Maria Sammut, the acclaimed Chef Patron of MICHELIN Mention Fifty Nine Republic, has established herself as a culinary force to be reckoned with in the vibrant city of Valletta.
Her dedication to excellence, passion for her craft, and commitment to delivering exceptional dining experiences have earned her numerous accolades, including being named last year's WRMC Chef of the Year. Maria shares insights into her journey, the inspiration behind her cuisine, and the secrets to maintaining consistency amidst a bustling culinary scene.
Receiving the prestigious title of WRMC Chef of the Year has been a transformative experience for Maria and her team at Fifty Nine Republic. Reflecting on the recognition, Maria expresses her deep gratitude, stating, "To be awarded Best Chef as a female in an industry that is predominantly male-led holds special importance and is undeniably a career highlight."
The accolade has not only brought recognition and prestige but has also served as a source of immense pride for Maria and her entire team.
Maintaining the same level of excellence that earned her the WRMC Chef of the Year award is no easy feat, especially for a bustling restaurant like Fifty Nine Republic. However, Maria emphasises that their commitment and dedication have always remained unwavering. "Our commitment to delivering exceptional service has never been an arduous task but rather an act of creative expression and a privilege that is not lost on us," she affirms.
Fifty Nine Republic has gained a reputation for its exceptional cuisine that garners high praise from both diners and critics. Maria's culinary style is rooted in simplicity, where she believes that the true essence and intricacies of a dish should take center stage.
"Ultra-fine dining doesn't always equate to exceptional cuisine," she explains. Instead, Maria focuses on consciously infusing her Mediterranean roots with influences from French classics and, more recently, oriental flavours and structures.
Chef Maria Sammut, Chef Patron at 59 Republic
Managing the demands of a busy kitchen while maintaining consistency in quality and presentation is a testament to Maria's leadership and the exceptional team at Fifty Nine Republic. Maria acknowledges the pivotal role her team plays, stating, "We are very fortunate to have secured a team of almost 30 people who all take an astounding level of pride in their craft."
Their dedication, passion, and synchronicity allow Maria to step away from the kitchen, interact with guests, and provide the tailored service that has become the restaurant's trademark.
Valletta boasts a rich and diverse culinary scene, and competition is fierce. However, Fifty Nine Republic continues to stand out as a sought-after dining destination. Maria understands the nature of their environment and acknowledges the constant evolution of the culinary world.
Recently, the restaurant underwent a rebranding process, ensuring they deliver their experience in the most exciting and relevant way possible. "We respect our guests and will constantly adapt to offer them a dining experience that is unique and current," Maria affirms.
Partnerships with local suppliers and culinary professionals have played a crucial role in the success of Fifty Nine Republic. The restaurant places great importance on sourcing high-quality ingredients, with a focus on locally produced goods. Recently, a partnership was formed with a hydroponic and organic farm, ensuring a consistent supply of pesticide-free fresh vegetables and produce.
Sustainability is also a paramount consideration, reflecting the restaurant's commitment to responsible practices.
As a role model for aspiring Chefs, Maria shares valuable advice for those looking to make their mark in the industry. "Never ever give up," she emphasises. Maria encourages young culinary professionals to have a vision and believe in their ability to achieve it.
Hard work, dedication, and constantly challenging oneself are keys to success, according to Maria. With each achieved benchmark, set new goals and continue pushing boundaries.
Fifty Nine Republic, under the visionary leadership of Chef Patron Maria Sammut, continues to captivate diners with its exquisite cuisine and unwavering commitment to delivering unforgettable dining experiences.
As the restaurant enters its sixth year of operation, it remains at the forefront of Valletta's culinary scene, embracing change, and redefining what it means to create exceptional cuisine.