1. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date.
I started off my education in computer science – I was always interested in business; I gained most of my experience in the family business where I worked in retail. This is where I started my training in management – but I always wanted to get into the catering field. At 21, I moved to London and was classically trained in the Cordon Bleu. I worked my way up in the kitchen over the 4 years I was there but moved back to Malta to start a family and worked at Villa Brasserie in 2010 as the Head Chef; I bought into the business in 2012 – learning Front of House, Marketing, Sales, Events and all the aspects of the business; it took off in 2014. At the end of 2017 I opened Hammett’s Gastro Bar with Von der Hayden Group as a partner, where a modern sharing concept style was introduced to the islands. Within the year Hammett’s Macina was also opened. Hammett’s Mestizo was opened in October 2020 and Hammett’s Monastik in 2022.
2. Why are you so passionate about the hotel and hospitality industry?
I just enjoy it. The art of creating, coming up with new concepts and new ideas. The side of growing the business, the challenges that come with it. I feel that growth is very important, even for the team around me. It’s a collective approach that drives me and the team, not to mention the business itself.
3. Mention five words to describe yourself and your work ethic.
Thorough, Creative, Determined, Ambitious and Fun.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
My life has changed completely. Every five year period in my life has given me new experiences and new challenges – I understand that my role within the company is changing according to the needs of the company, I guess we’ll find out soon! I think the future is very exciting.
5. Tell us one of the most rewarding experiences in your profession to date.
Coming from a Chef background, seeing the success of people around me, who worked within the company, who moved on to new horizons and who made it work – that’s extremely rewarding. I really celebrate other people’s success.
6. What growth do you anticipate for the hotel and hospitality industry in the next 20 years?
In the immediate future, I feel a very hard time is coming. In Malta, I foresee a bit of a tough time economically due to European issues – however on the longer and broader spectrum, I think Malta has come a long, long way over the past 15-20 years. Malta’s variety and quality in restaurant selection is huge, and with the large competition the right people are doing the right things to stand out and keep active. Sustainability needs to be far more important to the industry though, we need to grow local, use sustainable practices in the way we run our restaurants. This is the only way for the future of hospitality in my view.