“The menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine using the freshest ingredients, featuring some distinctive dishes prepared by me in a refined, but relaxed setting,” Chef Vella said.
Launching The Golden Fork is the realisation of a long-held dream by Chef Vella. Vella, who grew up in Malta, credits her family’s love and respect for quality and tradition as being the driving force behind her culinary career. She completed her studies at Malta’s Culinary Institute, but then moved to the UK to develop her style and technique. Vella’s culinary skills blossomed working under world-renowned celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal at two of his restaurants, first working as an intern at The Fat Duck (three-Michelin), and then later as a Chef de Partie at Blumenthal’s Dinner by Heston (two-Michelin).
“Chef Heston enables you to develop your love for cooking to a whole new level given that he himself specializes in gastronomy,” Vella said.
Vella counts her internship at The Fat Duck as one of the highlights of her career, since working alongside some really talented chefs enriched and elevated her culinary expertise. All the same, she certainly had to push herself, as the level of discipline expected from starters at Michelin-starred restaurants is extraordinary.
“The level of pressure that comes with the job was unparalleled, but I was driven by the satisfaction and experience I obtained on a daily basis,” Letizia explained. “This experience nurtured my culinary repertoire and helped me increase the knowledge gained through my earlier studies.”
Following her stint in the UK, Vella returned to her roots in Malta, where she worked at several prominent restaurants on the island, including Barracuda, Root 81 and HSixty6, before opening The Golden Fork. Letizia told Horeca: “The Golden Fork tells its story through an ever-evolving menu of seasonal dishes, carefully prepared by our experienced team,”
One of the challenges that she has had to overcome is being a female chef in a male-dominated industry. Yet, she says that while a gender gap still exists in the industry, the perception towards female chefs is slowly changing. The future looks bright for other women aspiring to be chefs and allowing their culinary and creative sides to thrive in restaurant kitchens.
Vella’s own journey is a testament to breaking the stereotype of mainly-male chefs. This young female chef has taken her love for cooking to new heights with the opening of her own restaurant in Attard.
As she looks ahead, Vella hopes to keep cooking and running her restaurant – bringing to the table what she does best – great food, created with fresh ingredients, style and passion.