Sous chef Erkland Xhaja (right) with assistant manager John Wickham at Cubana

Sous chef Erkland Xhaja (right) with assistant manager John Wickham at Cubana

The Leopold Square bar boasts one of the most comprehensive rum menus outside London, with a staggering 164 varieties on offer.

Assistant manager John Wickham has spent months developing the range on behalf of Cubana owners Adrian Bagnoli and Brad Charlesworth. And his next step has been coming up with the perfect dishes to complement it – which is where sous chef Erkland Xjaha comes in.

Albanian-born Erkland arrived in Sheffield with his family in the late 1990s, following a spell in Italy. He began his culinary career at Nonnas, earned promotion to chef and joined Cubana a decade ago in its original Trippet Lane home.

“I’ve always liked Cubana’s cosmopolitan mix of customers and staff,” he says. “Cubana has a passion for quality, Latin-inspired food and we’re never scared to try something different. That’s why I believe the rum-pairing idea will really take off.”

Read more: http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/chef-s-dish-lesley-draper-talks-to-cubana-s-erkland-xjaha-1-7825795