Kurt Micallef is an up and coming Maltese chef who is currently working at The Arches. He has gained experience working outside Malta at In De Wulf, the world renowned restaurant of Kobe Desramaults in Dranouter, Belgium.
In an interview with Food and Wine Gazette a few weeks ago, the Maltese born chef said he was taking inspiration from old Maltese recipes and was working slowly and quietly to try to reinvent and modernise Maltese cuisine. You can read the full story here.
Unlike other chefs who try and work in different Michelin star kitchens, Kurt took the opposite approach and went twice to train at In De Wulf. This enabled him to gain further experience and also to be inspired by Kobe’s unique approach and style.
This is our traditional rapid-fire question and answer session with Kurt
What was your best meal ever?
L’Arpege by Alain Passard in Paris.
What is one tool that you find in a professional kitchen that should be in any home kitchen?
I believe that what is most important is a very good knife. With a sharp, good knife and a good pan you can work wonders.
What is your view of social media?
A bit of both. it is both good and bad. Nowadays, however, it is essential. I mainly use Facebook, and Instagram as a platform, it is essential.
Does it help or hinder creativity?
It can help but it may also hinder creativity. Sometimes you can get inspired by seeing a photo but at the same time you do not want to copy the work of other chefs. So once you’ve seen an image, it could actually work against you.
Your best meal ever in Malta?
My grandmother’s oxtail soup.
What’s your favourite dish?
Favourite dish to cook?
I have a lot of them. But at the moment, I like the concept of working to reinvent Maltese food. Nothing beats artichokes stuffed with anchovies, lemon zest, parsley and breadcrumbs. Sometimes simplicity is perfect. I have also seen my evolution as a chef over the years. When I worked in London, dishes were complicated, there were sometimes nine components in a dish. When I went to In de Wulf, there were just three components in a dish. You end up appreciating simplicity.