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Local chefs shine at Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge



Winners of the culinary challenge of the Hotel Asia exhibition have been selected.

After a gap of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the largest trade show in the South Asian region that brings together suppliers and businesses in the hospitality industry was once again held at Dharubaaruge from 10-12 October. The Hotel Asia Maldives Culinary Challenge, a cooking competition held as a part of the exhibition, began a day earlier.

Best Buy Maldives (BBM), which imports and sells some of the world’s leading brands, is the main sponsor of the event.

One of the objectives of the exhibition was to develop world-class chefs. More than 500 chefs competed across 20 categories in this year’s cooking competition.

In each category, the first, second and third runners-up were given cash prizes, while the cash prize for the main award categories was higher. The ‘Most Outstanding Chef’ got a cash prize as well as two way tickets to Singapore.

As many as 13 local chefs have bagged titles in various categories by competing in 20 categories of the Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge. Local chefs won the top spot in five of these categories.

Main awards:

  • Best Artist – Bandos Maldives’ Chef KJL Priyankara/Sri Lanka
  • Most Promising Young Maldivian Chef – Chef Ismail Thahuseen of Huvafen Fushi Maldives Resort
  • Top Maldivian Chef, ‘BBM Chairman’s Trophy’ – Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru’s Chef Ahmed Mazim
  • Most Outstanding Pastry Chef – Dhigali Maldives’ Chef Manju Manaram
  • Most Outstanding Chef – Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru’s Chef Ahmed Mazim
  • Best Culinary Establishment, ‘Alan Palmers Challenge Trophy’ – Baros Maldives
Chef Mazim. (Photo/Hotel Asia)

A BBM official said that the company has always strived to promote chefs, with endeavours to provide opportunities for them through various international platforms. The official said BBM pays special attention to local chefs.

Ahmed Mazim of Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, the best chef of the culinary challenge and winner of the debut ‘Top Maldivian Chef – BBM Chairman’s Trophy’, thanked BBM for giving him such an opportunity.

“I would like to acknowledge the support that BBM gives the younger generation. I am thankful for the opportunity to perform on international platforms,” he said.

Chef Mazim. (Photo/Hotel Asia)

Mazim thanked the culinary teams of Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru and Kudahura and his family for their support in his success.

Adil, executive chef at Salt Cafe in capital Male, expressed his special gratitude to the company for organising a major competition like the Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge. Salt Cafe chefs bagged the top spot in two categories of the competition.

“BBM, especially in this field, has been contributing a lot, doing different things in different ways,” he said.

This year’s Culinary Challenge has been endorsed by the Chefs Guild of Maldives. The competition has already been endorsed by World Chefs.


Joy Island hosts first Gourmet Week with Chef Roberto Valbuzzi



Joy Island has successfully hosted its first Gourmet Week appointment with the young and talented Chef Roberto Valbuzzi from 30 September to 9 October 2023.

The well-known Italian television personality Chef Valbuzzi strives to combine contemporary cooking techniques with family-passed culinary traditions to produce culinary masterpieces in the Lake Maggiore region. As a result, he was given the title of Territory Ambassador on the Gambero Rosso 2023/2024 Lombardy guide.

Arrival of Chef Valbuzzi has delighted the guests of Joy Island with a culinary experience that was inspired by Crotto Valtellina, creating menu items that resonates with his artistic persona. Ranging from typical Italian “Sciatt” to dishes that mix tradition and innovation, the aim is above all to enhance Italian food and wine heritage, well represented in Joy Island which even boasts a dairy in the resort.

The Cocoon Collection gastronomic weeks events always pledge an unforgettable culinary experience, loyal to Italian tradition and philosophy but full of creative ideas.

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Kandolhu Maldives announces extraordinary collaboration with renowned Chef Yoni Saada



Celebrated for his expertise in Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, Chef Yoni Saada will be gracing the island from 13th -18th November 2023. During his stay, he will be showcasing a series of exclusive culinary events at Olive, one the five enticing restaurants on offer on the island, for our guests on the island.

Yoni Saada, the son, and grandson of esteemed Marais butchers, ventured into the culinary world early on at 19, he started by pursuing studies of cuisine and bakery at Ferrandi in Paris. In 2006, at 25, he opened his very first restaurant “Osmose”, and became renowned after participating in the TV show Top Chef show in 2013. The same year, he opened “Miniatures”, a semi-gourmet restaurant of French tapas. In 2014, his new project “Bagnard” was selected Project of the Year by the Gault & Millau guide. Yoni Saada also received the 2014 Young Talent prize.

This extraordinary collaboration with Chef Yoni Saada continues with the resort’s dedication to creating unforgettable moments for our guests, assuring a culinary experience that stands unparalelled. Moreover, a handpicked array of Chef Yoni Saada’s exceptional creations will become a beloved addition to the Olive menu, extending the opportunity for future guests to relish and savour his culinary mastery long after the exclusive event has concluded.

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Hurawalhi Maldives announces exclusive collaborations with Michelin-star Chef Dominik Kappeler



Hurawalhi Maldives, the adults-only paradise located in the Lhaviyani Atoll, is set to welcome Michelin-star Chef Dominik Kappeler to collaborate with Hurawalhi’s very own Executive Chef Harshal Antil to create culinary masterpieces at Hurawalhi’s world famous 5.8 Undersea restaurant.

Chef Dominik Kappeler, chef and owner of Munich’s celebrated dining destination Showroom, was born to a restaurant-owning family and in the culinary world his name is synonymous with excellence and innovation. The bespoke menus will incorporate local ingredients picked from Hurawalhi’s organic gardens and will emphasise Kappeler’s playful style with an elevated twist to inspire discerning palates.

“I am honoured to be the guest chef at Hurawalhi Maldives. The beauty of this tropical paradise is a perfect canvas for our culinary creations,” says Chef Dominik Kappeler, “Collaborating with the talented Chef Harshal Antil and the remarkable team at Hurawalhi promises to be an unforgettable experience, and I am eager to bring a taste of Showroom to the resort.”

Apart from this exciting culinary partnership, Hurawalhi Maldives will host Sommelier Christophe Pelaud showcasing a palette of Moët Hennessy exquisite selection and Sommeliere Dora Dzurjak. Together with Hurawalhi’s resident sommelier team, they will curate a delightful selection of champagnes and wines from around the world to impeccably complement Chef Dominik Kappeler’s menus.

Sommelier Christophe Pelaud is originally from France and travelled all over the world gaining over 35 years of experience including training in several three Michelin star restaurants in Paris. Sommeliere Dora Dzurjak started her career in Budapest’s hospitality scene, today she has over 15 years of professional experience.

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