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Dining in Malta: ‘He Excels’

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VALLETTA, MALTA, May 2013: It is always a joy to see a young man or woman occupy a post which requires considerable skill, experience and pure talent. It is not only a sign that many of our youngsters are doing well for themselves but also shows that there are entities that are more than willing to entrust young people with top jobs. One such person is Head Chef Roderick Vella, and one such entity is the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta.

Roderick graduated from ITS and had early experiences with top catering establishments in Malta such as Westin Dragonara where he joined as apprentice and left as chef de partie, the Danish Village, the Fortina and eventually moved to Corinthia Tripoli. All these opportunities enriched Chef Vella’s bag of tricks especially when he needed to adapt to the stringent quality levels in his latter time in Tripoli. Being woken up in the middle of the night to prepare food for the late Colonel Gaddafi who would be about to travel definitely put his skills to the test. Roderick attributes his main influence in his culinary profession to his dear mother with whom he has cooked innumerable dishes for family and friends. His style, also thus influenced, leans more towards the classical approach. In his very words, “people, especially we maltese, love to eat, and I love to feed them”. He appreciates that certain modern styles are more about ‘designing’ the dish with skimpy bits of food and of course, he will accommodate any such requirement, yet he also knows that portions and approach need to offer wholesome plates which burst with flavour and texture.

excelsior malta dining

A short stint in his own restaurant Le Luci in Marsascala gave Chef Vella a good commercial experience in the catering world and leaving him in a much better position to take the challenge of heading a brigade of some 35 chefs and another 30 stewards to run all the hotel’s outlets namely The Admiral main a` la carte restaurant, Spice Island which hosts most of the grand buffets, the recently-launched Lobby’s menu found at the Harbour View and the magical Tiki at the water’s edge which will soon be offering a full a` la carte service.

Add to this the incredible amount of Malta weddings hosted by the Excelsior Hotel, which at peaks can comfortably deal with 60 receptions in three months, and maybe one can appreciate the hotel’s insight to employ a young, talented and energetic young man who can handle all that’s placed on his plate. In fact, Head Chef Roderick Vella himself acknowledges that the secret is that of working in a tightly-knit team which includes Pastry Chef David Pulis and Sous Chefs Adrian Buttigieg, Melvin Sammut and Mark Azzopardi.

Well done to this young chef, and to this superior Malta Hotel that has entrusted him with such a prestigious role.

Should you wish to experience our renowned Sunday buffet Lunch or a special meal at one of our Malta Restaurants kindly contact Our Food & Beverage Team on or on +356 21250520.

Article by Josef’ Bonello in Cibus Magazine & Photos by Matthew Debono.

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