Jean Dingli

Jean Dingli


1. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date.

Growing up I always loved to cook and from when I was just 6 years old, I wanted to become a chef. When I finished secondary school I attended ITS where I finished my four year diploma in culinary arts. During my time at ITS I worked in a few local restaurants as a student and after graduating I left for a 6-month work experience in a 2 Michelin restaurant in Italy.

This is where I got most of my knowledge and work ethic. I also worked in London for a little over a year and then in Malta for another 8 years, combined I had 10 years experience in the kitchen before I decided to open Barbajean. Each workplace gave me new ideas, knowledge and drive to open my own restaurant.

2. Why are you so passionate about being a chef?

I think everybody is born with a passion for something, some people pursue it and I’ve done just that. I believe I was born with this passion – it is that passion that keeps me working so hard every day, constantly striving to be better as a chef. This career gives me satisfaction, I love to create new things and I love making people happy through good food. Food brings people together, it creates memories, it allows me to be creative and also… I don’t have to wear a suit!

3. Mention five words to describe yourself and your work ethic.

Persistent, calm, focused, easy-going and honest.

4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years I wish for Barbajean to continue striving as a restaurant and for myself to have the opportunity to continue creating more dishes and maybe eventually open a second restaurant.

5. Can you mention chefs who have inspired you? What do you admire most about them?

I have worked with many talented chefs in my life, some of them have become like family and some just past colleagues. The chefs who let me create my own ideas and believed in me, but also corrected me along the way, are the ones I will never forget.

6. What is your favourite dish to cook and why?

It is difficult to choose just one dish, but if I had to pick just one it would have to be the Maltese Sausage Scotch Egg which became our signature dish at Barbajean.

This dish is simple and rustic yet a very heart-warming comfort dish. It truly reflects my style of cooking and the overall concept at Barbajean.


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