1. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date.
I started my journey in the F&B industry rather young, I was in my first year of Sixth Form when I started working in a 4-star St Julian’s hotel, this gave me the fundamentals that I really value today. I was later approached to move to a newly launching Maltese restaurant opening in Spinola Bay with an organisation that was considered one of the most influential in the catering business locally. This is where I remember making the conscious decision to carry on in the Food and Beverage industry as a career. After many years of bigger responsibilities, challenging roles, proud moments and great achievements in the Hospitality and Catering industry, I decided to read for a Master of Science in Hospitality Management which I have only recently completed and submitted the dissertation for. It was at this time that I joined a project looking to set up and open a new concept in Ta’ Xbiex – that leads us to my current place of work, Harlequin.
2. Why are you so passionate about the F&B industry?
I have always enjoyed working in the F&B industry from the very first day. Interacting with people and being able to speak about food, drinks and wine combine a few of my favourite things. It can be hard at times but apart from genuinely enjoying the work, I guess I owe the passion I have for the food and beverage industry to a couple of influential people in my life. My father worked in the Hospitality industry and was very dedicated to work – we often visited him at the hotel he worked in. I think that on some level these memories may have influenced my approach towards this line of work.
3. Mention five words to describe yourself and your work ethic.
Disciplined, Charismatic, Hospitable, Determined and Thorough.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
The next five years will be a challenging combination of work and parenting both for myself and my wife. We both have a number of years’ experience in the industry under our belt, however when combined with raising two boys under the age of two, we are in a whole different ball game. So yes, I’d say finding a balance between work and family-time will be top priority for the coming years.
5. Tell us one of the most rewarding experiences in your profession to date.
It is difficult to pinpoint one specific experience, however it is always very rewarding when diners point out details that go unnoticed by many. It is equally satisfying when customers appreciate the little things that are aimed at making for an unforgettable experience where one’s expectations are exceeded. I must admit, it can be very touching at times.
6. What growth do you anticipate for the hotel and hospitality industry in the next 20 years?
I envision that we will see more and more establishments with different styles of menu. I believe we will see an increase in popularity of restaurants with more manageable portion sizes and a variety of dishes. This has fuelled the idea behind the concept at Harlequin, where the menu we have developed allows guests to taste several flavoursome dishes in one sitting without having large quantities of food, and more importantly without breaking the bank. I also think the food delivery industry will remain strong, and I do not exclude that entrepreneurs will favour the concept of ‘Ghost Kitchens’ which is very much a growing activity overseas. Unfortunately, I also anticipate that the cost of ingredients will continue to rise leading to higher price tags – as we are experiencing currently. This will determine how often people dine out and hopefully speed up sustainable food choices.