Ħ’Attard, Malta by Dancoise
Interview with Letizia Vella of The Golden Fork
“It’s my life, and this is what I want to do!” Those were the words of Letizia Vella, a 28 years old Maltese female chef, just a few years before getting into the Malta Michelin Guide.
Today’s story is about a professional chef with incredible imagination. “Pigeon on a Stick”!? That’s just for starters. Corn dog lamb? Sure, why not? Tomato ice cream for dessert? You will not be sorry! How did a young woman manage to gain such lofty acclaim in this male-dominated profession? Make sure to listen ’till the end to find out!
When I planned my visit to Malta, I found many beautiful restaurants with delicious menus and impeccable reputations. But then, I saw a photo of a brave young woman standing in front of her own freshly open restaurant and right then I knew, I had to talk with her! And it was the right decision.
Letizia’s story will inspire anyone dreaming about their own small business but feeling anxious about the gut-wrenching leap. Letizia is the kind of person you chat with and from the first second, you know that she’s an immense talent. I’m not sure if it was her perfect posture, her unwavering confidence, or that I was committed to being fascinated in light of the statistics. But let’s go back in history.
Starting from 10 years old, Letizia had already discovered her passion. She loved helping her mother in the kitchen, cutting veggies, and flaunting her knife skills on camera like the wunderkind she is!
“ I would get up early in the morning so that I could make my parents breakfast and they loved it,” she laughed.
But after finishing high school, Letizia had a surprising change of heart. “I decided to go to law school,” she explained. I was shocked, impressed and confused. Nevertheless, after just one year, she decided to leave law school to risk embracing her dream that had been alive all along.
All of us watching and reading might be screaming a big “hooray!” for Letizia in hindsight, but when Letizia made the decision, her father was not impressed. The word “upset” might be an understatement considering that her father refused to speak for her for 3 months even as they lived in the same house. That was a tough challenge for a young girl’s courage and self-confidence.
It took Letizia some time to take control of the situation. On one particular day, she came into her father’s room and said: “This is my life, and I will do what I want!”
Since then, every door was open for Letizia. She went studying for a chef in Malta, and in a month, went for an internship in London’s famous restaurant, led by Heston Blumental. That experience led to other London Micheline Star restaurants, changing her whole vision of high-cuisine.
A young girl needs to express herself. Working for world-famous chefs helped her gain the necessary experience but didn’t give her enough freedom. After 2 years, Letizia has decided she’s ready to come back at homeland to open her own restaurant. The most important man in her life, her father, totally changed his opinion. Seeing how much effort her daughter has put into her dream, he helped her open the future Michelin Guide place.
Sounds so easy – go tell your father what you want. However, it’s one of the most challenging things in everyone’s lives. To take that risk, follow your passion no matter what. Some people get enough courage for that only in their 50’s, looking back in their lives and regretting everything they haven’t done. Letizia was in her 20’s when she understood precisely – she’s not happy with where she is. That’s probably the main message Letizia would love to share with us – acknowledge the place where you don’t want to be and the place you want to be in. Then, take that crucial step forward the dream. YOU are the only person who can do that!
So, a promising young chef with her own restaurant. It sounds like the beginning of a long journey to global fame. However, the fame came early. In merely 3 months, Letizia got an email from Michelin. She considered it’s a scam at first. But the feelings went over the moon when she found this is the dream coming true! It’s not hard to accomplish your goals when you’re giving your heart and soul to the job.
Now in 2021, after the post Coronavirus grand re-open, what’s the next goal for Letizia Vella? Obviously, it’s a Michelin Star. But not only that. Letizia shares she always wants to be better than yesterday. Reading and learning are her everyday routine. A star chef who wants to conquer the world with her cooking never stops getting better!
This was an incredible story about the young talent who came to success against all odds. But it’s mainly amazing because women count for only 6.3% of executive chefs in the cooking industry. And even less as an owner of their own fine dining restaurants!
What do you think about today’s video? Should I continue interviewing interesting and talented chefs? Please let me know in the comment section. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe so you don’t miss an upload, and you can enjoy the excellent content I send your way!