There is no denying that local produce is tasty, full
of character and fresher than any other imported
product due to the very short distance it has to
travel from field and farm to fork.
The produce is picked and delivered for
distribution within a few hours rather
than travelling in temperature controlled
containers, stored and distributed to
the wholesalers who will in turn
store it and distribute it to our restaurants.
However there is a small issue with the
local produce in grading which could
put Chefs off from using the local
produce against the imported one.
To sacrifice taste and quality for
grading is definitely an issue which
needs to be addressed so that
the local Chefs can prepare more
dishes utilising Malta and Gozo’s
local produce - creating a situation
where both sides can benefit.
Another issue to tackle is the variety of local
produce available. The ever increasing trend of dining
out requires that the dishes prepared and presented are
varied in presentation and ingredients. Although seasonal
produce is always best to consume, it has to be said that
traditionally farmers prepared the mainstay produce which fuelled the locals.
However there is also the fact that
Malta has become a touristic destination and therefore
the production of produce for this industry cannot be
ignored. It is also a fact that we can enhance the stay
of our guests through culinary experiences prepared by the fruits of the land.
This will give a holistic and unique
experience to the tourist as taste is also a sensory
element which people tend to remember
many years after the experience. Both
players of this experience need to
communicate more in how and
what is required to develop a
synergy in the production of
food which will end up on our
tables. The Chefs, without any
added difficulty, should be able
to prepare local produce and
promote the local freshness with
their experience and talent.
Having said that, additional effort
to use and promote local produce will
no doubt have a benefit on the quality and
taste of the dishes prepared. If both the Chefs and
the producers are able to better understand what they
can do to enhance each other’s business, both will
benefit from a higher standard and quality served to our
Dr Paulino Schembri D. Prof, MSc. (UCLan) is a food safety
management systems consultant specialising in HACCP, working
for the local industry. He is a lecturer at the University of Malta,
University of Central Lancashire and Coordinator of the Master
Chefs Diploma at the Institute of Tourism Studies.