends. There are always new things to learn and to study, but you need to both study and be passionate about the subject in this line of work. If you’re a person

who isn’t in love with the subject matter and is not ready to study about it, you’re better off in another line of work.” As we discuss the art of making coffee over a cappuccino that he himself has made (which, spoiler alert, was heavenly), Poidomani explained how behind the art, there’s an exact science which is constantly applied. “You need to know the equipment used, the coffee bean used, the process of extracting it, the quantity and quality of the milk used... it’s very important to be

precise. Making a coffee shouldn’t be akin to playing the lottery; sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. There is a way to reach a constant level of high quality coffee. That’s why I am here after all, to teach Maltese baristas on how to reach this level of excellence constantly.” “Many people have this false notion that coffee and milk are two symbiotic components that always work together. In reality, it’s a more cats versus dogs relationship. You need to balance the right amount of coffee with the right amount of milk. And when this relationship is off-balance, most people believe that the coffee is the problem, when the milk plays its part as well.” Brian Said, the MOAK Representative in Malta, said how a larger number of people in Malta are looking for that high-quality coffee experience when they enter a shop. “People are starting to appreciate even more a good espresso and a good cappuccino. Since the demand is increasing, we feel that we need to reach the next level, where drinking coffee should be considered as an experience as opposed to just a mundane task.” “We’ve recently launched our new training centre. In doing so, we’re offering our clients the possibility to come over themselves and, together with our staff, get the training necessary to reach such a high standard on a constant basis.” Said commented that the choice to invite Poidomani wasn’t coincidental: “Frankly, if you don’t bring the best people to teach, you can’t get the desired results. This is something which we intend to start offering it continuously to our clients. We want our customers to come on board with the same idea and philosophies that MOAK has, so that they can transmit this experience to their staff and their clientele. At the end of the day, the MOAK coffee beans can only reach a certain point, as we will not be in the restaurants every day. The baristas are the ones who, at the end of the day, deliver the result to the end user.” This is a point that Poidomani seems to agree with wholeheartedly: “I believe that we need to help everyone to emerge from this mediocrity of ok coffee. This is why I’m here, to share this experience with Malta and the Maltese people.”

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AQUAVIA A New Source of Water

W

hat we drink determines our way of living. It

AQUAVIA natural spring water is sold both in PET

gives us the necessary energy and drive to

bottles as well as 18.9 l bottles (HOD market), designed

grow and develop, be healthy and active,

for use in bottle water cooler systems. These systems

to move, work, play, think and learn. Our drinking

are the most practical solution for water consumption,

habits are also an essential element which determines

both in the office and at home, as they give instant

our moods and our habits. AQUAVIA is a promoter of a

cold and hot water. The water cooler can be offered in

healthy way of living and a proper physical and mental

custody along with a set of custom plastic cups so you

development thanks to its quality bottled drinking water.

can have everything handy. To help you use it correctly, the machine will be accompanied by instructions and

AQUAVIA is a leading company operating in the

recommendations on the sanitation program.

production, marketing and distribution of bottled water.

Tritan is a new material for the HOD market. It is

It sources its water from Romania where hidden among

different from the commonly used polycarbonate bottles

the hills of Transylvania, at the foot of the Apuseni

(BPA) because:

Mountains, lies a forest famous for its Sequoia trees.

• Tritan material does not migrate with water as it is

Their fame is not limited to their external beauty yet also

the case with polycarbonate coated BPA (Bisphenol

for the treasure they conserve below their roots. Indeed

A) bottles.

the Sequoia Valley is the source of AQUAVIA spring water which is so sought after thanks to its taste, clarity and health benefits.

• It contains no polycarbonate and can’t be treated as such. Tritan is softer and more fragile. AQUAVIA is the essence of modern day healthy

The amount of quality water you consume everyday

living. Our mission is to provide customer satisfaction

plays an important role in maintaining a healthy life.

and personal development through the supply of high

The high level of alkalinity of our spring water offers

quality water sourced from the fertile Romanian lands.

a delicate and refreshing taste. You will discover the

In line with our plans for international growth,

benefits of optimal hydration and a unique product

AQUAVIA is now also available in Malta at Dudi's Ltd

resulting from the symbiosis of water and rock layers

El Panadero, in Pitkali Road, Attard. For any queries,

of the earth.

contact El Panadero on 2742 4386 or 21 424387.

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Ttaste Something New he

of

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Interview with

Steve Vella, Head Chef at Lord Nelson

I

n a recent interview with Forbes, Chef Carrie Nahabedian commented, “To stay relevant, you must challenge yourself, your team and this inspires the entire restaurant to be sharp. Change is what keeps clients coming back.” Indeed, Chef Steve Vella felt it was time for a change in Lord Nelson’s menu. It was a time for him and his team to develop a new menu which will challenge the taste buds of local and foreign food enthusiasts. His selection of new delicacies are impressive and reflect his rich culinary background. Each plate is an appreciation of local produce which is presented in various forms and with different combinations. The detail in each plate is breathtaking and highlights the complexity of tastes in each concept presented. Notwithstanding a very busy agenda, Steve took some time off to take us through the new menu and why it is worth a try.

Credits: Sean Mallia

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What’s the key to reinvent an already popular menu? Here at the Lord Nelson Restaurant, we are very much in touch with our roots; what makes the restaurant what it is today, our values, and essentially, our drive for creating something innovative yet delicious and exciting. We adhere to our core value of using only the freshest ingredients depending on what’s in season. In this way our patrons can rest assured that whatever their choice of dish is, they will be getting something that has been passionately thought over and created with the specific ingredients in mind. The ingredients themselves, together with our creativity and thirst for going that step further to create something unique, gives the dishes in our menu a sophisticated twist.

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With which new ideas has the Lord Nelson’s menu been enriched? The unique infusion of flavours and techniques which we use in our dishes is something we always pride ourselves with. Personally, flavour and technique play an essential role in the exciting process of coming up with a new menu every season. Take our Beetroot Spaghetti for example, the process involved to create this tasty delicacy is arduous but equally rewarding. The beetroot is first salt baked and turned into a fine purée. This is then mixed with dough made from flour to create the final spaghetti-like result. Also, when it comes to dietary restrictions, such as being vegan or vegetarian, one needs to go that step further and think outside of the box in


Steve vella

order to create unique dishes equally tantalising without compromising on taste or innovation; such as the rosemary polenta. What are the ingredients that you will be focusing on? Our spring/summer time menu tends to be lighter and more refreshing as opposed to the winter menu. Our new menu includes more varieties of fruit and vegetables, such as the sweet and crisp flavours in rhubarb or different types of potatoes. It is important to strike a balance between the more rich and hearty dishes we have in winter and lighter and cooler dishes in summer. What makes your new menu stand out of the crowd? We thrive off the thrill from creating new dishes, using ingredients otherwise unthought of combining! By combining these unusual ingredients, the resulting innovative dishes set us apart from other restaurants. For example, one of our best loved dishes, the Pan-fried duck breast, is cooked and served with dates, anisette and pickled fennel, a mixture of ingredients not usually associated with this dish, yet works delightfully with the palate. Does summer fit in any way in your new menu? We have some exciting ideas up our sleeve for the summer season and we can’t wait for our customers to try them out! Some of our favourite summer staple ingredients will be on the list, including the fresh, butter-soft burrata cheese, as well as a nice infusion of seabass and prawn to tickle your fancy! And what’s summer without some delicious and intricate ice-cream-based deserts to close of a wonderful meal!? Any recommendation from the menu for a fresh summer dinner? I would recommend the Haddock which is poached and torched served with chorizo froth, crispy chorizo, puffed black rice together with guacamole purée. The chorizo gives the dish abundant flavour which goes down exquisitely with the Haddock while the guacamole purée gives the whole dish a fresh and crisp taste perfect for those warm summer days!

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Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com.mt


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Marketed and distributed by Farsons Beverage Imports Co. Ltd. The Brewery, Mdina Road, Mriehel, BKR3000. For trade enquiries please call 2381 4400


Campari has a strong and rich heritage with more than 150 years of history. Campari is extremely versatile and an essential ingredient for a variety of well-known and loved cocktails. Among the most popular are the Campari Tonic, Negroni and Americano – the last two are listed in the IBA official drinks list. Campari is the No.1 Spirit Aperitif in the world. The brand has a stylish, contemporary and charismatic image. Campari is the driving force behind the bitters trend that’s exploding worldwide. Campari is marketed and distributed by Farsons Beverage Imports Co. Ltd. The Brewery, Mdina Road, Mrieħel, BKR3000. For trade enquiries please call 2381 4400

CAMPARI TONIC Ingredients 1 Part Campari 3 Parts Tonic Preparation Build the cocktail in a balloon glass, filled 3/4 with ice. Garnish with a slice of lime to finish. June 2018 Delicious

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Interview with

Albert

Adria,

Chef & Owner of TICKETS | PAKTA | BODEGA 1900 | NIÑO VIEJO | HOJA SANTA | ENIGMA

T

he Adria brothers are considered by many international food critics as living legends of the global culinary industry. Notwithstanding Ferran, the older brother being much more famous, Albert, the younger, has over the past decades managed to carve his own niche in the industry. Albert has often been defined as a genius and the mind behind several iconic food concepts at the legendary elBulli. David Chang of the New York City based Momofuku empire once commented that, "If Ferran is God, then Albert is Jesus.” Albert is also known for his extraordinary entrepreneurial skills where he displays his wild innovation at elBarri Adrià which consists of six restaurants; Tickets being perhaps the most popular and Enigma the latest addition, commonly hailed as the ‘new elBulli’. Chef Adrià shared with us his philosophy, his food empire and what makes him tick.

