What is Crust?
Crust is comfort food made with passion and technique. The idea is to bring a modern interpretation of today’s food to whoever eats at the restaurant. It is a cross between a cosy French boulangerie with warm, fresh bakes and breads and a boisterous Italian salumeria offering the tastiest cheeses and salami. Crust is all my years of work and experience, and all of my knowledge, channelled through sourcing the freshest ingredients available to me, and presenting them to my clients in a genuine and homely manner.
How did the idea come about and how do you plan on developing it?
The idea came about when I met Mr Winston Zahra regarding a charity event I was organising, and we started discussing projects and future plans. Mr Zahra wanted to start a project with Danish Bakery, and suggested we join forces. Needless to say it was very appealing! We started to meet regularly, share ideas, develop them and progress. I put a lot of energy into creating the concept together with the rest of the team, including Mr Marcus Pisani – creating a menu which would celebrate a different style of food whilst keeping a healthy outlook and still maintaining the idea of comfort food, which, let’s face it, we all love.
What will your role be, and where do you see Crust heading, in the future?
My role of Chef Patron sees me creating all menus, and as General Manager of Crust Ltd, I will be running the outlets. There are plans in the pipeline which I can't divulge, however we definitely want Crust to grow and will be working hard to see this happen.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Finding the location of our first outlet was the hardest part. When looking for a restaurant one needs to take into consideration some important factors. The location must be a popular one, which possibly is also rather central, easily accessible, but also practical.
What was your most satisfying moment in your career so far?
I always appreciate every opportunity, work experience and life event. From my toast-making days at a university café to my days as a sous chef at a local restaurant, all the way to my year in London working at a Michelin star hotel and experiencing the adrenaline on Master Chef. I have always learnt from every experience. The beauty of my line of work is who you meet along the way, what you share with them and what you ultimately learn. Something I will cherish for a long time is the event I organised with hospital staff for cancer patients. It was lovely to be able to bring some Christmas cheer into the ward on Christmas Eve, yet heart breaking to see what some children and their families are going through.
What's something most people don’t know about being your own boss?
That work doesn't stop when you go home. It's not an 8-5 job. You're working around the clock, which might be said for all creative jobs. My mind just never stops revving. I'm continuously researching, reading, creating and thinking of new stuff to do. It's exciting and I wouldn't change it fir the world. It also allows me to juggle things around in a more convenient way for myself. I fit in training which is vital for my frame of mind and wellbeing, and precious time with my newborn son.
What advice would you give other young entrepreneurs?
To never forget where they’re coming from and also to go through life with an open mind and to walk away with newly acquired knowledge from any job they take. To do jobs that allow them to experience working in a team, to be a team player and also to be a leader. To ultimately find their niche, so that they may get up in the morning and look forward to going to their job, whatever that job may be.