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‘A Part Of Me Is Missing’: Staring At An Empty Restaurant, Maltese Chef Speaks On The Human Toll Of The COVID-19 Shutdown

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As restaurants and eateries find new ways to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and a new economic reality, some Maltese chefs are feeling the human toll of having no physical customers in the shop.

“It’s like a part of you is missing, and this isn’t just me, this is something all chefs and restaurant-owners are feeling,” chef Daniel Grech told Lovin Malta.

“That’s what affected me the most – not seeing customers’ faces and smiles anymore.”


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Look who came to Visit.

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Though many businesses were able to roll out delivery services in time, the lack of a human element has changed the nature of the catering and hospitality business. And Grech, who runs a popular restaurant in Valletta, is feeling the difference.

“We are getting online orders, God bless – but this is not a money issue. You have a huge shop… and it’s all just empty tables and chairs… it breaks your heart, I swear,” Grech said.

The sudden lack of physical has brought to the forefront some of the most special elements of working in a restaurant: mixing with real people.

“Seeing people sitting down, eating, reacting to your creations… smiling. Talking to each other, and everyone brings a different energy and vibe to your shop. The interaction… it is the best part of working in catering. Meeting new people and serving them,” he continued.

“We are doing deliveries, but I miss serving customers during service… when they eat, they joke, take pictures of the food…”

Grech, like most restaurateurs, now limit their connection with customers over the phone or in the online realm.

“We still get reviews, and that is a good thing – but the best review is when someone sees a huge pancake and goes “illostra…” he smiles. “You see their face… that excited facial expression is what I miss.”


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Red Velvet pancake making your weekend funkier than it allready is.???????????? Burgers.ink Valletta

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“I’m even missing the complaints!” he laughs. “People coming up to me telling me they aren’t happy… no problem, I’ll fix it for you, and then that adrenaline rush to solve it, the rush to clear tables… it’s a welcome challenge.”

Until preventative measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Malta are lifted, Maltese chefs will have to continue serving people in these new conditions – until then though, Grech’s got one major thought on his mind.

“I just can’t wait for all of this to be over.”

Has the COVID-19 virus affected the way you run your business? Contact us at [email protected] to share your story.

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