Connect with us


As Hotel Asia Exhibition returns, Alan Palmer sets eyes on nurturing Maldivian talent



By Shamman Zahir

South Asia’s largest hospitality tradeshow, Hotel Asia will take place this October after a hiatus due to the pandemic with the much-awaited International Culinary Challenge kicking off a day ahead. The exhibition, organised by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services and supported by Bestbuy Maldives, is to be held at Dharubaaaruge, for which several resorts, hotels, restaurants, food and beverage establishments have also confirmed participation.

Alan Palmer who has been the Programme Director since its inception in 2002 reflects on how the Hotel Asia Exhibition and International Culinary Challenge is going to be after a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s exhibition marks the 16th edition of this jam-packed event, with over 600 competitions over the course of four days of the International Culinary Challenge. The timing also coincides with the Maldives celebrating the golden jubilee of tourism.

Palmer has an impressive career spanning 59 years having got his start at the age of 16. Since 1963, his career has taken him to various continents during their key development stages of the hotel industry of the respective countries such as Switzerland and Singapore.

Palmer’s first visit to the Maldives was in 1996 when he arrived in the country as a judge for a competition organised by the tourism ministry. His next visit was for Hotel Asia, which was started by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services and Bestbuy Maldives with just tents and canopy. It has come a long way since!

“The idea behind Hotel Asia was born with the idea in mind to showcase Maldivian talent, to give Maldivians an international stage to compete and learn from world-class chefs from around the globe, all the while attracting interest from local youth and businesses to join in the industry,” Palmer says.

As tourism is the biggest contributor to the Maldivian economy, it was a necessity to establish a platform like Hotel Asia. As demand grew, since 2011, Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services and Bestbuy Maldives have held the event year up until 2019 when COVID-19 shut the tourism industry down.

At Hotel Asia, 15 judges from around the globe certify the winners, and some winners are sent abroad for further training and competitions thanks to the generous support of Bestbuy Maldives. The platform, spearheaded by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services and Bestbuy Maldives, is committed to the development of Maldivian talent. With a waitlist of companies, it is clearly popular, but it is not without its hurdles. The infrastructure improvements are vital to provide space for more exhibitors, as new hotels open up across the archipelago.

“Understandably, Maldives being a small island nation needs a convention centre that is functional to implement as a MICE (Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions) market,” Palmer says.

“Despite Maldives being scattered, the resolve and organisation of hotels sending their chefs and the chefs themselves to have the commitment to make the journey despite logistical challenges to participate is admirable.”

Palmer’s advice to the youth is that if they remained consistent and persevere, they would be able to climb the ladder as a chef and a judge beyond their home soil to be renowned globally. There is a career to be made to those who have the passion and maintain a standard. As the Programme Director of the International Culinary Challenge, the aim is to nurture more local talent and skilled professionals. The vision for the future is to further improve and expand the exhibition to cater to the evolving needs of the industry.

The 16th edition of the Hotel Asia Exhibition and International Culinary Challenge, organised by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services and sponsored by Bestbuy Maldives, will be held from October 10-12, 2022 at Dharubaaaruge in capital Male. The free to enter exhibition estimates a turnout of 4,000 people this year.


‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion: Four draws, countless winners, more to go



The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion, which launched with great fanfare on June 23, continues to captivate audiences across the nation with its promise of incredible prizes and adrenaline-pumping excitement. As Coca-Cola moves forward, the company has announced not one, but four draws that have rewarded lucky winners with exciting prizes!

The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion has been a huge success, with dozens of lucky winners taking home amazing prizes, such as Benelli motorbikes, helmets, and Charged drink cases. The promotion, which started on June 23, has been attracting customers from all over the Maldives, who have been enjoying the refreshing taste of Charged caffeinated beverage and the thrill of scratching their cards to reveal their codes.

So far, four draws have taken place, each one broadcasted live on Television Maldives (TVM) at 9:30pm. The winners of the Benelli motorbikes were Mohamed Adam, MD Musharraf, Mohamed Rasel Hossain and Ahmed Zahir who were ecstatic to receive their prizes and thanked Charged for making their dreams come true. The winners of the helmets and drink cases were also delighted with their rewards and encouraged others to join the promotion.

