Watch: “I like to challenge myself all the time” – Chef Victor Borg

The mention of the name ‘Victor Borg’ elicits sighs of delight and phrases such as, “Oh, his risotto is to-die-for”, “You must try his black lasagne” and “His desserts are some of the best I’ve ever tasted”.

In love with food since he was a lad, Victor was just 15 years old when he decided he wanted to be a chef.

“It never went through my mind to be anything else”, he says.

Grain Black lasagne with calamari squid ink nduja

Believe it or not, Victor started off his career flipping burgers at the poolside kitchen of a well-known local hotel. The chef there quickly realised his potential, drive and passion, took him under his wing and transferred him to the main kitchen.

He attended a two-year Food and Beverage Diploma course at ITS… and the rest is history.

An award-winning chef

Apart from working is some of the best hotels and restaurants on the island, he also opened his own restaurant Mange Tout at the age of 25 and took part in a number of prestigious competitions locally and abroad, for which he won several awards.

Grain Baked fresh Norweigian salmon cooked in nduja butter parsley and smoked almond pesto

He was the youngest chef to ever win the title of National Chef of the Year, at age 24, and I was also the only Maltese person to win two WACS gold medals abroad

Victor also had the opportunity of working with UK celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine when he won the second Michelin star, whom he describes as: “One of the best chefs in the world.” A difficult man to work with but a true perfectionist.

A new challenge at Grain Street and underGrain

“I believe that attention to detail makes you better than anyone else. I like to challenge myself all the time… and this is a new challenge,” Victor says of his new position as Executive Chef at the Grain Street and Under Grain restaurants in Valletta.

Grain Triple cooked skin on wedges with tournedos of roasted cauliflower

Although they are found on the same premises and share a kitchen, the two restaurants have a distinct concept and very different raison d’etre.

Grain Street is where you’d go for a casual meal, while Under Grain is the place to go for refined luxury, he explains.

“Grain Street is a bistro. The cuisine is Mediterranean. I call it ‘a restaurant without rules’. We have snacks, charcuterie and plates to share. We have only 20 bottles on the wine list, but you can take them all by the glass,” he says, “Under Grain is more French-Mediterranean, it’s a la carte… we have six starters, six mains and four desserts as well as a cheese trolley – which is something new for Malta.”

“It’s my passion… a way of living, not just a job”

Victor says that one thing he loves most about his job is the satisfaction he gets from making his customers happy.

Grain Red plum frangipane tart with creme fraich

“It’s all about the food. It’s my passion… a way of living, not just a job; you are creating something special from a raw product.”

Grain Street and Under Grain are located within the 5-star Rosselli – AX Privilege on Merchants’ Street, Valletta. More information is available on their website: www.grain.mt.