Food & drink
‘It’s ridiculous that I’d never been to Malta’ – Three Michelin star chef Simon Rogan
Chef Rogan’s first foray into the culinary scene dates back to when he was just 17 years old.

Benjamin Abela

Just last weekend, Valletta’s award-winning ION Harbour Restaurant hosted what can only be considered as one of the most important experiences of the country’s culinary calendar.

The Four Hands Dinner, held on 28th and 29th October, saw resident Michelin star Chef Alex Dilling and Three Michelin star chef Simon Rogan join forces to create a revolutionary eight-course menu brimming with adventure, discovery, and excellence.

Guests were treated to an eight-course menu made up of delicacies ranging from Local Malta Pink Shrimp with Chestnut to Raw Belted Galloway, uniting the freshest Maltese produce with herbs from Chef Rogan’s very own farm in the Lake District.

Justin De Souza

Following the Four Hands Dinner event’s resounding success, GuideMeMalta.com got in touch with Chef Rogan himself to learn all about the ins and outs of his delicate work. Here’s what he had to say.

“A lot of what we do is simple. However, a lot of thought is put into the process of creating the menu. Alex and I share a similar thought theory, that of ‘less is more’ and we both agree in not overcrowding ingredients. Local simplicity is perfection in my eyes,” he says.

Gaining this level of expertise has been no walk-in-the-park for Chef Rogan. His first foray into the culinary scene dates back to when he was just 17 years old, working as an apprentice at Rhinefield House Hotel in Hampshire.

Since then, Chef Rogan’s career has been dotted with hard work, success, and recognition.

Justin De Souza

Testament to this are the three Michelin stars he’s received in the last 17 years – one in 2005, the second in 2013, and the latest in 2022. Apart from that, he also boasts a maximum five AA rosettes.

“When working with Alex and his team, what I notice is that the kitchen is quiet. Seamlessly knowing and working along the team has been an easy experience, and this makes it even more enjoyable,” Chef Rogan says.

“We gave Alex the four dishes that I wanted to do, tried different portion sizes, and then experimented with the calibre to make sure everything is right. The important thing is making sure that everyone is not overly fed and that everyone is fulfilled,” he continued.

Given Chef Alex’s own colourful career, defined by stints at New York’s Michelin-starred Adour and Caviar Russe, it is no surprise that the Four Hands Dinner event’s collaborative process was smooth, efficient, and precise.

Justin De Souza

Reeling back to the menu served on the 28th and 29th of October, Chef Rogan confessed that he had quite the soft spot for one particular ingredient used…

“I tend to not have favourites, to be honest, however, I suppose it would have to be the Tunworth cheese, as it is very close to my heart. Not only is it a cheese, but it is a cheese from the country I was born in. I believe that it showcases UK cheese making,” he says.

Describing the product, Chef Rogan says that Tunworth cheese is somewhat similar to the beloved French Camembert. What sets the Tunworth apart, however, is the way he presents it.

“The way that we serve it is by making it into a frozen snow, with a malt crumb, damson, and apple marigold. It is a very nice way of eating it, especially because you have that transition of sweet and savoury, with an extravagant flavour and layers of different textures. I simply love it,” he notes.

Justin De Souza

Whilst attending (and participating in) the Four Hands Dinner event was definitely an experience in itself, this also marked Chef Rogan’s first visit to the Maltese islands. Here’s what he had to say about Malta…

“I’ve been here for less than 24 hours, and I cannot understand why I’ve never been here before,” he says.

“The climate is very attractive. It’s not just about that – but also the history, the architecture, and being warmly welcomed. I am very much looking forward to exploring even more. It’s ridiculous that I had never been here, but I will definitely be changing that,” he concludes.

Justin De Souza

2nd November 2022


Benjamin  Abela
Written by
Benjamin Abela
Benjamin is a Writer at Content House Group. With his background in journalism, marketing, and the arts, Benjamin enjoys finding the human aspect to any story he gets a hold of. When he's not too busy writing his next article, you could probably find him playing with his cats or performing on a stage.

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