But don’t worry if you haven’t won yet, because there are still more chances to win! The ‘Get Charged and Win’ promotion is not over yet. That means you still have time to grab your favourite Charged drink, scratch your card, and send your code to 2626 via SMS.

As the exciting journey continues, there are two main draws left in this thrilling event, scheduled for September 24 and October 20. You could be the next lucky winner of a Benelli Leoncino 250 motorbike! But the excitement doesn’t stop there; be sure to keep an eye out for the daily draws, with winners announced regularly on the @ChargedMaldives Instagram page. You could stand a chance to win a Charged branded helmet, or a Charged drink case.

Charged, a ground-breaking addition to Coca-Cola Maldives’ beverage portfolio, is available in 250 ml, in 100% recyclable aluminium cans, in line with our packaging strategy to use 100% recyclable packaging material. The caffeinated beverage is now widely available at major retail outlets, hotels, restaurants, and cafes throughout the Maldives.

Continue Reading


JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La unveils Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee



JEN Maldives Malé by Shangri-La has introduced a special coffee to their collection – Oro’s 100% Arabica Rose Coffee. This latest addition to the menu of Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go aims to provide coffee lovers with the unique and delicate taste of Oro’s Arabica Rose.

The hotel was alive with excitement on Thursday evening with the launch of Oro’s 100% Arabica rose. Media personnel and coffee enthusiasts were treated to an exclusive tasting experience of freshly brewed Arabica Rose Coffee along with some tasty finger foods.

The highlight of the evening was a lucky draw giveaway, extending an invitation for all the guests to participate and win a Skechers Maldives voucher and coffee voucher from Jen’s Kitchen On-the-Go.

Oro’s Arabica Rose Coffee is now available at Jen’s Kitchen on-the-go. It is the perfect spot to refuel with coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juices, or a light bite. Customers can now enroll to become a Shangri-La Circle Member and earn points with every purchase at Jen’s Kitchen On- the-Go and enjoy the rewards at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

Continue Reading


Master Baker Steven to conduct IREKS Baking Art & Science training in Maldives



The return of IREKS Master Baker to the Maldives brings exciting news for the local baking community.

Kuala Lumpur-based Master Baker – Chef Steven Selvamuthu, will be conducting pro-bono culinary demonstrations and extensive training sessions from 19th August to 7th September, 2023. Bakers and Pastry Chefs in resorts and HORECA institutions can look forward to enhancing their skills and knowledge under his guidance.

Steven’s expertise in pastries, acquired through training in Gelato University in Italy and a Chocolate Master program in Switzerland, has been instrumental in providing the best solutions to IREKS’ customers in the Maldives.

IREKS, the renowned German company, is a global player in the industry, celebrated for their expertise in developing innovative baking ingredients and catering to the preferences of the health-conscious and quality-driven generation. IREKS provides high-quality bakery flour and ingredients, including baking improvers, specialty bread mixes, gluten-free mixes, vegan mixes, and confectionary mixes. With a growing awareness of the impact of food production on people and the environment, IREKS offers a diverse range of organic baking improvers and mixes for the efficient production of various organic quality baked goods. They exclusively source raw materials from controlled organic cultivation.

In addition to its range of flour mixes focused on multiple baking needs, IREKS also offers a wide “Free-from” range, accommodating various dietary preferences such as lactose-free, palm oil-free, additive-free, egg-free, sugar-free, or vegan options.

In particular, IREKS has been providing a comprehensive Gluten-Free range since 1995. Gluten, a protein that provides structure, is essential for making grains bakeable, and it would be a challenge to bake without its presence. At the same time, gluten-free baked goods are growing in demand – even from those who do not suffer from medical conditions (e.g.: celiac disease). In order to meet the high safety requirements in this specialised production process, gluten-free ingredients are carefully and meticulously selected and processed at IREKS’s state-of-the-art facilities in Germany.

So, this powerhouse of the baking profession, Master Baker Steven, will share his vast expertise with the resort bakers’ community during these demonstration sessions. Should you wish to participate in a training session, please contact Bestbuy Maldives.

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.