Local culinary talents battle in first Adaaran Dhivehi Rahathah Challenge, Adaaran Club Rannalhi takes trophy
Four teams from all Adaaran resorts engaged in a tough battle Saturday to win the first ever Adaaran Dhivehi Rahathah Challenge trophy.
Associates from all five resorts run by Adaaran competed in resort level competitions held at Adaaran Select Meedhupparu on November 4 and Adaaran Club Rannalhi on November 8. The winners and runner-ups were selected to form four two-member teams that competed at the day-long grand finale held at Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi on Saturday.
The local chefs and culinary enthusiasts prepared authentic Maldivian dishes using locally available ingredients such as tuna, coconut, papaya, bilimbi and noni fruit.
After two intense sessions of cooking and plating, the second team from Adaaran Club Rannalhi emerged victorious, with its members Yousuf Ali and Abdulla Zaheen taking the first ever Adaaran Dhivehi Rahathah Challenge trophy. The two teams from Adaaran Select Meedhupparu were named the second and first runner-up.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Badhiya Gunatilake, the Chief Operating Officer at Adaaran Resorts, said the annual competition was introduced in order to explore traditional Maldivian cuisine and to bring them to the tables of guests who visit Adaaran resorts. It will in turn develop the talents of young Maldivian chefs and those who wish to pursue a career in food and beverage, he added.
“I’m so proud to be here. We’re strong believers in developing people. We really concentrate on making our raw cut diamonds into best cut diamonds,” Gunatilake said.
“We’re very proud of Maldivian culture and the tastes of Maldives. During this competition, I’ve seen our young associates passionately share stories about how their mothers cooked food and the different dishes they used to eat.”
Bjorn van der Horst, the Corporate Director of Food and Beverage at Aitken Spence Hotels and Resorts, hailed the participants’ talent and creativity as phenomenal. He noted the fusion of local ingredients and western plating techniques by the participants to give a modern look and feel to traditional Maldivian cuisine.
“An interesting aspect of Maldivian cuisine that we can explore in the future is the regional cuisine. There are subtle differences in the way traditional dishes are prepared across the atolls. Travellers can just come and explore the cuisine, let’s say in Baa atoll, Raa atoll or the southernmost Addu atoll,” the Michelin starred chef said.
Hemantha Ratnayake, a Consultant for the Rooms Division and Learning and Development Department of Adaaran Resorts, also highlighted the importance of promoting Maldivian cuisine to the guests.
“Many countries promote their cuisine. In countries like India and Thailand, their cuisine is more famous than the country itself,” he said.
Adaaran, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence, runs five resorts in the Maldives, including Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo and Adaaran Prestige Water Villas.
Adaaran Select Meedhupparu is a fabulous four-star property located in the northern Raa atoll. Surrounded by powder soft beaches and sublime turquoise lagoons, the award-winning resort invites guests to surrender to their senses and bask in the majesty of the tropical island surroundings. Guests can relax in the sumptuous Mandara Spa and try their hand at a number of exciting water sport activities, including scuba diving, windsurfing and water-skiing.
The island of Meedhupparu is also home to Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, a five-star resort with 20 luxury water villas.
Set in the South Male Atoll, Adaaran Club Rannalhi has 100 standard bungalows, which are tastefully adorned with tropically themed furnishings and bedding, and 30 water bungalows that offer a luxurious experience comprising of a private sun deck overlooking the stunning aquamarine ocean. The resort features three spectacular dining venues and a host of recreational activities, including diving, snorkelling and water-skiing.
Located in North Male Atoll, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi is blessed with thriving vegetation and pristine waters, and offers 165 land villas and 37 ocean villas. Set in 83 acres of lush tropical beach on Lhohifushi island, the resort’s design enables it to blend into its surroundings.
Accessible by a short 15-minute speedboat ride from the main Velana International Airport, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo offers 50 water villas with private spas, plunge pools and a glass-bottomed bathroom lounge with a view of marine life. Guests can take a dip in the outdoor pool or spa pool or go for an in-room spa treatment.