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CREATING A Culinary EMPIRE

Credits: Moises Torne

How did your journey in the world of food start? When I was 15 years old, I traveled to Cala Montjoi to work at elBulli where I spent 23 years. For the past 7 years I have been in Barcelona immersed in the elBarri project that now consists of 6 restaurants.   You have recently noted that “A gastronomic revolution takes years, not days.” Can you elaborate? They are cycles, in the 90s a revolution began that today is still valid and that coexists with many truths and ways of seeing cuisine and gastronomy. But we must understand that in no trade there are revolutions every day. In fact, I do not think that this is good either. Now we are in a period of more maturity and I think that the world has never ate so well as in these times.  

It must be difficult to be constantly creating and to always be so “avant-garde”. How do you manage to always be a step ahead of others? To be totally honest, yes it is difficult. Now we are in a more serene creative age and as I said before, there can be no revolutions every day. In the end we have a structure and a method that is designed for a work system based on the continuous evolution of our kitchen. But as I always say, to be creative you need 3 things: money to buy the space, money to buy the time and money to buy the team. You have several successful and different restaurants. Where did you draw your inspiration for each of these distinct projects? With organization and work. Undoubtedly, the fact that they are all close and the wonderful team that works with me is very helpful, then it has a great adaptability capacity to be able to improve on the concept of each restaurant, that is our hallmark of identity as it was in elBulli. We work to be better every day.

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A good gazpacho is the best detox there can be .....

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Albert adria

In a recent interview, you stressed on your interestes on Chinese cuisine and some of its techniques. What attracts you to the Chinese culinary world? I always say that there is no kitchen without product or recipe, in that sense the Chinese cuisine is the most extensive in the world. I am interested in many things that are totally different from what I understand as gastronomy and that once again shows you the different truths that exist. I especially love working with the knife and the wok.   Your brother, Ferran has recently commented that you have the great misfortune of being his brother. To what extent has your brother’s reputation hindered your notoriety?  To begin with, as the older brother, Ferran loves me and protects me, ha ha ... deep down I chose to be in the shadow of

my brother and I never cared. He always reminded us that the successes were joint, the result of teamwork. In fact, I think the greatest success is elBulli, I understand that I still have many things to say with elBarri. What does summer means to you?  Life, joy, colour, freshness ... I love summer and especially the Mediterranean during the summer months. How would you define summer in a plate? A good gazpacho is the best detox there can be ......  Are there new projects that you have on the drawing board or that you hope to do?   We have a new project in the pipeline in New York with José Andrés and in London we will be opening a coffee shop, but it is still too early to reveal more ....

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A to

Interview with

Katia

Caruana, Pastry Chef at Elia Caterers

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P

Hunger

Achieve

assionately involved in the world of pastry Chef Katia Caruana is regarded as one of the rising stars in the industry.The detail in her work is impressive and her flavour and colour combinations are simply jaw dropping. Notwithstanding her achievements at such a relatively young age, she has an inner hunger which drives her to achieve more. It is with no coincidence that she chose Elia Caterers as her next home.The marriage has worked perfectly and her talent blended well with the company's longstanding legacy with the local catering industry. Indeed, she has now been entrusted with the daunting task to find a compromise between the company's pastry traditions and novelties she plans to gradually introduce yet her drive and determination will definitely see her climb the mountain. Katia shared with us her love for pastry, her recent achievements and her plans for the future.


What attracted you to the world of pastry? From a very young age I spent time in my grandmother's kitchen watching her prepare amazing food with her old paraffin stove. Notwithstanding the simplicity of her food, the smell and taste was somewhat special. She was my source of inspiration and it was there where I nurtured an interest in food and pastry. I pursued my culinary studies at the Institute of Tourism Studies and later worked at the Hilton where I gradually focussed on pastry. I later pursued my catering career at The Palace where I was eventually appointed Pastry Chef. That was indeed an important step in my career and I am grateful for the trust they have shown in my talent. I now spearhead the the pastry section at Elia Caterers. The post has offered me an excellent opportunity to constantly challenge my creative mind and perseverance to gradually introduce new concepts. notwithstanding the success and reputation enjoyed by the company on the local market, the new generation is looking at offering fresh concepts to complement the traditional selection. The idea is not to reinvent the wheel but to keep in line with the constantly changing pastry trends and consumer tastes. What are your favourite flavour combinations? I would go for dark chocolate and orange. They blend together perfectly and offer such an amazing taste. What accomplishments are you most proud of? I am proud of what I have achieved today. The industry offered me the possibility to express my creativity and to develop further my talent. It also offered me the possibility to challenge myself and participate in several competitions.

What sweet ingredient do you feel is under-utilised? That is a pretty tough question to answer! The world is a smaller place where every corner is accessible virtually or physically thus lessening the products we are not aware of. The culinary industry has develop substantially and constantly seeks to identify new ingredients to be innovative. I would say that there are very few ingredients which have not been tried and tested in one way or another. How does summer fit into your kitchen? From a work point of view, it is a very busy time of the year which necessitates a lot of concentration. It is the fresh season where fruit is in abundance and fresh products come to the fore. Indeed, it is the time for ice creams, sorbets and granitas. Is there any sweet you would associate with this time of the year? Grilled peaches with a dose of alcohol and thyme. I would also add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which sounds as a clichĂŠ yet is such a dynamic ingredient. What is next for you? Learning is a lifelong process. I hope to have further opportunities abroad where I can expose myself to new trends and develop further my pastry skills.

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/7UPMalta


SHIRLEY TEMPLE

MOCK PINK CHAMPAGNE

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

60 ml 7UP® 1 1/2 tbsp. grenadine syrup Maraschino cherries

375 ml water 125 ml orange juice 500 ml cranberry juice 250 ml pineapple juice 1 ltr 7UP®

METHOD ■ Mix together 7UP® and grenadine syrup. ■ Pour over glass filled with ice. ■ Top with cherries. Best served in a highball glass. Perfect for hot Summer days.

SNUGGLES ON THE BEACH INGREDIENTS 30 ml cranberry juice 30 ml grapefruit juice 30 ml peach nectar 30 ml 7UP®

METHOD

■ Combine all ingredients in a pitcher.

■ Add ingredients in a highball glass over ice. ■ Stir to combine. ■ Garnish with orange wedge and/or cherries.

Best served in a champagne flute. Perfect for birthday celebrations.

Best served in a highball glass. Perfect for brunch.

METHOD

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TOAST, Glorious Toast Interview with

David

Darmanin, Chef - Founder of Pretty F*cking Good Toast - PF*GT

S

ome people might ask, “what’s all this fuss about a toast?” Yet Chef David Darmanin promptly points out that “It’s not just a toast… it is a pretty f*cking good toast!” After a stint at one of the world's best restaurants, Noma, and various experiences in Malta’s leading eateries, David has opened his very own outlet in London which redefines the concept of toast. Indeed, PF*GT takes all the ingredients, skill, finesse and twiddly-bits of fine dining, and serve it up on a portion of loaf that certainly change your perception of toast the very moment you take a bite into it. David left his busy kitchen to share with us his culinary journey and what encouraged him to experiment with the concept of toast.

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Credit: Laure-Helene Dedieu


You are the chef founder of Pretty F*cking Good Toast located in London. What lies behind such a bold name? East London doesn´t mind a sweary brand name and Pretty F*cking Good Toast tends to stick in your head. However it took a while before we could get corporate gigs outside East London or at family-oriented events. When we are present in more formal environments our brand often appears as PF*GT which would have meant nothing to anyone three years ago. Luckily we are now getting increasingly known among food-adventurous crowds in London and lots of new and regular customers are aware of what the acronym stands for. Sean, our marketing guru who´s been working on our brand development since day one, has always maintained that the name delivers a promise of quality with a relaxed yet edgy attitude. I agree. Food can sometimes be intimidating, especially when you tend to include lesser known ingredients in your dishes. The name helps keeping things real.  What does street food mean to you? I could go on for hours about the subject of street food. But probably the best thing about it is that customers will interact directly with chefs - and that´s the most amazing thing that could ever happen to the food industry. At street food stalls, chefs become more understanding of customers´ needs while customers become more empathetic when they see how a professional line works. I´ve observed chefs being less prejudiced against dietary requirements in street food stalls - and that´s because they talk directly to the customer. I´ve also seen customers making an effort to contain themselves from making impossible requests like: "can I have my hazelnut garnish picked from the salad?" They can see how it all works and they wouldn´t willingly participate in disrupting the line or making it harder for people who are clearly there for customers to enjoy great dishes. They´d rather choose a different salad without hazelnuts.

