Chef Andrew Vella

Malta’s restaurant scene has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years with the arrival of Michelin raising the bar for fine-dining establishments across the island. But behind the scenes, the industry has been grappling with a new set of challenges – from the unforeseen difficulties of lockdown to staffing shortages, rising produce costs, and more. Business Now speaks with six of the island’s leading Chef Patrons to uncover their insights, challenges and hopes for fine dining in Malta.

In the first part of this six-part series, we delve into the insights of the Chef Patron at Rebekah’s, Andrew Vella.

“We’ve always had great food in Malta, but over the last few years the culinary scene has improved drastically thanks to the arrival of Michelin on the island. With more diners now looking for good-quality food made with quality ingredients, we’re moving in the right direction. However, while our fine dining scene has come a long way, we still have a way to go to catch up with top culinary destinations like London and Paris.”

“While I hope for a future where local diners are more open to experimental menus and cooking processes, such as a carte blanche dining experience, the reality is that many still gravitate towards traditional options like pasta and beef. It presents a challenge for us as chefs to strike a balance between offering new and exciting dining experiences while still catering to the tastes of our customers.”

“The recent trend of no-shows is another challenge that we’re facing. It’s simply disrespectful. As a small restaurant, a single no-show can have a significant impact on our business. Despite these challenges, I try to remain optimistic about the future. Personally, I will continue to work towards my dream of Rebekah’s becoming the first Michelin-star restaurant in the north of Malta. But it’s not an easy job and requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I worry that the younger generation of chefs may be put off by these tough working conditions and lack of respect. That’s why we need to continue to inspire younger chefs to enter the industry to keep our local culinary scene alive and evolving.”

This interview was first carried in the 2023 edition of Business Now Magazine, the sister brand to and produced by Content House Group

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