Chef interview at Scirocco Restaurant with Reuben Grixti
Scirocco Restaurant and head chef Reuben Grixti
Scirocco Restaurant is a fantastic restaurant situated in the five star Le Méridien St Julians Hotel & Spa and focuses on healthy cuisine and living. Scirocco Restaurant is not only a popular restaurant with the health conscious but also with buffet lovers! The restaurants superb buffet options are created by the young and talented Head Chef Reuben Grixti who has made the Sunday Buffet lunch at Scirocco one of the most popular in Malta.
Even though Reuben is only 29 years old he has an extensive experience in the culinary field that chefs twice his age might not even have. With several local tilts awarded to him such as the Junior Chef of the Year in 2002 and Chef of the Year in 2008, you can be sure to have a fantastic experience when dining at Scirocco Restaurant in St. Julian's.
Read the full description of Scirocco Restaurant!
Full interview with Reuben Grixti from The Kitchen Restaurant
How and why did you choose to become a chef?
I could always envisage myself to be an expert of the culinary arts. My uncle and granddad were both chefs and they always gave me a great amount of encouragement in order to pursue my dream. Helping my mother with the dinner preparations was an activity I was always looking forward to, so it didn’t come as a surprise when I decided to follow my passion and act on my dream.
Is the Maltese culture reflected in your cooking?
Whilst establishing a menu, I always incorporate dishes which are time-consuming and not very convenient to cook at home, such as local fish. I use seasonal and traditional ingredients in order to accentuate the dish’s flavours according to the on-going trend. At Le Méridien St Julians Hotel & Spa, we strive to produce traditional recipes but always adding a contemporary twist to them.
What do the Maltese people look for in food? Is that different from cooking abroad?
Maltese people seek for variety in food. The excitement of experiencing a restaurant for the first time is a sensation they’d want to encounter over and over again. So to trigger the loyalty of our clients, we constantly need to reinvent ourselves. Cooking overseas is comparable to local cuisine: variety is the fundamental base. Mediterranean and Ethnic gastronomies are common to the Maltese islands and other nations alike.
What do you want to achieve with your cooking?
My aim is to amaze the gastronome, to render unexpected flavors. My aspiration is to travel to India or other Asian countries in order to practice Asian cooking techniques and implement them in my cooking. Deepening my knowledge will extend my ability to exceed my guests’ expectations.
What inspires you in your cooking?
I’m proud to say that my mother’s scrumptious recipes, such as her home-made lasagna, have always provided me with the necessary inspiration. When it comes to top-notch cuisine, she will always be my unbeatable cook.
Where do you buy your products and do you use any organic products?
I make use of fresh seasonal products, as often as possible: local seasonal fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables alike. And yes of course, we also offer healthy menus where we play around with organic products for our health-conscious customers.
What is your biggest challenge in your job?
Challenges are a daily reality in my job. Being able to rely on my kitchen brigade is essential in this line of work. That’s why it is important to keep their level of motivation high and to encourage a constructive and happy atmosphere in the team. However, the biggest challenge of any passionate cook will always be to successfully translate the creative flavours he can literally taste in his mind into real flavoursome menu items.