Credit: Stephanie Galea

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DAVID DARMANIN

Credit: Stephanie Galea

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In a recent interview you commented that “toasts so fancy you could wear them on your head at Ascot Ladies Day” Can you elaborate? It doesn´t mean much to be honest. That was a phrase an old friend had come up with when I asked her to describe how our toasts look. Fancy, with a bit of volume and a tad OTT. Last June you showcased Mediterranean dishes at the 32nd Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels at Rockefeller Center in New York City, with the support of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA). Why did the initiative turn out to be a huge success? We were so stoked when we got the phone call from Samantha Sulzer at Citymeals to invite us over for Chefs´ Tribute last year. The event is so well organised that in turning out to be a huge success may be safely taken for granted. We´re looking at one of the most prestigious and well attended charity galas that happen in New York on a yearly basis. You get an odd 1,500 punters paying hundreds of dollars for a ticket, so the expectation is high. But what did make it such a big success for us was definitely the people we worked with.  I asked Nicole Pisani to join me there - one of my oldest friends and the best chef I know here in London. We had the opportunity to work alongside super famous chefs - who were all really amazing humans and we´re still in contact or friends with some of them.  We luckily got help from the MTA to cover part of the cost of ingredients, as the organisational costs were sky high. The U.S. also works very differently with wholesale. None of the suppliers in NYC would offer us any discounts since we obviously don´t have a business registered in the U.S. Luckily a Maltese friend introduced me to an absolute legend there. Chef Denis Franceschini, who owns Bar Italia on Madison Ave, used his influence and contacts with the best suppliers in New York to give great produce at friendlier prices. Denis´ generosity is humbling. It just restores your faith in humanity. 

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VERDI

®

strawberry

SPARKLETINI f sparkletini-malta


DAVID DARMANIN

So in short, without Samantha, Nicole, Michelle, Jonathan and Denis - our presence there wouldn´t have been possible. It´s always been about the people. In what way does summer influence your work? Summer is a fantastic season in London. As soon as the sun comes out everyone is in such a good mood here. I also love cooking with fish and really enjoy being a serial griller on the barbecue - both an unlikely deal in a London winter. We are now planning some great things at one of our pub residencies on Hackney Downs Park with the set up of a barbecue shack outside - serving brunch, smoked meats and picnic baskets in the park. I can´t wait. We also get really busy with special events and festivals in summer, so it´s all crazy and round the clock work. We´re booked at eight music festivals in the coming months after last year´s success at Glastonbury. Besides our usual grilled cheese menu we´ll be having some interesting add-ons at festivals this year - and pastizzi is one of them.  How would you define summer in a toast? With burrata and smoked haddock. All washed down with a good sour beer.  Do you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline? Always. My mum always says "m´ghandekx kwiet f´s...." and she´s right. At a time when there´s a massive chef shortage in London (also due to Brexit), one of the toughest challenges we face as operators is to staff our kitchens properly. We are so lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team who believe in what we´re trying to achieve and work hard to maintain the standards and constantly improve them as we get more established and grow as a business. It´s what gives me the courage to start expanding into new and multiple pub residencies - which shall be our focus in autumn once all the music festivals are done and dusted. 

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Ecosoft now in Malta... its all about water

E

cosoft is an international manufacturer of filters for water purification established back in 1991 in Ukraine and now operating from Germany and Belgium. One of the world’s five producers that provide the full range of products, from domestic to commercial reverse osmosis systems. Through representative offices in Western Europe, they are able to instantly respond to customers’ needs both within the territory of the European Union and coming from any other country in the world. Now, Ecosoft are also represented here in Malta by A&A Mizzi Ltd, a company with years of experience in the installation and maintenance of domestic/commercial filtration systems and are offering the range of Ecosoft high quality systems and filters at affordable to low prices . ‘Water is so important for your health and our aim is to ensure your drinking water is pure and safe all the time ‘ said an Ecosoft company representative. A&A Mizzi Ltd invites you to call on 21488168 for any information on drinking water and systems we can offer for homes and also offices / bars and restaurants.

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Coming

HOME Interview with

Ryan

Gialanze, Chef

I

recently received a call from Carl of Fork & Cork who invited me over to his outlet to introduce me with a good friend of his. He asked me to bring with me a pen and paper as this guy's story was worth to spare an ear to. I was quite hesitant yet felt it was impolite not to accept an invite from a good friend. I texted Carl to at least give me a hint on the name and surname which he replied with the name Ryan Gialanze. Thanks to several reviews and articles, I quickly gathered that Ryan was a heavyweight in the local food industry. Notwithstanding his relatively young age, his curriculum was impressive to say the least. His portfolio included experiences at Rockliffe Hall in Durham, at the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa, at St. Lucia Confectionery and at Guze' Bistro. Drawing upon his experience with Michelin Star hotels and restaurants across the world, Ryan was also recently tasked with schooling the next

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generation of VistaJet cabin hostesses. What initially looked like a courtesy visit was quickly developing into an interesting opportunity to meet one of Malta's culinary ambassadors. We meet on a hot Friday afternoon and Carl quickly introduced me to a bottle of water and Ryan. First impressions are misleading and indeed beyond that rough image lies such an approachable, modern day chef. I quickly set the tone by asking him what encouraged him to pursue a career in the food industry. He points out that "Mum played a fundamental role in my career path. She is a great cook and prepares amazing dishes in her very own kitchen. I was always impressed how very basic dishes including meat broth, pasta, ross il-forn and imqarrun il-forn had such a special taste. Her cakes were not decorated in a finely cut manner but the taste and texture would challenge any leading pastry chef." He adds that "Mum always gave me a free hand in the kitchen to experiment and


test different plates." He insists to also give credit to I asked him what brought him back to the island his grandmother; "Nanna used to give me a blunt knife and he explains that after a stint abroad, it was time to cut parsley; something I still cherish as she taught for him to come back home and test his culinary me the unique feeling of cutting through amazing raw abilities in Malta. He notes that the initial impact was ingredients" surprisingly tough as local consumers still have I ask him which field does he feel most specific culinary habits. He adds that "I feel comfortable working in, to which Ryan frustrated that a certain level of food is still promptly comments that "savoury was not appreciated." always my passion and I feel it is still I read that Ryan had a particular my main strength." Nevertheless, he interest in foraging. He explains Anyone who's a chef, who loves points out that during career path he to me that "foraging is one of the food, ultimately knows that all has learnt to be multitask and thus to most fascinating and enjoyable that matters is: 'Is it good? Does also excel in pastry. experiences. For me, it simply means it give pleasure?' We shift our conversation to his learning about the wild products in experience in the world of food. Ryan your local environment, gathering the Anthony Bourdain explains that after O’Levels he worked in edible ones, and eating them in the most a take away and later followed a culinary satisfying way possible." course at the Institute of Tourism Studies. After It is time to leave yet before concluding I ask Ryan graduating, he joined St Lucija Confectionery as a Chef what are his plans for the future. He smiles and tells me De Partie. "It was there where I learnt the first tricks of "I am here to challenge myself once again. I also want the trade and developed my culinary skills." After seven to challenge the market with my approach and style. I years though he felt it was time for a change and opted am also keen to discover more what Malta can offer for an experience in the catering industry. He admits the from a foraging point of view. I have many ideas in change was not an easy ride as the adaptation was very mind. Time will tell which ones can be implemented." challenging. He notes that the major difference between the restaurant industry and a factory lies mainly in the economies of scale yet this was a difference which he could not adapt to. Following his streak in the catering industry, he decided to seek an experience abroad as a sous chef at the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa at the Tassili Restaurant. He explains that his experience in Jersey was challenging yet at the same time rewarding. "We were short of staff which helped as I had to think out of the box. I also had the opportunity to work with some big names in the industry including Michael Wignall, Gary Rhodes, Martin Blunos and my mentor, Richard Allen." His eyes glow when he mentions Richard Allen. He remarks that "It was a great experience working with him as he pushed me out of my comfort zone. He used to insist that you will only understand the world of food when you are out here.

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Redefining

Food

Interview with

Carlos

Buttigieg, Head Chef at Miro The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness

Joan Miro

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Credit: Sean Mallia


I quickly sent a message to Carlos requesting an interview which he gladly accepted to meet on a Wednesday morning. The restaurant is at the very heart of Paceville on the first floor of The George Hotel. I availed from their free parking and once I made sure to have all my tools handy, I headed straight to the outlet. I was welcomed by Carlos with his signature timid smile. Whilst Carlos prepared a coffee, I decided to walk around to get a better feel of the outlet’s ambience. The place is, modern, chic and with a distinct touch. Miro has that sense of glamour which spells out in the choice of furniture, in the selection of cutlery, in the decor and in the strong presence of glass which gives that unique element of depth and width. Carlos invites me to sit down for a coffee and with his distinct calm voice introduces himself and his connection with the world of food. Carlos notes that “from a very young age, I was attracted to the concept of creating new products with raw materials. I was always impressed how my mum and grandmother’s magical hands cooked amazing dishes with very simple products. I also spent hours watching my food heroes on popular TV shows.” He adds that “it was at that specific point in time that the kitchen was the place I could express my talent.”

Credit: Sean Mallia

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close friend of mine spoke highly about his recent food experience at Miro which I admit piqued my curiosity to know more about the place. I was a bit laid back by the fact that the outlet is situated in Paceville which quickly brought to mind parking nightmares and a lifestyle which today I'm pretty alien to. Notwithstanding my concerns, on-line reviews seemed to make it worth to pay a visit. Thanks to my research I learnt that the restaurant offers free parking at The George Hotel. I also learnt that the master in the kitchen is Chef Carlos Buttigieg. A name definitely not new among food enthusiasts.

