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Chefs battle for LUX* Super Chef title, winners to go to Hotel Asia culinary challenge

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Chefs in LUX* South Ari Atoll engaged in a tough battle Thursday for a chance to represent the resort at the upcoming Hotel Asia International Culinary Challenge.

Titled LUX* Super Chef 2017, 11 chefs contested in the Hot Cold Kitchen category while two participated in the Pastry Kitchen category. Participants include Raja Adil Akram, Daunphen Philawan, Sajol Howlader, Noden Sherpa, Debojyoti Mondal, Nuwan Geethanga Silva, Ruwan Sameera, Navin Kumar Pariyar, Anjul Singh Rawat, Mamum Bepari and Gehan Jayantha Godapitiya Makuralage.

Chef Mamum Bepari, whose dish was also voted the Most Creative Dish and won a separate Jury’s Special Award, was crowned the champion. Chef Gehan Jayantha Godapitiya Makuralage secured the second spot, while chef Nuwan Geethanga Silva finished third.

The three will represent LUX* South Ari Atoll at the Hotel Asia International Culinary Challenge, which would be held in September.

Contestants prepare the dishes during the LUX* Super Chef 2017 competition. PHOTO/ LUX*

During the competition held at the overwater East Market restaurant, contestants in the Hot Cold Kitchen category were given a black box containing 10 compulsory ingredients — salmon, scallops, samphire, fennel and Lardo di Colonnata for the starter, and chicken, root vegetables, starch and Ras el Hanout for the main course — to prepare a starter and a main course.

For the contestants in the Pastry Kitchen category, compulsory ingredients for the dessert included dark chocolate, orange, raspberry, caramel and hazelnuts, while they were allowed to use any ingredient of their choosing to make the bread.

Dishes prepared by the contestants during the LUX* Super Chef 2017 competition. PHOTO/ LUX*

All the contestants were given three and a half hours to plan, prepare and cook their two courses, with each asked to produce four plates per course; two for blind judging, one for the show table and one for the chef’s judging.

In addition to two chefs in the kitchen who analysed cooking techniques, hygiene and work flow on the spot, an eight-member judging panel was presented with the final dishes for blind judging based on taste, texture and presentation.

Judges evaluate the dishes prepared by the contestants. PHOTO/ LUX*

Speaking at the closing ceremony, General Manager Glenn Daniels hailed the enthusiasm shown by the chefs, saying that the event was part of the management’s efforts to support the work of the chefs and to develop their talent. An internal competition dedicated to honour and recognise the work of the chefs is not seen in any resort in the Maldives, he added.

“We hope this competition will be held across the LUX* properties,” Glenn said.

Executive Chef Dave Minten also recognised the participation of his team and advised all to constantly work towards perfecting their craft.

This year’s edition of the Hotel Asia exhibition is scheduled to be held from September 18-20 with the culinary challenge taking place from September 17-20 at the main Dharubaaruge convention centre in capital Male. The culinary challenge has established itself as the premier culinary event in the Maldives, attracting chefs from local and international resorts whose work and creativity are evaluated by experts, including celebrated chefs from the world over.

Fresh from its relaunch late last year, cutting-edge designer villas and world-class dining can be found only a 30-minute seaplane flight away from the main Velana International Airport, making LUX* South Ari Atoll one of the most exciting resort in the Maldives. Excellent eating and drinking is always a cut above the rest at LUX* and at South Ari Atoll, there is authentic South East Asian street food in the Maldives’ only over-the-water gourmet night market and world-class Chinese cuisine at East, along with the Japanese restaurant, Umami, which offers live teppanyaki and dazzling selection of sakés.

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Indian influencer Niki Mehra in Maldives

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Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) hosted a familiarisation trip with Amilla Maldives for high-end influencer, Niki Mehra, from India to experience the luxury and romantic offerings of the Maldives from 3rd – 6th May 2024.

The familiarisation trip was a great opportunity to Niki Mehra, a renowned Indian model, fashion, beauty and travel content creator and social media influencer with over half a million followers who has carved a niche in the Indian fashion industry with her unique sense of style. During her time in the Sunny Side of Life, Niki Mehra showcased luxury to romantic experiences of the destination.

The trip promoted Maldives through social media platforms of Niki Mehra while highlighting experiential itinerary offerings of the Maldives. Additionally, the influencer trip assisted MMPRC in propelling growth in the luxury travel segment and honeymoon market by showcasing the Maldives as a premier honeymoon destination for the Indian travellers.

