1. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date.
I studied at ITS for general culinary training and even went on a work experience trip to London in Hilton’s London Basingstoke – but I gained most of my kitchen insight from my father’s restaurants. Even before ITS, I used to help my father in the kitchen at King’s Own in Valletta after which I also worked in the Tal-Familja kitchen which is where I learned how to make sauces and some other of my father’s specialties. 10 years ago I opened Palazzo Preca – my own restaurant.
2. Why are you so passionate about being a chef?
Being a chef is something that you look forward to everyday. When I do something, I always do it from the heart and make sure that my passion shines through in my food. Most importantly, I always want to bring a smile to my clients’ faces. My love for food also takes me to new challenges quite often – during COVID Lockdown, chocolate became my new passion.
3. Mention five words to describe yourself and your work ethic.
Passionate, creative, energetic, respectful and driven.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
If I allow my passions to take over, which they often do, I think I’ll be working in chocolate in the next five years. Chocolate shops are not a thing yet in Malta – and one in Republic Street Valletta sounds pretty interesting to me. All I’d want is just a small chocolate shop with live chocolate-making shows. Exciting and energetic, but very different from a restaurant vibe.
5. Can you mention chefs who have inspired you? What do you admire most about them?
It might sound like a cliché, but my father was always the most admirable chef. His sauce making always impressed me – I have learned a lot from him as a chef. And my mum always complemented his culinary process. She spent a lot of her time reading and understanding new techniques and making simple things tastier and that little bit extra special.
6. What is your favourite dish to cook and why?
I like to make sweets. Not only because they taste good and always finish off a meal on a nice, sweet note but also because they look good and they provide me with a challenge. Savoury cooking is ‘normal’ for me, I do it so naturally and easily, it’s like second nature. This is probably because I grew up with good food around me all throughout my childhood and young adult life. So my desserts always get that little extra touch of my attention and focus.
The food I like to eat the most is brodu, ross il-forn, qarabali mimli and all the other dishes my mum used to make. It was always nice to eat genuine home cooking after a day in the kitchen.