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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.


Review: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort’s Carbon-Free Menu



I had the privilege of attending the exclusive launch of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort’s carbon-free menu at the renowned Sea Salt Restaurant, and it was truly an extraordinary experience. With my passion for sustainable practices, I was delighted to witness the resort’s commitment to environmental conservation, particularly on World Environment Day.

Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed to explore the resort’s organic herb garden, where the Executive Chef, Riccardo Pinna, and the resident gardener, Ali Thakan, shared their insights on the recent introduction of this innovative concept. By cultivating organic herbs and vegetables within the resort, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort has significantly reduced carbon emissions associated with the transportation of such items from external sources. Given that the Maldives heavily relies on international imports for vegetables, this initiative demonstrates a commendable effort to mitigate the carbon toll.

Following the enlightening garden tour, we were invited to indulge in the resort’s new carbon-free menu, aptly named “From Garden to the Table,” with the esteemed presence of the General Manager, Mohamed El Aghoury. Every ingredient in the menu was organically grown and responsibly sourced, ensuring a harmonious blend of eco-friendliness and delectable cuisine—a true celebration of World Environment Day.

The culinary journey began with a delightful starter of organic watermelon and tomato jam, accompanied by the subtle flavors of local coconut and basil. The freshness of the ingredients was evident, and each bite was a testament to the resort’s commitment to quality and sustainability.

For the main course, we were treated to Wahoo cooked with coconut water and spinach. The Wahoo, a prized fish in the Maldives, was impeccably prepared, allowing its natural flavors to shine through. The infusion of coconut water and spinach added a unique touch, enhancing both the taste and the eco-consciousness of the dish.

To conclude this exceptional dining experience, we were presented with a sweet finale—a mini banana mousse served with a refreshing aloe vera and mint sauce. The combination of flavors was delightful, and the use of locally grown ingredients further underscored the resort’s dedication to reducing its carbon footprint.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort’s carbon-free menu launch was a true testament to the power of sustainable dining. From the enlightening garden tour to the thoughtfully crafted dishes, the resort has demonstrated Marriott International’s commitment to environmental responsibility and providing guests with an unforgettable culinary experience. Chef Riccardo Pinna and his talented culinary team have succeeded in nourishing both the body and soul, showcasing the beauty of eco-friendly cuisine.

I commend Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort for its dedication to sustainable practices and urge travelers to support such initiatives. By choosing to dine at Sea Salt Restaurant and experience the carbon-free menu, guests can indulge in exceptional gastronomy while contributing to a more sustainable future for the Maldives and beyond.

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Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa unveils Carbon Free Menu on World Environment Day



Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has launched its innovative carbon free menu in celebration of World Environment Day. This initiative is a testament to the resort’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and showcases its efforts to align with Marriott International’s “Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction” as well as to provide guests with an exceptional dining experience while minimizing its ecological impact.

Led by Executive Chef Riccardo Pinna, the resort’s culinary team takes great pride in offering guests the freshest and most environmentally conscious dining options. Emphasizing its dedication to sustainable practices, the resort utilizes vegetables harvested directly from its very own Chef’s Garden. Spanning an impressive area of 130m2, the Chef’s Garden is a thriving green oasis, home to various plants such as tomatoes, lettuce, okra, bringers, basils, chilies, lemongrass, and many more. These organically grown vegetables are carefully nurtured by our landscapers, led by Ali Thakan, ensuring a steady supply of fresh and organic produce that significantly reduces the resort’s carbon footprint.

In addition to the fresh organic vegetables, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa puts great emphasis on supporting local communities and reducing food miles. The resort sources fish locally and directly from nearby fishermen who practice sustainable fishing methods. By collaborating with local suppliers, the resort ensures that guests can enjoy the flavors of Maldivian seas while minimizing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.

The Carbon Free menu offers an array of quintessential dishes such as Organic Watermelon and Tomato Jam with Local Coconut and Basil, Reef Fish Cooked in Coconut Water and Furanafushi Spinach, Reef Lobster Stew with Frisee Lettuce and Lemongrass, and many more available during dinner at Sea Salt Restaurant. Each dish reflects the resort’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and showcases the rich flavors derived from locally sourced and organic ingredients.

As an advocate of environmental stewardship, General Manager, Mohamed El Aghoury said,”At Sheraton Maldives, we understand that every action counts when it comes to preserving our planet. The introduction of our carbon free menu is a significant step towards minimizing our ecological impact while delivering extraordinary culinary experiences to our guests.” He also added that by cultivating a diverse range of plants, the resort ensures a steady supply of organic produce, which significantly reduces the carbon footprint and enhances the quality of their dishes.