The Indian market has been a strong market for the Maldives over the years, currently ranked number 6 with 46,970 tourists as of 13th May 2024. Additionally, MMPRC showcased the Maldives in OTM and SATTE held earlier this year. MMPRC is committed to boosting the arrivals from the market and has exciting marketing activities planned for future, including joint campaigns, familiarisation trips, participation in major events and other campaigns which provides numerous opportunities to showcase the breathtaking Maldives to the market, attracting more Indian travellers.

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130 hotels in The Prestige Collection with 4 Maldives properties

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The Prestige Collection has reached 130 hotels in its portfolio, continuing to uphold quality and excellence as core pillars. It represents the most exclusive selection within Keytel, the world’s first alliance of independent hotels.

Since its establishment in 2007, The Prestige Collection has been dedicated to meeting the growing demand for luxury hotels, becoming a reference for hospitality industry specialists. Despite its focus on independent hotels, the collection has successfully attracted prestigious properties from international luxury chains such as Rosewood Villa Magna, Mandarín Oriental Ritz Madrid, and Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. These hotels view The Prestige Collection as a complement to their commercial strategy for attracting luxury clientele.

With a prominent presence both nationally and internationally across 36 countries, The Prestige Collection shines in with four distinguished resorts: Baglioni Resort Maldives, Diamonds Athuruga Maldives Resort & Spa, Diamonds Thudufushi Maldives Resort & Spa, and Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa. Internationally, the collection boasts emblematic properties like Armani Dubai, Café Royal in London, The Pierre in New York, and Kappa Senses in Ubud, Bali, among others.

The collection categorises hotels into four distinctive categories, highlighting ideal places to disconnect, properties in vibrant urban settings, coastal options for those seeking serenity, and unique experiences for those seeking singularity.

Furthermore, this milestone coincides with the relaunch of its new experiential website platform. This platform offers users and industry professionals the opportunity to explore the collection in greater detail and drives qualified traffic to the official websites of member hotels.

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) Marks a Significant Step Towards Transforming Urban Waste Management

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Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) marked a significant step towards plastic waste management with the adoption of dedicated vehicles handed over to boost this transformation of urban waste management supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives.  

In March 2024, UNDP Maldives officially handed over a fleet of six vehicles to WAMCO, which included two electric vehicles (EVs), as part of an initiative aimed at enhancing waste management across the Greater Male’ Area (GMA). This acquisition, facilitated through the financial support of TCCF paves the way for a crucial advancement in bolstering PET collection efforts and tackling the challenge of plastic waste in the Maldives.

“This initiative marks a significant step towards boosting recycling rates and combating environmental pollution in the Maldives,” stated Pek Chuan Gan, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Maldives speaking at the handover ceremony. “Integrating electric vehicles into WAMCO’s fleet and improving PET recycling processes not only lowers carbon emissions but also pioneers renewable energy use in waste management. It’s a vital move for steering the Maldives towards a sustainable and renewable-powered future.”

The provision of electric vehicles marks a continuation of UNDP Maldives’ support to the Government’s vision to introduce renewable energy in key sectors such as waste management that significantly contribute to the country’s renewable energy transition ambition. By embracing clean energy solutions, such as electric vehicles in waste management practices, the Maldives can further reduce its carbon footprint and move closer to achieving its renewable energy goals.

“Utilizing eco-friendly vehicles is a pivotal change for WAMCO, signifying a major leap towards modernizing waste management in the Maldives,” remarked Mujthaba Jaleel, Managing Director, from WAMCO. “This collaboration highlights the shared commitment to environmental stewardship and the potential for such partnerships to catalyse meaningful progress in sustainability and about the positive impact these vehicles will have on our operations and the environment.”

Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, and The Coca-Cola Foundation’s unified efforts towards a sustainable future. Photo courtesy: CIAO Advertising.

“Our commitment goes beyond just recycling; it’s about fostering a culture of sustainability,” remarked Saadia Madsbjerg, President, Coca‑Cola Foundation and VP Community Affairs. “By enhancing waste management in the Maldives, we aspire to set a benchmark for environmental stewardship.”

For The Coca-Cola Foundation, together with the stakeholders, the aim is to propel Maldives towards a future where plastic circularity is not just envisioned but actively pursued. By channelling resources and expertise into the heart of waste management, TCCF has made a sizeable contribution in enhancing and attracting investment to this crucial sector in the Maldives. This initiative is a testament to TCCF’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices and promoting the reuse and recycling of plastics, thereby reducing environmental impact, and paving the way for a circular economy.

The fleet handover event held on March 18, 2024, served as a celebration of collaboration in waste management. Representatives from UNDP Maldives, WAMCO, The Coca-Cola Foundation, government officials, and stakeholders came together to mark this significant step and reinforced their collective dedication to building a more sustainable future for the Maldives.

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