Lino Cefai, renowned as the founder of the popular and widely-acclaimed Ta’ Frenċ Restaurant, has passed away.
Mr Cefai, together with Ino Attard, took over the decaying centuries-old farmhouse that was to become a Michelin Plate-rated restaurant, building up an enviable reputation over 30 years of service.
The restaurant changed hands only last month.
Mr Cefai was also known as a director of Gozo Village Holidays, a pioneer in the Gozitan short-let sector. He was among the first to see the potential in renovating traditional old homes, as locals at the time preferred more modern residences. He tapped into a market niche of foreigners looking for a staay at a renovated piece of history, kickstarting what is today a booming economic sector.
Today Gozo Holiday Homes owns over 80 properties across Gozo, and continues to provide holiday accommodation for tourists as well as locals.
The Gozo Tourism Association took to Facebook to express its condolences to Mr Cefai’s family.
Mr Attard, Mr Cefai's partner in both ventures, had passed away in 2014.
Ta' Frenċ also posted a remembrance on Facebook.
The restaurant said, "It is a very sad day for us all dear Lino. We will miss your enthusiasm, knowledge, jokes you shared, the memories you created and the long chats we had. We promise to continue the legacy of the restaurant which you dearly held at heart together with your lifelong friend Ino and make you both proud."
"Will miss you deeply and you will always be in our hearts and prayers."