It is often said not to judge a book by the cover. The first impact with Carlos can be misleading. Behind the outer crust of a gentle giant, lies a strong, focused and very determined person with such a colourful mind packed with concepts that blow your mind. His philosophy is so avant garde and his work is a statement. His dishes include unconventional marriages which bring together pork and calamari, bone marrow and octopus, and onion roasted sous vide in chicken fat. His philosophy focuses on new ways of dismantling traditional precepts of food, bringing experiential dining to the table. He points out that “I try to focus on local produce. My style is product source based. I have a high respect towards classic cuisine. I like to work on classical tastes and revisit them with a modern approach.” Whilst discussing his food philosophy, I ask him whether he has any food heroes. He points out that he owes much of his achievements to Chef Noel Azzopardi who was such an inspirational figure in his life. On the international front Carlos adores Daniel Humm. “His

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approach in the kitchen is amazing and his personal life is so exemplary. I also follow Tom Sellers. His focus on local produce is impressive.” Our discussion shifts to Miro. I ask him what lies behind the choice of name. “We feel the outlet's character and concept are very similar to the philosophy of the famous artist Juan Miro. He was such a forward looking artist who redefined traditional concepts.” Indeed, along with other Dada and surrealist artists like Jean Arp and Yves Tanguy, Juan Miro explored the possibility of creating an entirely new visual vocabulary for art that while not divorced from the objective world, could exist outside of it. Likewise, the restaurant has a unique character which makes it totally different from other conventional eateries. Carlos points out that Miro brings together the concept of modern and classic which marries with the style of food the they offer. “Miro’s emphasises was on colours which is also present in my style of food. The power of detail and colour can be detected in my plating of cured salmon, in the beetroot textures I use and in a goat cheese mousse puffed with beetroot powder. I ask him to explain the outlet’s gastro concept. He points out that “we bring together allurements of classic combined with a foreign element. Only starters are listed in our menu. Main course is on display.” I ask him what lies behind such concept to which he promptly replies that “I feel that if we stick to a menu, we would be limiting ourselves to a specific set of concepts. The absence of a main course menu gives us the liberty to be adventurous and a unique experience to each client. Essentially, you have a deconstruction of classical recipes not only in the layout but also in the cooking approach.” The open kitchen opposite me catches my eyes and it is inevitable for me to ask why they opted for such a style. He notes that “reputation is key. We are proud of our style of cooking and are happy to show to our clients our ingredients, our tools and our method of cooking. We are bringing the kitchen closer to the client and creating an element of transparency. It also engages much more the client in what is happening. He adds that “our main attraction is our oven, produced by one of the best Spanish blacksmiths which works with coal or wood.”

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carlos buttigieg

Credit: Emma Tranter

Our conversation shifts on the food concepts available at Miro. I explain to him that various critics have commended their DIY beef tartare. I ask him what makes it so sought after by food enthusiasts. He notes that “I emulated Humm’s concept of carrot tartare and applied it to my beef tartare. It consists of freshly-ground meat prepared at the table using a manually-operated meat grinder, shaped by hand, touched up with truffle oil and delicate seasoning, and served with sides of shallots, gherkins, capers and gourmet mustards." We also talk about their famous bone marrow which he proudly tells me they import from Fassona. “It is an aged cow which has a concentration of bone marrow.” In terms of main course, Carlos notes that “the selection of meats and fish changes daily and feature only the best cuts on the market. The meat boards are presented with a bone, split lengthwise, so that the marrow can be scooped up and used as garnish.” No dinner can end without a sweet taste and thus I ask Carlos what would he recommend to finish off the perfect evening. “It is hard to choose. The selection of fine

chocolates and other sweet delicacies are all interesting and worth a try.” Our conversation on food inevitably touches on the summer season. Carlos notes that “summer is a challenging time . We are called to offer lighter and more refreshing dishes yet retain our technical modern cooking touch. Starters change and the trolley service changes during this time of the year. He also notes that “I wish to experiment this summer with some new concepts. One of my novelties will be an unconventional Caesar salad." It is time for me to conclude my interview yet before calling it a day, I felt the need to ask him a final question regarding the future. “This is indeed an exciting moment both for me and the outlet. I feel I can offer more and Miro is the best platform for me to create new concepts. On the other hand, notwithstanding the success of the outlet, I feel the best is yet to come. We are in for very exciting times” It is impressive what gems are hidden in all corners of the island. It is such a pleasure to see local talent play with so many inovative concepts. Malta has a lot to offer and Carlos is a clear proof of Malta’s culinary excellence.

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hen driving out of the noisy and frantic area of Spinola Bay, heading up to the Regional Road Tunnels, lies a gem which brings together the concept of everyday craft bakery and bistro with classical French cuisine and finesse. The place has a distinct character with a unique touch of style, elegance, and exuberance which gives justice to the its name, Manouche. The term Manouche is generally coined to the concept of Gypsy jazz or as it is also commonly known as Gypsy swing or hot club jazz generally accepted to have been introduced by the guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in and around Paris in the 1930s. Movie enthusiasts will definitely remember the sound of Minor Swing in Chocolat. The place contrasts with the modern structures that surround it and rekindles memories of Malta’s old cafeterias on the Sliema front or in Valletta. The place also brings to mind cafeterias you come across in Paris like Café Francoeur, Matamata Coffee bar or Au Bouquet St. Paul. Every client that steps into the outlet is attracted to the colourful displays packed with sweets and savouries ready to be devoured by those who drop in for a bite.

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sweet Melody

Interview with

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Luca Selvaggi Bjorn Attard Co-creators of Manouche

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The sweet section resembles Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory with all sorts of delicacies your mind can imagine. Eclairs, pavlovas, croissant, dame blanche glacée, macaroons, French toast, and doughnuts are just a few items available. Manouche is known for their Choux bombe, Éclair selection, such as salted caramel & pecan, or this seasons peach and vanilla, gianduija croquant, classic summer berry pavlova, pistachio financier with lemon chiboust, macarons selection and their viennoiserie that is baked fresh every morning in small batches. The savoury section is nothing less with a vast selection to choose from including Sourdough English Muffins, Django Breakfast Buns and London Bacon Buns just to mention a few. Without further ado, I ask for Luca and Bjorn who invite me for a coffee. My sweet tooth must have made the news as Bjorn brings over a range of chocolates freshly prepared for me to choose from. Luca and Bjorn are so different yet at the same time complimentary. Luca is the entrepreneur with a clear vision of what he wants to achieve whilst Bjorn is the pastry


genius who creates amazing sweet delicacies. Bjorn has always seen pastry as the medium for him to express his talent. His determination to succeed helped him climb the corporate ladder in a very short span of time. His hunger for knowledge played a fundamental role in his success. Indeed, cookery books and chef biographies served as an impetus of a crescendo to Bjorn’s career. He spent hours

learning from others, researching recipes and testing new sweets. His development is entirely self-made, rooted from his decision to succeed and finally follow his passion. His work reflects his deep research and shows traits of leading patissiers including Dominique Ansel, Antonio Bachour and Christophe Michalak. He is now considered to be one of the best pastry chefs Malta offers.

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to appreciate the power of mass marketing with food. It also offered him the possibility to touch on the high end catering market that Manouche specialises in. Luca points out that above all, Villa Arrigo offered him the opportunity to meet Bjorn with whom he nurtured the dream of having their very own outlet.

If Bjorn is the sweet flavour, Luca is the salt side of the plate. He is considered by many food critics to be one of the best food talents Malta offers. He is an all rounder with amazing culinary skills. Indeed his work is well compared to other leading bakers across the globe such as Duff Goldman. Luca is the Executive Chef and co-creator of Manouche concept. He handles the business development, sales and marketing of the brand. His is the creative aspect of Manouche and its reason for development of the intricate craft work their clients require. His journey in the world of pastry started at the age of seventeen when he developed his culinary skills at Elishout Belgium, Chocolate, Patissiere, Boulangerie & Gardemanger. He later moved to the hot kitchen focusing on tasting menus. Using the discipline and thought process that the pastry elements teach he honed the love for both hot, cold and sweet and ended up using all skills in in tasting menus around Toronto. His jobs in Canada were mainly focusing on tasting menus. He left Canada due to family sickness and returned to Malta, where he was entrusted with the role of Executive Chef at Villa Arrigo. His experience at Villa Arrigo gave him the backbone to handle increased volume, catering sales and 112

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Whilst enticing my taste buds with one of Bjorn’s chocolates, I ask them what encouraged them to open Manouche. Luca promptly tells me that they met 6 years ago and together developed a dream to have their very own bakery. Luca explains that “we wanted to open an outlet which would incorporate the concept of bakery and bistro, focusing on fresh local ingredients.” With a smile he adds that “we finally made it!” He quickly corrects his enthusiasm and points out that “that is actually not the end but rather the beginning of an ambitious project which we want to grow further.” Bjorn notes that “Manouche is our interpretation of food. It is also our expression of childhood food memories. Whilst preparing our sweets, and food, memories come to mind of our time spent in the village bakery or sweetshop round the corner. It vividly rekindles our memories and dreams of food and sweets.” Luca stresses on the fact that “Manouche is not only a bakery but a craft bakery. All products are developed and produced in house.” He also proudly points out that “Margarine does not exist in our vocabulary. All products are prepared without the presence of margarine . This may raise some eyebrows yet our goal is not to work according to the norm but rather to be different and offer a genuine option to clients.” They also point out that Manouche uses only organic flour and grains from a well renowned mill in the UK. Their next step is to open the bistro which they are currently working on. Luca explains that the bakery and bistro are connected yet they are two separate concepts. You cannot have a bistro without a bakery. I ask them about the Manouche’s style and concept. Luca explains that “We came up with a casual feel to make it more approachable and in line with local consumer tastes and habits. We have magnets all around informing people what we have in store and what to watch out for. The menu changes regularly so as to keep our clients on their toes.”


