AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRING
AN AUTHENTIC MEXICAN
RESTAURANT TO THE
ISLAND OF MALTA
If you were invited by Dr Tonio Ellul, Honorary Consul of
Mexico to enjoy a Tequila Tasting at the Cavallieri Art
Hotel, would you attend? Oh, it’s led by Ambassador
Carlos Garcia de Alba, directly from the Mexican
embassy in Italy... and just in case you’re not convinced;
Chef Diana Beltran will cook up a fiesta post-tipple. This is
where we learned her story.
Diana Beltran’s journey as a Chef began at the tender
age of 5, when she would assist her grandmother in
preparing family meals. This early introduction to the
kitchen sparked her love affair with cooking, laying the
foundation for her culinary career.
For Diana, the soul of Mexican food lies in its unique
fusion of cultures. It is a harmonious blend of Mayan,
Spanish, and Aztec influences that give Mexican cuisine
its distinctive character. “The trilogy of corn, beans, and
chili peppers forms the backbone of Mexican gastronomy,
infusing every dish with rich flavors and vibrant colours,”
Diana’s path led her to open restaurants in Italy, a
decision influenced by her marriage to an Italian and their
subsequent move to Rome over three decades ago. To
introduce Mexican cuisine to the Italian palate, Diana
began hosting gatherings at home, sharing the culinary
culture of her homeland with friends.
“The success of
these events prompted me to take cooking classes in
Mexico, culminating in the opening of my own Mexican
restaurant 23 years ago. And I wouldn’t ever look back.”
Initially, Italians struggled to grasp the nuances of
Mexican cuisine, prompting Diana to incorporate Tex-Mex
dishes that were already familiar in Italy.
Over time, as
palates expanded and appreciation for bold and spicy
flavours grew, Mexicans and Italians alike embraced the
authentic taste of Mexico. Today, Diana’s restaurant is
beloved for its fusion of traditional Mexican dishes and
“Creating a successful restaurant requires a passion for the industry. You need to ensure the quality in any establishment through careful selection of suppliers. Importing Mexican products and collaborating with local Mexican producers in Italy guarantees the authenticity and freshness of ingredients like tortillas and hot peppers.”
While Diana has experienced and appreciated Maltese cuisine during her visits to Malta while working for the American Embassy, she sees an opportunity to bring an authentic Mexican restaurant to the island. With no current establishment offering fully authentic Mexican flavours, Diana contemplates the idea of opening a restaurant in Malta, introducing its residents and visitors to the vibrant and diverse world of Mexican gastronomy.
Among Diana’s repertoire of dishes, her signature creation is the Green Enchilada. This dish holds a special place in her heart, as it presented a unique challenge. “With the unavailability of tomatillos and jalapeños in Italy, sourcing authentic Mexican ingredients proved difficult.
However, Diana’s determination and resourcefulness prevailed, resulting in a tantalizing Green Enchilada that captures the essence of Mexico on the plate.
Diana Beltran’s journey from her grandmother’s kitchen to becoming a renowned Chef and ambassador of Mexican cuisine in Italy is a testament to her passion, dedication, and ability to bridge cultures through the universal language of food.
Her commitment to quality and authenticity continues to delight diners and inspire culinary exploration. As she contemplates the future, Diana envisions new horizons, including the possibility of sharing her culinary artistry with the people of Malta, bringing a taste of Mexico to an eager audience ready to embrace its vibrant characteristics.