POR­TRAIT OF A CHEF

Mint ST - - FIRST -

Chef Ste­fan Ho­gan joined the Corinthia Palace Ho­tel, Malta in 1993 when the place was go­ing through a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment and re­cruit­ing new tal­ent. En­er­getic, am­bi­tious and cre­ative, Ho­gan was the per­fect fit for the new iden­tity that the prop­erty wanted to carve for it­self. Twenty-five years later, Ho­gan is one of the most cel­e­brated chefs across the en­tire ho­tel group and re­mains as pas­sion­ate about his work as when he first started out. He has also worked in his pri­vate ca­pac­ity at some of the world’s most renowned restau­rants, like the Miche­lin-starred Bel­mond Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons in Ox­ford, UK. Ac­cord­ing to Ho­gan, “When­ever you walk into some­one else’s kitchen, you walk away with new ideas and come back en­er­gized.” It is this de­sire to learn that keeps his ideas fresh and his recipes unique, much like his sig­na­ture dish —the Bahrija rab­bit Assi­ette.

STE­FAN HO­GAN

CORINTHIA PALACE HO­TEL & SPA, MALTA

How you ar­rived at your sig­na­ture dish The rab­bit dish I cooked has fea­tured on a num­ber of menus and ev­ery time I cook it, I look at ways to make it look and taste bet­ter, but more im­por­tantly to show­case the best of Maltese pro­duce. As the dish evolves how­ever there are three star com­po­nents that are al­ways present. The main star is the rab­bit loin, rolled with a light rab­bit mousse and wrapped in pancetta. The sec­ond in­gre­di­ent is the fresh figs, I can­not imag­ine a Maltese sum­mer with­out them and the third star is the pump­kin (in the recipe we have it as a puree, pick­led and as a fon­dant). All three in­gre­di­ents have strong con­nec­tions to tra­di­tional Maltese cui­sine.

The best meal you’ve eaten

The 12-course tast­ing menu at Per Se in New York by chef Thomas Keller. What’s is your ‘death row’ meal?

Fish and chips from Tom Ker­ridge’s restau­rant at the Corinthia Lon­don, an ex­am­ple of how a sim­ple dish can be el­e­vated with the fresh­est in­gre­di­ents and tech­niques.

The next big food trend is…

Plant-based pro­tein will con­tinue to grow as a trend and be­come main­stream as the in­creased pres­sures on the con­ven­tional pro­tein-based food chain be­come in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant.

Your favourite in­gre­di­ent to work with I would have to go with mush­rooms as most have a meaty bite and umami flavours and can be in­cor­po­rated into so many recipes.

Most ad­ven­tur­ous thing you’ve eaten Sheep’s in­testines stuffed with minced lamb, chopped heart and liver, onions, spices and rice. This tra­di­tional no-wastage Ara­bic dish is very close to my food phi­los­o­phy.

Most un­der­rated culi­nary des­ti­na­tion South Amer­ica. It is a wealth of ex­cit­ing in­gre­di­ents that are only now be­ing ex­plored by main­stream chefs.

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

I feel blessed that I get the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing food and de­velop fu­ture chefs. I be­lieve that I have a great re­spon­si­bil­ity to not only trans­fer cook­ing skills but also a re­spect for all the in­gre­di­ents we use to cre­ate our dishes.

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

Cu­rated by Diya Kohli

Chef Ste­fan Ho­gan and his sig­na­ture dish, the Bahrija rab­bit Assi­ette.

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