LUCA SELVAGGI & BJORN ATTARD

for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering classical dishes along with local produce. The whole concept of the bistro is affordability and specialty produce cooked with French technique and flair. Bjorn points out that the bistro will offer an interesting selection of food including eggs Benedict and Shakshuka among others for breakfast and Galette du Breton and steak frites among others for lunch. Luca also notes that they are also focusing on vegan options without loosing flavour, texture and technique.

I ask them what to expect at the bakery. Luca notes that “for breakfast we offer an interesting selection of buns, toasts and muffins which includes the Django Breakfast Bun, the London Bacon Bun, the Sourdough English muffins and the Brioche French toast “pain perdu”. For lunchtime we treat out clients with various specials which change seasonally according to our muse of creativity. Lunchtime specials include our Caesar salad with poached egg and large focaccia croutons, our Brioche toast with gruyère and roast ham and our avocado tartine with fennel popped tomatoes.” Bjorn adds that they also have a patisserie counter with a vast selection of gifts and take home pastries. They also launched a crafted afternoon tea which has taken off very well especially with women. I also ask him about the bistro concept which they note seeks to offer an upscale but unpretentious dining option to their clients. They show me the designs and I must say the concept is amazing. Bjorn notes that the Manouche Bistro is their take on a Parisian bistro concept. It will open

Our discussion touches on the summer season. Their eyes glow as this is a time when they can work lighter concepts. Bjorn explains that summer is a time of lighter desserts, sorbets and ice creams. It's a time for patisserie lègere, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream choux buns. From a savoury point of view, Luca notes that summer is a time of lighter breads, flat breads, sourdough focaccias and salads. It is time for me to conclude my interview with Bjorn and Luca. Yet before I leave the shop, I ask them the last question on what are their plans for the future. Luca promptly notes that “our goal is to develop further the brand in Malta and to create a food culture which appreciates the concept of craft bakery. We have several exciting concepts to be launched shortly. We will be launching Malta’s first dessert and cheese bar next winter. It will be opened every Friday and Saturday offering an ever changing menu of plated desserts to share, cheese fondue and much more.” On the other hand Bjorn notes that “the limit is the sky and our achievements are only the first stepping stone in a long culinary journey we seek to embark on.” Manouche is indeed an amazing place. The concept created by Luca and Bjorn is impressive and further highlights the generation of young talent Malta enjoys. Whilst driving out of Spinola make sure to stop by, take a bit before diving into the busy regional road.

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Chasing excellence Interview with

Kevin

Arpa, Executive Chef at St Georges Bay Corinthia Hotel

Tell us more about your career with Corinthia Hotels. How and when did it start? I joined Corinthia Hotels Group as junior chef when I was 18, I trained under the guidance of a number of local and international top chefs, both at Corinthia hotels in Malta and abroad. I studied in several countries including the UK. 114

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I also participated in several events organised by Corinthia, including the Malta Week events. I was also participated in several foreign events organised by Corinthia including Hungarian capital city of Budapest. I also had the opportunity to be part of the team that managed the pre-opening of the famous Massimo’s Restuarant at the Corinthia Hotel in London. I was also the team manager for the Junior Malta National Team of Chefs between 2008 and 2010 and formed part of the judging panel at the Moscow Culinary Kremlin Cup in 2005. I am currently the Executive Head Chef at the Corinthia Hotel in St George’s Bay, a position which I have proudly occupied for the last 10 years. What do you enjoy most about your job? It was always my dream to become a chef and worked hard to become an expert in the culinary art. My family supported my decision and played an important role to


achieve my goal. It is my joy to reinvent and innovate new menus something our guests constinently seek in our dishes. Our guests constantly seek diversity, authenticity and excellence in our cooking, which feeds my passion to amaze everyone’s gastronomic expectations by creating unexpected flavours. How has Corinthia helped your development as a Chef? Corinthia has given me the amazing opportunity to become an expert in my field. It introduced me to many top chefs, both locally and abroad, which for many years helped me master my cooking skills and techniques to the highest standards. To my delight, all this helped me deepen my knowledge, and extend my abilities to exceed expectations. This helped me win several golden and silver medals, in both local and international competitions, both personally, and as part of the Corinthia St George’s gastronomic team. What challenges do you face in your work? Challenges are the daily realities in my job. Being able to rely on my kitchen staff is essential. But the most important is to keep the team’s level of motivation high. constructive and happy atmosphere. However, my biggest challenge as a passionate cook is to be able to successfully translate my creativity and imagination into a dish, thus creating different flavours.

All diners at the Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay have three hours of free parking so as to ensure their lunch or dinner starts in a perfect way. The hotel offers a vast selection of eateries which include the Henry J Beans renowned for its ribs and sports coverage. In summer clients can opt for the Surf and Turf available on Friday Nights and our BBQ nights available every Saturday.

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PERFECT Cocktail

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Credits: Allen & Sarah Hemberger

Interview with

Micah

Melton, Beverage Director at The Aviary

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rant Achatz’s “molecular gastronomy” lounge, The Aviary, has earned a reputation as one of the best cocktail bars in the world. Every cocktail presentation is intricate, complex and often theatrical. Moreover every cocktail is an explosion of colours, flavours and aromas which come together and create such a perfect fusion. The final products are not the work of normal bartenders yet interestingly enough of chefs who use kitchen techniques such as infusion flasks and blast chillers. The main artist at The Aviary is beverage director, Micah Melton who inherited the hot post from the famous cocktail master Charles Joly in October 2014. Since then, Micah has developed further The Aviary’s cocktail menu and strengthened the outlet’s global reputation. We caught up with Melton to talk about how he got his start in bartending, how he has changed the drink lists and his projects for the future.

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micah melton

You are known as the bar industry’s Ice Man. How did you earn such a reputation? We take ice pretty seriously at the Aviary, I was the opening Ice Chef here in 2011, back then we had about 25-30 types of ice at any time. We are usually hovering closer to 40 now. Shapes, flavours, sizes, etc. Ice is so much more than water to us! I read though that you were originally meant to work in the kitchen. How did you shift to cocktails? I started bartending during Culinary school to pay my bills and fell in love with it. The Aviary was a perfect marriage of both of those worlds. What brought you to the Aviary? Exactly what I said above. I ate at Alinea on my 21st birthday in 2007 and fell in love with Chef Achatz's food and mindset. I really wanted to work for him and the Aviary seemed like an opportunity I couldn't pass up. When the opening of the Aviary was delayed, you found yourself working in the kitchen at Alinea. In what way has such experience helped you grow? I learned the culture of Alinea and the standards quickly. The attention to detail is paramount and I wouldn't have had the success I had if I didn't learn some amazing things during my time there... beyond that, I got a fast exposure to Alinea's mindset in terms of presenting food, and we apply a lot of techniques they pioneered or use theirs in our drinks over here. You are the creator and steward of likely the most expansive ice programme ever seen behind a bar. What does ice mean to you? It's the liquid in a soup. We always say why use water when you can use stock. It can make one drink turn into multiples, make something spicy over time, or more fruity, or more bitter. It just adds a more "3d" approach to creating a cocktail. Instead of one drink that is diluting and getting watery as the ice melts, we can evolve it way beyond that. 118

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Presentations have always been key to the experience at the Aviary. What makes your presentations stand out of the crowd? Functionality. We always spend way too much time making sure what we are doing is intentional and adds to the drink. If it doesn't then its just smoke and mirrors and gimmicky. We want our presentation, garnish and technique to actually contribute positively to enjoying your drink. It takes a lot of editing to make sure it's right before it ever goes in front of a guest. Tell us more about The Aviary Cocktail Book. Without gloating too much, it's going to be absolutely epic. The Hembergers (photo, editing, a lot of the writing) are some of the most incredibly talented people we've had working for the Alinea Group. I am so anxious to share it with everybody... it's going to blow people's minds. It's cocktail porn turned up to volume 11! Jaw-dropping photography, honestly. How does summer inspire your creativity behind the bar? I love summer and fall the most. Summer brings bright acid and luscious fruits. Floral flavours. My favourite spirits are lay ups in the summer. Pisco, chartreuse, strawberries, rhubarb, bianco vermouth.... Like every flavour that people say reminds them of summer is something delicious.... Especially in Chicago we finaly get to start seeing what the surrounding farms have to offer... It's too cold a lot of the time in winter and almost spring to really get anything that you can use in cocktails (Not that I wouldn't use a root vegetable in a cocktail) but in summer everything starts to pop. What cocktail would you associate with summer? There's a few. A Daiquiri, a Pina Colada, or a Pisco Sour. Time and a place for everything! What’s next for the Aviary? The good thing is we are always considering what's next. New presentations and techniques, new locations, etc. We have twice the amount of people working for us now because of a second location so we are going to continue to drive to be interesting, fun and delicious while pushing creativity and uniqueness that people have come to expect from us.


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Chocolat Interview with

Mark

McBride, Pastry Chef at Corinthia Hotels

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What attracted you towards the culinary world? My siblings and I lived across the road from what at the time was Malta’s largest restaurant, seating 500 guests. It was only a matter of time that we got a part time job there on holidays and summer. From there, we all went to the equivalent of today’s ITS in Valletta: The Catering School housed in the Mediterranean Conference Centre. I started out as in service then migrated to pastry after nearly 3 years. That was nearly 30 years ago. One other thing worth mentioning is that all 4 McBrides are today working as chefs. We managed to also influence a few of the second generation as well as they have also followed in the trade. What is your philosophy? Everything should be done with the love for the task in hand. Passion for what one is creating is a must. One cannot be creative if it is done without dedication, knowledge and above all skill. I believe that you do not become a chef, you’re born a chef!

