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W Maldives partners with world pastry champion Julien Alvarez to host culinary week



W Maldives has partnered with world’s best pastry champion Julien Alvarez to host a series of culinary events on its tropical playground in September.

The culinary week will include:

  • September 19: Pastry Masterclass at KITCHEN restaurant (1-2pm)
  • September 20: Afternoon team at KADA café (4-6pm) / dessert menu takeover at FISH overwater specialty restaurant (from 6pm)
  • September 21: Beach Market featuring live cooking show by Julien Alvarez himself (from 6pm)
  • September 22: Dessert menu takeover at FISH overwater specialty restaurant (from 6pm)

Born in Bergerac, France, the 29-year-old chef grew up in a rich culinary environment, where in 2002 he made his official pastry debut at his parent’s restaurant. His first career achievements include the Best Apprentice of France, and an Assistant to the World Pastry Champion (2006) in Phoenix, US. Julien has also participated in Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, a famous craftsmen competition held exclusively in France every four years, where he met well-known Franck Kestener, Bruno Montcoudiol, Stéphane Glacier, David Wesmael and Franck Michel.

Julien also worked at Carles Mampel’s patisserie Bubó in Barcelona, where he ignited his interested in international pastry competitions by taking part in the Spanish World Chocolate Masters in 2007, where he took the fifth place.

In 2008, Julien assisted Philippe Conticini and Angelo Musa (MOF) in opening their first retail pastry store La Pâtisserie des Rêves. Then he also scooped the third prize in the Charles Proust Relais Desserts competition.

From 2009-2013, under the wing of Jean Michel Perruchon (MOF), Julien trained the young apprentices in Bellouet Conseil gastronomic school in Paris. In 2011, Chef Julien won the Champion of the World title in the most prestigious international contest La Coup du Monde de la Patisserie in 2011, which inspired him to become a self-employed trainer and consultant.

Nowadays Julien shares his professional expertise via writing culinary books, participating in TV shows, acting as a pastry stylist and consultant during the various pastry store and restaurant openings around the world.

W Maldives has also recently announced a partnership with Ewa Chodakowska, one of the most popular personal trainers in Europe, to host a wellness week in November.

W Maldives offers 77 escapes and suites located both ashore and overwater, including 28 Wonderful Beach Oasis, 46 Fabulous Overwater Oasis, 3 WOW Ocean Escape and one Extreme WOW Ocean Haven (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). Each chic and spacious escape features infinity plunge pool.

There is a mixture of six bars and restaurants at W Maldives. Kitchen, the all-day dining bistro, and Fire, where guests have their choice of four different barbecues, provide menus for everyone’s palate. Swim up to the pool bar Wet and order a light lunch. There is even a dining option on the resort’s private desert island, Gaathafushi, or Fish, the resort’s specialty seafood restaurant set over the water and under the stars. Fifteen Below is the only underground club in the Maldives, with its own resident DJ and a sushi bar Sushi Beat.

Guests can also spoil themselves with a selection of over 125 treatments at the award-winning overwater Away Spa.


BBM’s masterclass with acclaimed chef Bruno Menard attracts over 100 chefs



Bestbuy Maldives (BBM), a prominent supplier of high-quality food and beverage products in the Maldives, hosted another exciting edition of their highly anticipated Masterclass series on Saturday.

The day-long masterclass held at Kurumba Maldives featured the exceptional skills and expertise of renowned three-starred Michelin chef Bruno Menard.

The event was an exclusive affair, limited to invited guests. Over 100 chefs from 30 institutions registered for the event, showing the popularity of the series with practicing and aspiring chefs in the country.

BBM’s Masterclass series is an initiative that aims to promote culinary excellence and bring together professional and aspiring chefs in the Maldives community. Working in collaboration with renowned international brands like IREKS and Caffé Vergnano, BBM invites distinguished chefs from the Maldives’ resorts to learn from globally recognised culinary masters.

Menard is a well-respected figure in the culinary world, with an impressive career spanning over 38 years. With 24 years of experience in Asia and 15 years in Europe, Bruno has established a reputation for his innovative and creative cooking techniques. His culinary prowess has been acknowledged with three prestigious Michelin stars, placing him among the world’s greatest chefs. Adding to his accomplishments, he has also served as a judge on Master Chef Asia.

During the Masterclass event, Menard captivated the audience by showcasing the preparation of a delightful full-course meal. The Masterclass was divided into two sessions: the morning session focusing on hot applications (Karan Beef) and the post-lunch session showcasing desserts (Veliche).

“We are thrilled to have hosted Chef Bruno Menard for our Masterclass series. The event was a great success, and we received positive feedback from the participants. We believe that events like these will help elevate the culinary industry and local talents in the Maldives, and we look forward to hosting more events in the future,” said AVS Subrahmanyam, Chief Operating Officer of Bestbuy Maldives.

BBM demonstrated its commitment to supporting local talent by reserving 30% of the seats for Maldivian chefs. Additionally, they reserved 10 seats exclusively for students from the Faculty of Hospitality Studies (FHTS) at Maldives National University (MNU), providing them a unique learning opportunity.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Chef Guild of Maldives Exco Member Aminath Shaanee highlighted BBM’s support to the Maldivian team of six young chefs who made their debut in the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Challenge 2023 and achieved an impressive bronze medal earlier this year

Competing against teams from eight other countries, the Maldivian team showcased exceptional talent, creativity, and precision, earning well-deserved recognition for their culinary skills. This marked the first participation of the Maldives in the prestigious competition held at the Emirates Salon Culinaire in Sharjah, UAE.

