What’s It Like Working At One Of Gozo’s Busiest Restaurants?
Nathanial started working at Country Terrace at the age of 13 as a waiter after school. He is now 24 and holding one of the busiest kitchens together on Gozo Island.
Nathanial’s passion for food won over his studies it seems. Having trained and qualified as a Criminologist just three years ago, he remains steadfast in the Country Terrace kitchen alongside his solid, hard-working team pushing out quality dishes minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day.
Starting around 9.30 in the morning, he works until 3 and is back in the kitchen at 5.30 sharp for the evening shift. It’s long hours, and you can see he has dedication and commitment in spades.
Nathanial delighted in telling us how he learned everything from Country Terrace owner, Joseph. Instead of taking his days off on Sundays, he would choose to come in and watch ‘the master at work‘ he smiled. He would watch him cut, chop, slice, cook, taste and present, and he absorbed every tiny detail to improve his own skills. Self-motivation is clearly his strong point.
“I love cooking the Fillet Mignon” he exclaims. That’s the cut of meat taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin. “We cook it simply, with onions, garlic, mushrooms and parmesan, port sauce, teriyaki, salt and pepper. It’s delicious!“.
On the subject of meat, we had to bring up their famous Beef Wellington. (If you haven’t tried it, it is a MUST). Nathanial confirms it’s one of their most popular dishes in the low season. Move over Gordon Ramsay.
“I also love to prepare the crudi.” He grins. “But I don’t much like to eat it! I am not a fan of raw fish!” he chuckled. Unsurprising, having sampled the raw fish starters at Country Terrace. The dishes are always delicately and creatively plated and Nathanial loves to create fun ways of presenting these sought-after ingredients.
The Price Of Fish
Country Terrace remains within the higher price bracket for restaurants on Gozo and those that eat there regularly will agree, you will always have a formidable meal here. Standards are high and they offer the best ingredients money can buy. It pays, though, to understand that they are up against trying times when it comes to sourcing local fish. The local fisherman prefer nowadays to make a bigger buck selling their fish to Italy, rather than their own local restaurants, which leaves CT buying local fish, caught in and around Gozo, from Italy – crazy but true! And this obviously drives up prices.
“They need to think about the customer.” Nathanial chants passionately. “It’s not fair on our clients.” This made me think. Next time I pay a little more for those amazing, prawns, I will do it with good grace.
Meeting Nathanial was a joy and I for one can’t wait to order that Beef Wellington on my next visit. In the short time I had with this young talent, I could see he absolutely loves his job. His smile was prominent throughout and the rapport he has with the rest of the team, and vice versa was evident. Respect was felt from all corners of the pass.
On his days off, Nathanial is doing up his own flat so he is quite literally flat out. All in a day’s work you may say? Well in the short time we had with this young talent, you could see clearly that he absolutely loved his job. His smile was prominent throughout the whole interview. What was also crystal clear was the rapport he has with the rest of the team. Respect was felt from all corners of the room.
This is without a doubt, one of the reasons why Country Terrace maintains such high standards and we now know that with Nathanial at the helm, these standards will remain.