1. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date.
I have been working in the hospitality industry for 35, good old years after joining the first intake of students in a three-year Hotel and Catering Management Diploma Course at ITS. I am proud and feel privileged to have worked at the old Malta Hilton as part of the student placement. My first overseas experience was in York, England followed by a management training year in Berne, Switzerland in Bellevue Palace. Then Sofitel Hotel in Athens, Greece followed by a series of management roles in Malta’s top hotels including Radisson Blu Golden Sands as well as Xara Collection. Today I am the Managing Director of L’Orangerie Bistro.
2. Why are you so passionate about the F&B industry?
My motto has always been “Dream, Believe, Achieve” and this is what makes me so passionate about being part of the industry. I never stopped dreaming, I always believed and I have to thank my wife, Christine, who has always been there, believing in me and supporting me. And yes, then achieving what you dreamed of and believed in – that’s the best part!
3. Mention five words to describe yourself and your work ethic.
Passionate, Hard Working, Can-do Attitude, Motivated, Customer Satisfaction Oriented.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
L’Orangerie Bistro has always been my dream, after having worked so long in this industry. Christine, who plays an important supporting role at the Bistro, has always believed that this would happen, and I must say that the first years can be challenging, but after the first couple of months we are seeing clients return, getting exceptional reviews and feedback. I believe that L’Orangerie will be on the MICHELIN Guide in the coming years. That would give me so much pride and satisfaction. It is all about having a team that believes in being a team.
5. Tell us one of the most rewarding experiences in your profession to date.
A number of them mainly during the time that I worked as General Manager at Island Caterers, where we catered for high end summits such as the EU African Summit that took place at the MCC. As a team along with the EU High Officials we discussed and planned a successful event that hosted all the EU & African Head of States. I also formed part of the management team and staff that catered for the biggest Gala Dinner ever to be held in Malta – 4,200 pax – Oriflame. I must not forget managing and coordinating a 40th Anniversary Event for a German Financial Company – 7,500 pax held at the Valletta Waterfront this too being the biggest ever held in Malta, to date.
6. What growth do you anticipate for the hotel and hospitality industry in the next 20 years?
Looking back over the past three years, we saw hospitality workers leaving the industry to gaming companies and the retail industry. We are talking of increases in tourist arrivals in the coming years and that we also need more hotels, but unless we have a proper business plan in place, we cannot go forward. I believe the Maltese, being so hospitable and hard working, can make this plan happen with the respective Governmental Authorities, MHRA, ACE and the Chamber of Commerce working together for one common goal. And that is to bring the industry forward and back on the positive track that we were taking in 2019, before the pandemic hit.