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atching Chef Mark McBride work with chocolate is a pleasure to the eye. He is a wizard who with a touch of his magical hands transforms a blocks of chocolate into amazing works of art. His work is impressive and plays on a fine line which ditinguishes real from surreal. His food laboratory resembles the Madame Tussaud museum where each piece of work is perfectly finished with an impressive attention to every detail. His amazing work is the product of an inner passion for chocolate and anything connected to the pastry industry. Chef McBride shared with us that lies behind his love for chocolate, his achievements and his connection with summer.

In a recent interview you attributed your inspiration to “sleepless nights after sixteen-hour shifts in the kitchen.” Can you tell us more about your nocturnal inspiration? Pastry Team is normally in the kitchen as early as 6:15, and if there is a banquet booked on a particular day, it can be as late as midnight when we leave. So imagine a chef getting home at around 00:30, then since you are hungry you eat something and after you’ve got to shower. You might get to bed at about 1:15, at which time you are over tired and most, if not all of your body parts are aching. You can’t sleep, one starts thinking of the following day’s preparation. The next shift starts in 5 hours. It is at times like this that I try to calm myself by dreaming up my show pieces. Some people count sheep to get to sleep, I design my show pieces in my mind. That’s why they are all abstract in style. Sometimes I have to get out of bed to scribble what I had just thought of. A chef’s life is complicated; some say pastry chefs are even worse. What makes chocolate such an amazing ingredient? Chocolate is so versatile and vast, that nowadays we find specialists in Chocolaterie work. It is used in a variety of ways; I choose to transform

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mark mcBRIDE

it into art. Starting with an idea, turning it into a sketch, forming blocks and free hand carving it; it can take up to a year from start to finish. Then after all these procedures we have to fly out the piece to London to display it. Mixing art and food is not simple, how do you manage to find a happy marriage between both elements? Everything chefs create is a form of art. What I do, is old school. Unfortunately it is an art form that is being lost. The reason is due to the high costs of produce used and the time it takes to finish such pieces. Years ago in the local Culinary Shows you could find a very large number of artistic show pieces competing. Nowadays, at the last one held, there were only 10. Hopefully we will get a revival in the art of show pieces in the coming years. I have recently been seeing quite a lot of work showcased on social media done by local chefs. Food and art are one. Everything a chef creates is artistic especially if it is done with love. How does summer fit into your kitchen? It’s like putting an ice cube into an oven. If like us, one is wearing full whites (normally comprising of a t-shirt, 122

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double breasted jacket, trousers, neck tie, two aprons and a dish cloth hanging at the back) then it’s a killer. It’s true that nowadays most places are air conditioned, but for most of the guys it is not pleasant at all. Chefs can drink up to 4 to 6 litres of water in a single shift in summer. I have seen temperatures of up to 50 degrees in a kitchen. How would you express summer in a chocolate sculpture? Seeing my pieces are usually abstract it would a bit difficult to express summer. It would most certainly be colourful as with all my pieces. It will most probably be built around waves and rocks, with clean lines and very well defined. I have never worked on a summer theme before however I’ve done one with nautilus shells and star fish. It’s difficult to answer you; my imagination does not stretch that way. Most probably I will start with a structure and if the block takes me towards summer, then I’ll follow it. You have caught me on one foot here! What’s next for you? Next is Hotelympia 2020, with a show piece that will hopefully get me an award so great that I can retire from international competitions on a high note.


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SUGAR Spice

Interview with

Horace Micallef, Head Pastry Chef at The Pastry Park

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he local culinary industry is certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to talent. Local culinary outlets pride some of Malta’s finest and most exciting pastry chefs one of which is Chef Horace Micallef. Indeed, Horace is an offspring of this new generation who is taking the concept of pastry to the next level. He is an artist who makes wonders with a pinch of sugar and flour. His work connotes his strong interest in colours and textures, his curiosity as to how elements might work together, and his sense of inspiration in simple elements which serve as a basis for his works of art. Horace shared with us his interest in pastry, his heroes in the food industry and his goals set for the years to come.

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Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming the pastry chef you are today. It started at a very young age when I enjoyed helping and watching my grandmother preparing sweets. Since then it continued to grow and at the age of 16 I followed a course in culinary studies at the Institute of Tourism Studies in Malta. Following my studies, I worked in a leading four star hotel in Malta and later earned various professional experiences in several five star hotels in Malta and even abroad, specifically in Spain. It was an amazing experience as it helped me grow independent and earn the necessary experience in the world of pastry. I believe it is essential for any pastry chef to work abroad so as to come across different cultures and techniques. I also spend a lot of time researching, attending courses in Malta and also abroad which helped me boost my career further. Do you have any pastry chef heroes? It is essential for any pastry chef to have an inspirational figure. It helps you develop a clear vision. I do follow with special attention the work of leading French and Spanish pastry chefs. What is your favourite ingredient to work with? I would definitely go for chocolate. It is such a versatile ingredient that offers you the possibility to create various textures such as mousses, cakes, pralines, ice-creams and loads of other concepts. I love creating chocolates with shine and design effects. Chocolate helps my brains go into relax mode. What do you see as the new trends in pastry? I am currently following gluten free desserts. There is an increasing demand for such product from clients with dietary conditions. Such products offer a huge challenge as you need to create an attractive and tasty final product out of a gluten free ingredient. What attributes do you feel are the most important to be a good chef? You need to be able to accept criticism. A criticism is an opportunity to learn and improve yourself so as to develop further in your career.

How does summer fit into your work? Summer provides us with an abundance of fruits which can develop into amazing ice-creams sorbets, parfaits and much more. How would you portray summer in a sweet? I like to combine sweet elements with refreshing ingredients such as persimmon with fresh mint and limes, or white peach with raspberry and champagne. They go very well together. Any plans for the coming months? I want to develop further my skills and plan to work on new projects, on new concepts and to make the best out of foreign experiences in leading kitchens.

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Interview with

Trevor

Portelli,

Executive Chef at Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko

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n a recent interview, Anthony Bourdain noted that "you learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together." Indeed it is. I recently met Trevor Portelli, one of Malta's local talents who is making a name abroad, precisely at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko. For those not familiar with the place, Bansko is a popular ski resort town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains at an elevation of 927 m above sea level. I always wondered how such a small island has so many food talent making wonders in the kitchens of eateries situated in every corner of the planet. Little did I know that Malta's food legacy has its food print in Bulgaria.

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I met Trevor at The Westin Dragonara Resort in St. Julians over a bite to get to know more about his story and what led him to venture abroad. Trevor is bold, sharp and with a clear determination to succeed. His ambitious drive is evident from his tone of voice, from his shake of hands and from his posture. Born in Gozo, he was brought up in a family were food was the talk of the day and were utensils are referred to as tools to create simple yet extraordinary delicacies. Trevor points out that "my father's kitchen is always busy with pots and pens everywhere. In every corner of his kitchen you will find some freshly baked biscuits or some soup just ready to be devoured by the family." He adds that "it was with no coincidence that I gradually nurtured an interest in food. At a very young age I realised that cooking was my natural choice of career path." He


quickly developed an interest in cooking and started experimenting with some of his father's recipes. This phase did not come without a cost. Trevor jokingly notes that "there were cases where my family feared for their life yet jokes apart, it is through mishaps that you grow and develop." Following his home food experiments he followed a course at the Institute of Tourism Studies. The studies focused on theoretical and practical aspects of the culinary industry. The course emphasised on the classical cookery school, coupled with supervisory skills and management responsibilities.It was there where he learnt the necessary skills to work in local and foreign eateries. Whilst following the course at the Institute of Tourism Studies, he gained his core training at Ic-Cima restaurant in Xlendi. After successfully graduating he moved to the UK to work at the Hilton. Trevor later returned back to the island to work as a junior sous chef in the busy kitchen of the Kempinski Hotel in San Lawrenz. He notes that "my nearly five year

stint at the Kempinski was such an amazing experience which notwithstanding the ups and downs, played a critical role to develop my own skills. It was in that busy kitchen where I learnt the sense of discipline and rigour. It was there where I learnt the need to adopt a multi task approach." Following his experience at the Kempinski in San Lawrenz, the winds of change called on Trevor to seek a new challenge in his career path. His inner entrepreneurial instinct encouraged him to take the plunge and try his luck as chef patron at La Grotta Kitchen in Xlendi. However his attraction to the hotel industry never faded away and a year after decided to move back to the Kempinski Hotel as an Executive Sous Chef and later as an Executive Chef. Trevor continued to successfully lead the kitchen of Kempinski until the big day came when he was offered the post of Executive Chef at the Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena in Bansko. This was indeed an opportunity of a lifetime which he accepted.

