“I have been working with Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, Malta, since 1995. That’s 24 years.” Mr Kevin Arpa, who is now the Executive Chef there, says this with passion. He is proud of his achievement.
He started down the line, grew up in the ranks and is now responsible for all the catering of this hotel, which is quite a handful. He manages a staff of sixty and considers himself so lucky to form part of the Corinthia family.
“Corinthia has grown since I joined but I can assure you the sense of belonging to a family has grown even more. I have worked hard and with zeal but I still ask myself: what could I have done without this great organisation?” For him Corinthia is his past, present and future.
Corinthia St George offers regular Sunday lunches for the general public. They are good value for money and extremely successful. “We start on a Friday by preparing the menu. On Saturday we are busy with various preparations such as chopping etc. But the cooking starts early on Sunday.”
Isn’t that hectic? “Catering is very demanding. There are many things you can leave for later. Catering does not give you that leisure. There is an order and the client is waiting. Customer is king.”
Corinthia St George also caters for banquets and weddings. “We are leaders in that area.” The largest wedding Mr Arpa remembers catered for 1,500 guests. It was held in a private residence so the headache was even larger because of the pre-planning and logistics involved. A list of 500 or 600 guests is not uncommon.
The choice of dining venues in this hotel is extraordinary: Fra Martino Restaurant and Terrace, which offers from breakfast to dinner; Henry J. Bean’s is the all-American bar and grill; Caviar & Bull offers a modern Mediterranean cuisine; Buddhamann for tastes from the East; The White Olive Restaurant and Lounge adjacent to the main pool at the Lido St. George’s Bay for light snacks; Broadside Terrace for Japanese-style cocktails, seafood, grilled meat dishes and light bites; Da Marina Ristorante for delicious Italian food, or Da Marina Pizzeria. Perhaps it is better to have a complete picture of the world of dining at Corinthia St George’s Bay by visiting the site https://www.corinthia.com/en/hotels/malta-stgeorgesbay/dining
Mr Arpa was always fascinated with food preparation. He remembers himself very young, helping his mother to bake cakes. But does he ever cook at home? He smiles and admits that he does so lovingly. “It’s the least I can do to help my wife who takes care of so many things that need to be done. My family simply love it.”
Corinthia is enthusiastically assisting an initiative spearheaded by the Malta Government to attract more youngsters to food production and catering. Mr Arpa is very much involved in this. “Regularly, different groups of young students, approximately 12 years old, and their teachers attend a three full-day practical course in our kitchen. We teach them the basics of this profession.” He is greatly pleased with all this since he sincerely believes that there are great opportunities in this field and Corinthia is always ready to assist.
Asked about a favourite dish which he has concocted, he readily replies, “Wild sea bass and local prawn ceviche with lemon oil, minted beetroot carpaccio, avocado and micro cresses.” Quite a mouthful to read. Better still to eat.
Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay commands pride of place in his heart. And one may add pride of taste.