An Interview with Adam Demanuele, owner of Malta’s #1 artisanal seafood shop: Adam’s.
For gourmet seafood in Malta, Adam’s is a no-brainer. Since opening its doors in 2013, this Mosta fish shop has simply revolutionised the seafood market on the island. From winning prestigious awards to introducing innovative concepts – such as ‘prepared seafood meals’ or dry-ageing fish – Adam’s has set the bar very high in the seafood industry.
As die-hard seafood lovers, we set out on a mission to discover more about Adam himself. To get to know the man behind this incredible fish shop, we met up with Adam Demanuele for an informal interview on a sunny Friday afternoon. Dressed casually in a blue polo shirt and jeans, he greeted us with a bright and friendly smile which instantly put us at ease. As we settled down at one of his tables at The Seafood Market Grill, Adam conversed with us in an amicable down-to-earth tone and allowed us into his life as a family man, entrepreneur and seafood connoisseur.
What inspired you to become a chef?
To be honest, cooking has always been in me. Even at a very young age, I had a passion for cooking and I would always offer to prepare meals at home or take my place on the grill at BBQs. It was a treat for me, I enjoyed it! As a young boy, I remember spending a lot of time with my father who worked in catering and those experiences certainly rubbed off on me. I guess you could say, cooking is in my blood.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I owe my start to the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) in Malta, this is where my professional journey started. At ITS I was taught basic cooking skills and shown how to make it as a chef, but I got most of my knowledge of food later from on-the-job experience, not just in Malta but abroad as well. For example, I was given chef training in Florence, I was a Chef de Partie at the Hilton in both London and Malta, and a sous Chef for Alessandro Zanardi, the Formula 1 driver.
Each experience taught me something different. Being chef patron of La Dolce Vita, later on, gave me insight into the business side of things, that was invaluable for me. In the end, I put everything I know into Adam’s and The Seafood Market Grill, and I think it’s paid off.
What is your favourite dish out of all of those you’ve created?
Naming just one dish is going to be impossible…. If I had to narrow my favourites down to two I’d have to say my pan-seared tuna tataki dish and my signature surf and turf.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Every part of my career was a highlight to be honest. I worked my way up from nothing, have had many setbacks and encountered many obstacles, including going bankrupt – twice! But through all of that, I have always remained resilient and gotten myself back on my feet.
Coming from a restaurant background, what inspired you to venture into the retail business and open Adam’s Fish Shop?
After La Dolce Vita, I got married and I wanted to have more time to spend with my family. My wife and two sons are everything to me, so I needed a way to be able to support them but be present in their life at the same time. Funnily enough, I got the idea for Adam’s Fish Shop when I was on my honeymoon and I ran with it. I’m definitely glad I did!
What has been the fish shop’s foremost success to date?
The shop’s main success has, without a doubt, been transforming the fish shop concept for Malta and Gozo. Adam’s has definitely raised the bar for seafood in Malta, and I take pride in watching other businesses follow in my footsteps.
Do you have any plans to expand the brand in the near future and what can you tell us about them?
That’s a big yes! It’s top secret right now but you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.