MARVIN GAUCI needs no introduction in the local food scene. Chef turned restauranteur he runs 4 award-winning restaurants in Malta: Tarragon, the flagship restaurant in St Paul’s Bay, Caviar & Bull, Susurrus in St Julian’s which were both awarded the Michelin plate and the exciting Dinner in The Sky Malta. Also the owner of two other restaurants in Budapest – Caviar & Bull Budapest, and his newest multi-sensory dining experience Uncensored. We caught up with him to ask how his business has coped in the unique 2020 situation and how he is foreseeing the future of restaurants.
- On a personal level, how did you cope with the COVID 19 situation?
I think everyone who works in our industry would agree that this was one of the most challenging periods of our career. It affected every aspect of my life, not only my business, my colleagues and staff, who are very important to me, and my family too. Of course, also because I am an incredibly positive person by nature, we tried to do our best and focus on planning for the future. Together with my team, we started our fine-dining delivery with Gourmet Malta and looked ahead at reopening the restaurants when the time was right. Personally, I am also a bit grateful for this period because it gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my family than I normally would. I also found the time to start new projects that had been in the pipeline for a long time, but I never got around to. I launched my Youtube cooking channel and I finished working on my cocktail book, a project that has been 4 years in the making. These projects and the good people around me kept me motivated to continue moving forward and stay optimistic.
- Did you find it difficult to re-open once again after the period of closure?
Opening the business after lockdown was wonderful in so many ways. The relief and enthusiasm I felt was motivating and energising. I cannot identify it as ‘difficult’ but as a challenge. Before we closed, we were operating at 100% and we had an excellent flow of clients. Suddenly, we had to shut down operations completely! Can you imagine? From ‘all systems go’ to ‘nothing’ in a flick of a switch. When it was announced that we could reopen after 3 months, albeit with a gradually increasing level of operations and a number of restrictions and implementations, we started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, even if we are still a way off from the normal.
- Are you optimistic about the future of restaurants?
Yes, super optimistic. I believe that the professional restaurateur will get back whatever they lost. I also, however, believe that by the time everything returns to normal, there will be several casualties in the restaurant scene. My team and I have many new projects in the pipeline for the Marvin Gauci Group and many of them are related to the restaurants. I am very excited about this and can’t wait to see how people will react to them!