At only 30 years old, Reuben Grixti is the talented and creative Executive Head Chef for Le Méridien St Julians Hotel & Spa in Malta. Reuben only owes his success to his talent and curiosity, with an extensive experience in the culinary field that would make many of his eldest blemish of envy.
Not only did Reuben win several local titles (Junior Chef of the Year in 2002 and Chef of the Year in 2008) but he also had the chance to train by the sides of many great Chefs' names such as Michel Rostang and Albert Roux. Throughout his already exciting career, Reuben was never afraid to leave his island to participate to various competitions: he has travelled to Istanbul, Turkey and Cyprus with the Maltese National Culinary Team and obtained on his way many bronze, silver and even gold medals (International Festival of Gastronomy in Turkey). Reuben also participated to the opening of the Grand Hotel in Jersey (whilst celebrity chef Albert Roux was then appointed consultant of the Hotel).
Of all his working experience abroad (Luxemburg, Milan, Paris,...), one of Reuben most exciting learning opportunities must have been his whereabouts in the French capital, sharing his hectic schedule between Michel Rostang's six restaurants.
It is in December 2007, and after Reuben had been a key role in the Kitchen Team of Le Meridien St Julians Hotel & Spa since its opening, that Andy Gaskin, then Executive Chef of the 5 star Hotel, called upon him to wear the hat of second in line. When Andy Gaskin moved on to a new challenge in May 2008, it is very naturally that he recommended Reuben as his replacement in the role, and it is without hesitation that Le Méridien Management Team approved.
With both his parents working in the hospitality industry and a grandfather who was a chef for the British Service, Reuben started in the kitchen at only 15 years old. He also often mentions his uncle (a chef himself) who encouraged him to start a career in catering.
Reuben is extremely committed to his own "culinary" keys to success: be passionate, be innovative and always aim for the best. "I want to create dishes that people enjoy looking at as much as eating" says Rueben. "In the hospitality industry, the least you can do is to provide people with an experience that they will remember and speak about once they go back home. Creativity also keeps my kitchen team at a high level of motivation. In my field, it is important to lead with example"
When being asked what major challenges Reuben is confronted with in his current role, he states "I do not bargain on quality and it is a daily routine to select the best ingredients on the market without increasing the menu prices to an unaffordable level. Catering in the hospitality industry can be pretty hectic but it is important to keep a high attention to details."
When he manages to take some time out of the kitchen, Reuben enjoys going fishing: a great way to unwind and recharge his batteries. Another hobby of his is without a doubt football. Big fan of the Netherlands and of the Milan Team, one of Reuben's best career memories is when he was asked to cater for the Juventus and the Milan Football Team... "The perfect opportunity to experience two passions at once".