BBM’s Masterclass series has become highly anticipated within the Maldivian culinary community. It serves as a platform for chefs to enhance their skills, establish valuable connections with industry experts, and draw inspiration from culinary luminaries like Menard.

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Celebrity chef serves up culinary extravaganza at Sun Siyam Iru Fushi this May



To celebrate the increased popularity of customers enjoying plant-based food, from May 8th – 13th, Sun Siyam Iru Fushi will welcome MasterChef India Season 4 Winner – Nikita Gandhi. A lacto ovo vegetarian expert, Gandhi will be serving up a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, including workshops and food pairings, to give guests the opportunity to learn the art of mastering vegetarian-Indian cooking.

Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Gandhi developed a love for intricate culinary techniques and food pairings from a young age, starting to cook independently at just eight years old. After working in finance, she auditioned for Season 4 MasterChef India, where she was crowned the youngest ever winner in 2015.

Sun Siyam Iru Fushi who kicked off its successful celebrity chef residency program last year, has already hosted some of the world’s most sought-after chefs including Marcel Thiele, founder of SPICEHUNTER®; Michelin star chef Christophe Chiavola, and celebrity chef Hermant Oberoi from India.

Gandhi will host a range of breakfast and dining experiences for guests on the island, in addition to holding cooking demonstrations in the resort’s main kitchen. The schedule of events will include:

  • A hosted Indian vegan breakfast at Iru restaurant during the resorts regular breakfast sitting. The chef’s creations will be presented in a section of the breakfast buffet, followed by a meet and greet to explain the story behind the dishes
  • A showcase of Ghandi’s signature vegan dishes during the Indian night buffet dinner displayed in a section of the restaurant
  • A live Indian vegan cooking workshop to see how she pairs flavours from India and the Middle East, followed by a tasting of the dishes she has created
  • Ghandi will create an exclusive intricate vegan-four course set menu accompanied by refreshing drinks paired perfectly with the cuisine. Available on a first come first served basis with a supplement of $65.

Nikita comments, “MasterChef was really the turning point in my career. Throughout the competition I was challenged to re-imagine and create the non-existent, which to this day I still try to follow. My recipes and creations are always vegetarian, and I draw a lot of inspiration and innovation from my Indian roots and my Middle Eastern upbringing, which really helps to make every dish a unique affair.

“I am looking forward to bringing flavours that have not been seen before at Iru Fushi and inspiring the guests to try new dishes and provide them with the skills to try their hand at crafting them at home.”

With 14 bars and restaurants, Sun Siyam Iru Fushi prides itself on its exemplary cuisine.  From award-winning Italian delicacies at Trio; mixology classes at Water’s Edge; a live show-cooking Japanese experience at Teppanyaki; French cuisine at the award-winning overwater restaurant Flavours; Asian fusion at Bamboo and Maldivian seafood at Islander’s Grill – Sun Siyam Iru Fushi can satisfy the most sophisticated of taste buds. 

Nestled in the natural beauty of Noonu Atoll, a scenic 45-minute seaplane flight from Velana (Male) International Airport, the five-star Sun Siyam Iru Fushi spans 52 acres and boasts 221 villas and suites, perfecting the balance between rustic charm and understated luxury. This is a true island playground for families, groups of friends, couples and honeymooners alike. An award-winning Spa by Thalgo France with more than 140 treatments to choose from, makes this tropical island the perfect wellness getaway. And for families, kids under 15 sleep and eat for free with two paying adults in the same room and all whilst enjoying and discovering local marine life at Nemo’s Reef and recreational activities at Koamas Kidz Club.

To find out more visit, browse our offers to book your stay, or follow the resort on Facebook,  Instagram, or YouTube.

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Maldivian chef Adam Schihab launches second cookbook, The Islander Chef Global



Maldivian Chef Adam Schihab has recently released his second cookbook, The Islander Chef Global, featuring a collection of recipes that are easy to use and measured in grams for precision and accuracy. The book is a response to requests from Schihab’s close relatives and loyal Instagram followers, who have been asking for his recipes for years.

Schihab’s first cookbook received constructive feedback from around the world, motivating him to showcase his culinary and writing skills with The Islander Chef Global. This 250-page cookbook features contributions from ten globally acclaimed chefs, offering a variety of flavours and a global perspective to the recipes.

The book features a range of dishes, from traditional Maldivian curries and seafood specialties to international favorites with a Maldivian twist. The cookbook was officially launched on March 7th at the Maldivian Embassy in Riyadh, marking a significant milestone for Schihab and the culinary world.

“The Islander Chef Global” is a must-have for anyone interested in exploring the flavours and culture of the Maldives and beyond. The book is available for purchase online, and several images of the book can be viewed on Schihab’s social media accounts. Schihab’s dedication to sharing the flavours of his homeland with the world has made him a prominent figure in the culinary world, and his second cookbook is a testament to his passion for Maldivian cuisine.

Schihab is an Executive Pastry Chef and Head of Operations at the Vanilla Group in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. He has over 20 years of experience in managing large kitchen operations at restaurants, hotels, and catering services in 10 countries. He has received formal culinary training from prestigious schools and has worked with renowned luxury hotel brands such as Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, and Ritz-Carlton, among others.

Adam Schihab’s The Islander Chef is now available for purchase on Amazon.

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