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Portrait of a chef: Marvin Gauci

  • Last April, Gauci was awarded the title of chef of the year at the Best of Budapest and Hungary Awards
  • The chef is an ambassador for Malta’s rich produce and culinary traditions

(left) Marvin Gauci; and one of the chef’s signature dishes is the Seabass Iceberg Flambé. Photo: Rohit Chawla
(left) Marvin Gauci; and one of the chef’s signature dishes is the Seabass Iceberg Flambé. Photo: Rohit Chawla

Chef and restaurateur Marvin Gauci is a culinary sensation in Malta and the man behind some of the island nation’s most promising new restaurants and food concepts including the breathtaking Dinner in the Sky experience. In April last year, Gauci was awarded the chef of the year title at the 25th edition of the Best of Budapest & Hungary Awards. The award was in recognition for his newest restaurant Caviar & Bull at the Corinthia Budapest which is the first international outpost of his Malta brand which specializes in Mediterranean fine dining and molecular gastronomy.

Gauci started his culinary journey at age 13 by helping out at a beachside restaurant and followed that up with practical training in kitchens in Malta and around the world. His aim is to be a culinary ambassador for Malta and introduce its rich produce and diverse cuisine to the world at large.


How I arrived at my signature dish

One of my signature dishes will have to be the Seabass Iceberg Flambé. Rather than a specific inspiration, the dish is a product of my culinary journey, meals I shared with my family and food I have experienced during my travels. The condiments used in the dish enhance the flavours of the main ingredient and in the case of the sea bass, it is predominantly sea salt. The dish is a pleasure to the eye and the stomach and is surprisingly easy to prepare despite its dramatic presentation. The entire fish is encased in sea salt, baked in the oven and presented whole at the table. Its hardened crust of sea salt and egg white is cracked open to reveal a succulent, steaming and aromatic fish.

What would be your death row meal?

For me this would have to be a Pizza Margherita in the Neapolitan style baked in a 400-degree oven.

The next big food trend is

According to me, this would be less meat-oriented and smartly resourced food using plant-based protein.

Your favourite ingredient

Fresh fish. I come from an island surrounded by the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea and this has always been an inspiration for the way I cook.

Most adventurous thing you’ve eaten

Snake soup is quite the delicacy in Hong Kong. Its texture is similar to fish. Because of the stock, herbs and spices and dark soy, it is very warming and has an interesting flavour to say the least. However, I am not sure I will eat it again.

Most underrated culinary destination

I would say Peru. Because of the geographical diversity, the country offers a very rich and nutrient-filled cuisine incorporating superfoods like quinoa, purple potatoes, cilantro, lucuma.

What’s your comfort food?

Pizza. After one of those long days there is nothing more welcoming than simple, hot, cheese-topped dough

What’s the most rewarding part of being a chef?

The freedom to use my creativity in the kitchen and see the happiness on people’s faces when they experience it.

This is photographer Rohit Chawla’s special series on celebrated chefs from around the world.

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