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TREVOR PORTELLI

I ask him about his style of cooking which he points out is focused on detail, colours and taste. "Every plate must tell a story of its ingredients and method of cooking." Our discussion shifts on to his food hero which he promptly notes to be Chef Massimo Bottura. "Bottura is a revolutionary force in the culinary world. He cooks food that’s about Italy and family and history and memory and art, yes, but ultimately his eclectic platings and flavour combinations reflect the miasmic workings of his own mind." I recently read about his strong interest in local produce and local food traditions. I ask Trevor about the current shift favouring fresh local ingredients. He points out that, "When fresh food is in season and ripe off the vine, there's nothing more delicious. People love to savour the genuine wholesomeness that comes from fresh ingredients. Fresh foods deliver a bright, lively experience that can be just as addictive as salt, sugar, or fat. What’s even more habitforming is the feeling you get when you’re eating well, which most people love maintaining by making healthy choices day after day. Fresh foods are healthier, taste better, and are visually more alluring on the plate." He also adds that there is an increasing trend favouring products which for a long time where shelved. He points out that there is a current "reconsideration of several ingredients such as the lampuka (dorado fish), pork cheeks, kirxa (tripe), oxtail, ox tongue, and mazzita (Maltese black pudding). It is all in the way we reevaluate our product and in our ability to serve it in different ways which ultimately makes the difference. Indeed we have seen a reconsideration of baccala in Portugal and cod in England."

Paolo Bonnici Ltd Marsa Tel: +356 21239363 www.paolobonnici.com.m

I realise that time flew and I am late for my next meeting, yet before leaving, I felt it was opportune to ask Trevor what are his plans for the future. With glowing eyes, he promptly notes that "the future is hard to predict. I have learnt over the past years that notwithstanding our plans, we come across a number of unexpected opportunities which change our momentum of growth. I definitely never imagined such an exciting journey in the world of food!"

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For the

LOVE of COOKING Interview with

Shawn Borg, Chef Patron at Rebekah's

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ucked away in a random residential street in Mellieœa lies one a of Malta’s major culinary exponents. Rebekah’s has over the past years entertained locals and foreigners with amazing food which is predominantly characterised by a simplistic touch that seeks to exalt the high quality ingredients used in every plate prepared. The architect behind such a prestigious outlet is Chef Shawn Borg who with his creative flair and eye for detail entices the taste buds of each client that enters his outlet. We took the opportunity to discuss with Shawn, the secret behind the outlet’s success, his intimate relationship with food and his interpretation of summer.

What attracted you to the world of food? From a very young age, I was attracted to the world of cooking and showed a strong interest in discovering flavours.  My time spent in my mother's kitchen and in my father's butcher shop influenced my determination to become a chef.  At the age of 11 I changed school so as to have the opportunity to follow home economics as it was the only subject I was interested in.  Like an artist loves to draw, I love to cook.

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Local food critics have often described your dishes as a game of colours and flavours. To what extent do you agree? When it comes to flavours, I like to keep things simple and avoid overcomplicating things.  Colours are secondary to flavour but the first impression of a plate is very important. As the saying goes; “you eat with your eyes first.” I like to try and match the visual aspects of a dish with taste so as to ensure a holistic experience.  Nevertheless, flavour always comes first.


Reading through several reviews, I was struck by one comment which described Rebekah’s Restaurant as a “must do culinary experience.” What makes the place so sought after? The restaurant itself is beautiful and sets the tone for a quality dining experience.  We are a strong team of people who are all extremely dedicated and we genuinely love what we do.  This factor is spelt out in every dish presented and customers can feel it.  Where possible we use the finest and freshest ingredients prepared without too much fuss. We seek to let the produce speak for itself.  We are constantly striving for excellence and looking for areas where we can improve.  In addition, the tucked away quiet location makes people feel that they have 'discovered' the restaurant which makes it a bit more special. Mellieœa is gradually developing into an eatery location with several leading restaurants all situated in the area. What makes the village so singled out by the local gastronomic industry?  Mellieœa is sought after by locals and foreigners. It is a tranquil village which offers various dining options of a certain high standard.  There is a more relaxed ambience and the restaurants are often smaller so when you are not catering to huge numbers you can spend more attention on the details and make the cuisine special.  We welcome the healthy competition in the area because Mellieœa is an elegant night out as a dining destination for the local clientele and at the same time, tourists visiting the area have a fantastic range of restaurants to choose from during their stay. What does summer mean to you from a culinary point of view?  With the arrival of warmer weather we tend to switch to lighter dishes using fresher ingredients.  We move away from braising, stewing and preserved vegetables and use more techniques of grilling, steaming and crisp greens.  The ingredients available are more diverse and we can experiment with different textures.

Do you have any signature dish you would associate with this time of the year? For me the tuna season is just starting and there are so many different dishes that you can make with fresh tuna.  It's a unique, red meat fish that is so versatile.  Carpaccio, tartare, steaks, pasta...the choices are endless and I look forward to using some on the menu and daily specials in the coming months. Any plans for the future?  No big plans for now - we have been at Rebekah's for 3 years and it is still very exciting and absolutely my main focus.  I am always setting new targets for myself and create challenges as I go.  I believe that the day you stop dreaming is the day you can leave the kitchen.

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Classic Spaghetti al Vongole (clams)

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Chef Noel Palmier MUNCHIES

ingredients 150 grms. Dry spaghetti 15 pcs. Fresh vongole 2 Cloves chopped garlic 5 grms. Fresh chili 50 grms. Cut cherry tomatoes 50 ml. Fish stock 3 Table spoons extra virgin olive oil 2 Knobs of butter Seasoning with rock salt and crushed pepper corns

METHOD ď Ž Boil spaghetti for 8 minutes (at al dente stage), prepare a hot pan with the olive oil, add chopped garlic and cut cherry tomatoes. After 1 minute of heat add the fresh vongole and gradually add the fish stock, stir continuously until all shells are open (if shells don’t open after all ingredients are hot remove closed shells). Add cooked pasta with all ingredients in the pan and toss all ingredients for approximately 2 minutes. Add fresh chili and parsley while tossing. At the end add the knob of butter to obtain a shiny result.

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MUNCHIES

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Duck Breast set on Mediterranean vegetables drizzled with plum purée…

ingredients 250 grms. Female duck breast 150 grms. Mixed mediterranean vegetables 2 table spoons Extra virgin olive oil 20 grms. Orange zest 150 grms. Fresh plums 50 grms. Sugar 25 ml. Fresh orange juice Seasoning with rock salt and crushed pepper corns

METHOD Preparation for Duck Breast  Remove excess fat from duck breast and on top side/ presentation side, with a sharp pointed knife score the breast by forming a criss cross affect (this will help cooking process), season both sides. With rock salt and crushed pepper corns and add orange zest. Prepare a hot non-stick pan and place the duck breast (top side/presentation side on heat first). Cook for 2 minutes per side and remove from heat. Place on a tray and put the duck breast in a preheated oven (175˚C) for 10 minutes. This should have a medium temperature (pink colour). Preparation of Mediterranean Vegetables  Cut chosen vegetables to your likings and in a bowl toss in extra virgin olive oil together with classic seasoning. Preheat same pan you roasted the duck breast and add vegetables. Pan roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until you have a nice golden colour on all vegetables. Preparation of Plum Sauce/Purée  Peel clean plums and cut into cubes. In a hot sauce pan, place plums and blend in orange juice gradually and add sugar. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until plums are soft. Put aside to cool and blend until you create a purée texture. Suggested plating  On a round plate place Mediterranean vegetables. Slice the rested duck breast and place on top of the vegetables. Drizzle with plum purée.

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love Gozo love food enjoy Country Terrace

Lounge Bar & Restaurant Zewwieqa Str, Mgarr Gozo - Malta T: 2155 0248 M: 9944 6833 E: info@country-terrace.com 136 June 2018 Delicious

Enjoy the serenity of our lovely 'fliegu' and indulge in our exquisite menu. Mouth-watering dishes using only the freshest ingredients together with a fine wine selection from our cellars all yours to enjoy a truly unique culinary celebration.


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Mushroom GRATIN ingredients 200g Button Mushrooms 10 medium size cloves of garlic Pinch of parsley 50g Double Cream 30 cl Wine Chardonnay A shot of cognac 20g Grated Parmesan cheese Pinch of salt and pepper 10g English parsley 10cl Extra virgin olive oil

METHOD  Cut the button mushrooms into two or three pieces. In a medium size pan preheat the extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until they turn slightly golden. Blend in the wine and simmer until sauce reduces.  Add the Teriyaki sauce and then flame it with cognac. Stir

in the double cream, a pinch of parsley and salt and pepper.  Place the mixture on a small egg dish and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese on top.  Place the egg dish in a 220˚C preheated oven, bake for about 10 minutes until top is golden.  Sprinkle with English Parsley and serve warm.

10cl Teriyaki Sauce

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DEVON,

Finest Quality Biscuits Devon premium crackers are a light and crispy cracker, which use the finest Mediterranean ingredients such as black olives and olive oil, or seasalt and black pepper. Excellent for dipping with your favourite toppings or just snacking. Whether friends are gathering to party or an evening for two, the key to casual celebrations is good wine and great food. Both Devon premium crackers make the perfect start when it comes to entertaining. Our premium crackers are very filling and you can add different toppings to create new flavours. Here are 2 easy and delicious ways to turn Devon premium crackers into a perfect lunch.

Sliced Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Your salads fix solution. Top your cracker with thin slices of tomato, mozzarella and fresh Basil.

Goat Cheese, Fresh Figs, and Balsamic Drizzle For those times you want something on the sweeter side. Spread on a layer of goat Cheese, top with sliced fresh figs, and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.

Please visit www.cbiscuits.com or join us on Facebook for more information. Devon, finest quality biscuits.