On World Environment Day, the resort also engaged with the community by organizing a special planting activity for their young guests. This hands-on experience aims to foster a connection between children and nature, promoting sustainable practices from an early age. Involving older guests, the resort planted 50 Dwarf Hybrid Coconut Trees around the resort in addition to its over 65 varieties of plants that grow naturally on the island.

The lush tropical Eden

Nestled on the natural island of Furanafushi, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is among the larger islands in North Male Atoll boasting some 142,000m2. The island’s fertile soil, enriched with essential nutrients, provides an ideal environment for the growth of diverse trees and plantations absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide. Over 65 varieties of plants thrive on the island, including significant species such as Ficus Benghalisis or the Banyan Tree, which offers a large canopy that provides shelter from the scorching sun. The Maldivian people have historically consumed the Banyan Tree’s fruit for medicinal purposes, while its roots have been used to craft sailing boat booms. One of the biggest Banyan Tree on the island is recorded to start growing in early 1921.  Another noteworthy plant species is Iron Wood, which has been utilized in traditional shipbuilding. Valued for its strength and durability, the Iron Wood serves as an alternative to nails, skilfully holding the planks of the hull together.

Recognizing the importance of nurturing the ecosystem, the resort has implemented a special decomposition program. Fallen leaves and woods are chipped and allowed to naturally decompose, ultimately transforming into nutrient-rich fertilizer. In addition, the resort also successfully converted a once-neglected trash area into a flourishing watermelon garden that yields a bountiful harvest of juicy, organic watermelons as well as soon to add cucumber and corn. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa remains steadfast in its mission to provide guests with a shared experience that aligns with sustainable principles. Through the preservation of its natural surroundings and the implementation of eco-friendly initiatives, the resort exemplifies the harmonious relationship between luxury and environmental consciousness.

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The Ritz-Carlton Maldives presents immersive gastronomic experience with best-selling food writer and TV presenter Rachel Khoo



The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands presents an immersive gastronomic experience with best-selling food writer and international TV presenter, Rachel Khoo from October 29th – 31st as she headlines the resort’s Master of Crafts and Craftsmanship Calendar this year.

Equipped with her highly attuned arsenal of creative culinary credentials, Rachel Khoo will host a series of bespoke guest experiences featuring an exquisite choux pastry masterclass for adults and children, a delectable breakfast grazing table, ‘Guest Judge’ a bake-off amongst guests, visit a Maldivian farmer’s market and thereafter collaborate on a Maldivian Cooking Class with our award-winning culinary team.

The internationally-adored, multi-talented culinary bon vivant, Rachel Khoo brings a global wealth of knowledge with a unique perspective and approach to food – resulting in innovative recipes, a highly developed palate and an original outlook toward all she creates.

Known for her colourful flair, Rachel Khoo’s special appearances on the world stage and into the kitchens and living rooms of home cooks internationally through 15 TV shows, include BBC2s Remarkable Places to Eat, her famed TV series The Little Paris Kitchen, BBC Worldwide’s Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook series, Discovery Network UKs Rachel Khoo’s Chocolate, Food Network’s Rachel Khoo’s Simple Pleasures and Rachel Khoo: My Swedish Kitchen – the TV show counterpart to Rachel’s best-selling cookbook, The Little Swedish Kitchen.

Rachel has judged and co-judged on multiple cooking competition shows including Zumbo’s Just Desserts alongside acclaimed pastry chef Adriano Zumbo, Australia’s popular My Kitchen Rules, BBCs Great British Menu and this summer, Rachel judges on The Great Australian Bake Off Season 6.

At The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands guests can look forward to an up close and personal experience with Rachel Khoo by signing up to her choux pastry masterclass where guests will learn the secrets of making the perfect choux pastry, whip up a range of delicious creams and decorate their choux, making them pretty enough for a Parisian pâtisserie!

Guests can also expect to see Rachel curating and hosting a breakfast grazing table of mini choux pastries with exquisite fillings from classic pastry cream to fine Greek yoghurt, fruit coulis, fresh berries, chocolate, nuts and more.

On her first ever discovery of the Maldives, Rachel will travel to a Maldivian farmer’s market to discover indigenous ingredients, watch fisherman bring in their catch of the day and thereafter co-host a Maldivian cooking class as she learns the secrets of recipes handed down through the generations.

For enthusiastic guests, Rachel will preside over a bake-off as ‘Guest Judge’ where participants will present dishes from one of her many best-selling cookbooks and be evaluated based on taste, presentation, efficiency, and speed.

For more information, click here or visit

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