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WA look at

ine Feature

Food and Wine pairing Reno Spiteri, ACWP., CCTP., BBA (Project Management). Certified Wine Professional Certified Culinary Travel Professional Professional Member of the Society of Wine Educators (USA)

There is nothing better than a glass of well-chosen wine with a plate of well-prepared food. Food and wine matching is a case of finding what works and what doesn’t in the flavour combination field. Everything is a matter of taste and this is a very subjective topic. No one can tell anyone else, exactly what to drink with their dinner. However, one can guide on what does not really work, as well as on what might reasonably work, but the final decision is always the consumer’s.

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As a restaurant reviewer and quality assessor, I am regularly consulted to review restaurants’ wine lists as well as to compile or advise on a suitable new wine list, both for new restaurants as well as for existing entities. Invariably, I see numerous wine lists which have so many wines listed that it doesn’t make sense. The wines listed, sometimes have no actual bearing on the restaurant’s concept and the food on the menu. This is apart from the fact, that we sometimes come across waiters who do not


have a clue on what wine is stocked by the restaurant, let alone knowing how or what to recommend or suggest with the food ordered by the client. Once I am consulted on this issue, the first thing is to have a meeting with the chef, the manager or the owner, see the preparation of the main dishes and taste them when possible, get informed on the type of clientele that goes there; check the cellar or storage spaces for capacity and ambience; and finally formulate a budget with the clientele and concept in mind. These issues all help towards formulating a good wine list which pairs and complements the chef’s take on the cuisine that he and his team are planning to serve. There is a huge difference in the wine requirements of different restaurant concepts, and what is good for one restaurant might not be good for another. Fine dining restaurants specialising in culinary art; up-scale premiumised informality restaurants; casual dining restaurants; steakhouses; fish and seafood restaurants; pizzerias; ethnic restaurants using different cooking techniques; general restaurants that cater for the mass market; special concept restaurants - tex mex, burger joints; etc., all require tailor made, wine lists compiled after due consideration of all aspects by a professional. Food-wine pairing is also very important and essential for food cooked at home, whether one is cooking for the family or when entertaining friends, although this might be easier to do than compiling a good restaurant wine list. In all cases, one has to remember the old adage that wine and food must enhance the flavours of each other so that the meal is completely enjoyable. As one is prone to realise, there are hundreds of different food preparations and combinations with thousands of different ingredients. The same apply to wine. There are so many questions one had to ponder before choosing a wine: an Old World wine mainly

from France, Italy or Spain, (Portugal, Hungary, Austria, Greece and Germany also fall under this category); or a New World wine from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile or Argentina as examples? What is the preferred wine body? Light, medium or full bodied? Red , rosé or white? Still, sparkling, dry or sweet? Then again especially in the case of Old World wines, once the country is selected, from which region within that country are we looking at? Italy itself has over twenty major wine regions, each growing their own indigenous grape varieties, from which they produce millions of litres of wine every year. Which grape varieties are we looking at: The International grape varieties that are known to everyone and grow everywhere: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? Or are we venturing outside our comfort zone, with the superlative varietal wine of Italy and Spain? For home, food-wine pairing, one can sort out the issue easily by stocking a few bottles of different types of wine. A few varietals pop up in my mind such as a quality Sauvignon Blanc – that is a good, crowd pleasing, refreshing, dry and citrusy white grape; a top Rioja Viura or a California or Australian Chardonnay with their green apple, crispy flavours; Italian whites are also numerous. For the reds one can stock a few bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Italian reds are also exceptional as well as Spanish Rioja Crianzas and Reservas, all of which can offer great value for money. One has to be a bit adventurous when selecting wine, and my advice is always to steer away from the cheap offerings. Quality wine, as in everything else, comes at a cost, but with good advice, one can select some really good wine varietals at very good value for money. Cheap is not necessarily good value for money in wine terms, always remember this adage. Let’s now make a few suggestions on some very popular food preparations which can be done at home as well as those that can be found in restaurants:

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Barbecues:

It will soon be the season for the popular, outdoor Summer barbecues. A multitude of male home-cooks, would be seen, to cook on a relatively out-of-control, slightly flammable barbecue, trying to get the meat cooked right, the sausages to remain crunchy but unburned, and the chicken or fish steaks cooked through. This, combined with smoky sauces, marinades, various condiments, and other stuff, all contribute for as flavour packed occasion. So now we come to the hundred dollar question. What wines do we buy? For white wine, we are spoilt for choice here. Lightly oaked Chardonnay, Spanish Rioja Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano di Avellino, a good Gavi well chilled all pair well as they are refreshing. For the reds, one can select a good Rioja Crianza, Merlot, Carmenere from Chile, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon or even a good Pinotage from South Africa. For barbecues, one does not have to spend a lot of money on wine selections, but nevertheless, a choice of medium priced brands is recommended.

Beef:

There are numerous different beef dishes in existence around the world. Red wines are predictably the order of the day with beef, and just the body of the wine comes into question to determine the accuracy of the pairing. Prime roast beef requires the utmost respect, with a pairing of a choice of superlative wines from different countries and regions to select from. Red Bordeaux; Rhone Valley wines; CĂ´te-RĂ´tie; Hermitage; from France; Vinedos Singulares 100% old vine Temranillo from Rioja, Spain; A Super Tuscan such as a Tignanello, Sassicaia; Orneliana; and others of the same ilk; will do wonders for prime roast beef. On a cheaper scale, of course there are many choices of very good red wines: Rioja reserve and Gran Reserva wines; Primitivo de Manduria; Amarone; Valpolicella Ripasso; Pinotage from South Africa.

Antipasti: The classic Italian mixed platter, or even the Maltese oriented platter with prosciutto, bruschetta, olives, marinated peppers, dried tomatoes, pepper cheeselets, mozzarella balls, cheeses, etc., can be serenaded by

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lightly chilled Italian reds like Valpolicella, Bardolino, Chianti Classico, or a good refreshing white such as a Pinot Grigio, Flanghina, Fina di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Gavi, Roero Arneis and others.


Asian Fusion:

Fish and Seafood:

This concept seems to be taking-off in popularity globally, and Malta is no exception. In Asian Fusion cuisine, chefs try to juggle the freshest land and sea ingredients which are weaved with Asian spices. The cuisine is virtually fat free and is packed with zesty flavours. Wine pairings for Asian Fusion cuisine would be once again the ubiquitous Savingnon Blanc; Pinot Gris; unoaked Chardonnay; un-oaked Rioja Viura; as well as Pinot Noir for the reds would pair well.

Red wine for red meat: Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot – Saint Emilion or Pomerol; Syrah or Shiraz; Barolo; Barbaresco; Brunello di Montalcino; etc. Beef steaks: Fillet, rib-eye, ribbon on the bone; sirloin, can be paired with anything red. Of note would be a good Barbera D’Alba or D’Asti; Côtes du Rhône; Dolcetto; Rioja Crianza; Cabernet; Merlot; Syrah. A top Valpolicella Classico will also pair well.

The flavour intensity of fish depends not only on the type of fish one is cooking or ordering from a restaurant, but also, crucially on how it is cooked. The general rule is, the milder the flavour, the lighter the white wine should be. The richer the flavour, the heavier the white wine. One has to consider the fact that poaching and steaming, that is “al cartoccio: or “al umido”, are gentler and literally non-taste altering ways of cooking fish. Grilling, searing, frying and baking or roasting all part distinctive charred or caramelised nuances to the fish flesh. Further ingredients used in the cooking technique such as lemons, capers, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, white wine and various herbs, have to be taken into consideration when pairing wine. Pairing a decently good white wine with fish needs some thought, but it is generally a subjective conclusion and selection from the Italian, French and to a lesser extent from the Spanish whites. Selections of white wine, albeit of French origin, from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa as well as from California and Chile are also good. Fresh tuna, served seared and red, is the odd-man-out in fish as this requires fresh, light reds such as New Zealand or Alto-Adige Pinot Noir, or a chilled real grape rosè; Beaujolais; Cabernet Franc; Côtes du Rhône; Grenache; Châteauneuf-Du-Pape. Unoaked Chardonnay will also pair well. For seafood such as crustaceans – lobsters, king prawns, crabs; scallops; molluscs – mussels and other shell fish, due to the iodine content in these species only white wine is suitable. Good pairings would be Chablis; Sancerre; Chardonnay; Muscadet; Viura; Vouvray; Riesling; Gavi; Roero.

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Desserts:

No meal is complete without a good dessert. It is to be noted that dessert wine selected must be slightly sweeter than the dessert being served for normal sweetness. The wines would include: Moscato D’ Asti; Passito; Tokai; Vin Santo. For very sweet desserts, we have to change the choice to a chilled semi-dulce dessert wine to settle the stomach from the sweetness. Other wines suitable to pair with desserts are: Champagne – demi sec; doux or sweet. Cava or Prosecco; Ruby or vintage Port; Sweet Riesling; Sauternes; Bracchetto for chocolate desserts.

Enjoy your food, and enhance with a good quality, decent wine. Spend some money on good, medium priced wines, purchased from good wine shops or enotecas. You need your wine to bring out the best in your food, which in turn can give you one of the most enjoyable sensations and experiences of good living and a good life style – Good food and great wine. 144

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choose A cAreer in the tourisM And hospitAlity industry.

ITS, Aviation Park, Aviation Avenue Ħal Luqa LQA 9023 T: 2379 3100 | www.its.edu.mt

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