Batch Mlesi Executive Chef Riccardo Pinna 1

Sustainable gastronomy: Chef Riccardo Pinna on elevating dining at Sheraton Maldives

Nestled in the idyllic setting of the Maldives, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa stands as a beacon of culinary excellence, guided by the experienced hands of Executive Chef Riccardo Pinna. With a career spanning three decades and numerous countries, Chef Pinna’s journey to the Maldives is a testament to his dedication, passion, and innovative spirit in the culinary arts.

Chef Riccardo Pinna’s culinary odyssey began in Sardinia, Italy, where he honed his skills at a local culinary school. His passion for food and a desire to explore new cultures and flavors led him to travel extensively, working in 15 different countries. From the bustling kitchens of London and the serene landscapes of Australia to the vibrant culinary scenes of Spain and Dubai, Chef Pinna’s global experiences have significantly shaped his culinary style. Most recently, his journey took him to the dynamic and rapidly evolving culinary landscape of Saudi Arabia, where his innovative approach continues to thrive and inspire, before arriving in the Maldives to further elevate his culinary artistry.

“Each country I worked in contributed to my growth as a chef,” he reflects. “I have been fortunate to learn from the best aspects of many chefs I met along the way, which has been instrumental in shaping my approach to cooking.”

Batch Mlesi Saan Chef Riccardo 6

Unlike many chefs who are influenced by a singular culinary figure, Chef Pinna draws his inspiration from the diverse chefs he has encountered throughout his career. This collective inspiration has fuelled his creativity and passion, allowing him to incorporate a broad spectrum of culinary techniques and flavors into his repertoire.

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is renowned for its diverse and authentic dining experiences. Under Chef Pinna’s leadership, the resort boasts multiple dining outlets, each offering a unique culinary journey. Authenticity is key, with chefs from various nationalities ensuring that the cuisine reflects true cultural flavours. From the rich spices of the Indian restaurant to the delicate flavours of the Thai and the hearty dishes of the Italian restaurant, guests are treated to a global feast.

A standout event is the special Maldivian night, where local chefs prepare traditional dishes using ingredients sourced from the island or Male, presented in a stunning beach buffet. This dedication to authenticity and diversity sets Sheraton Maldives apart in a competitive market.

One of Chef Pinna’s notable initiatives at the resort is the introduction of a carbon-free menu, which has been warmly received by guests. Driven by a commitment to sustainability, the menu features produce from the resort’s organic chef gardens, including the innovative “100-metre salad,” made entirely from ingredients grown on the island.

“The main challenge was the limited variety of produce,” Chef Pinna explains. “But it pushed us to be creative with what we have. While creating a full a la carte menu was difficult, a tasting menu allowed us to showcase fresh, sustainable ingredients.”

Batch Mlesi Saan Chef Riccardo 13

Sustainability is not just a trend but a core principle of modern gastronomy, and Chef Pinna incorporates it into every aspect of his kitchen operations. The resort’s Green Globe certification, the use of garden-fresh ingredients, and an efficient waste management program are testaments to this commitment. The resort even has a biogas plant that converts restaurant waste into biogas, further supporting its sustainability efforts.

A typical day for Chef Pinna is anything but ordinary. Overseeing seven dining outlets and a staff canteen, he ensures that 1200 meals per day are prepared for the resort’s 350 staff members. His day involves not only managing kitchen operations but also engaging with guests, gathering feedback, and continuously striving to enhance the dining experience.

“Working in the Maldives is unique compared to a city hotel,” he says. “The logistics are different, and it requires creativity and adaptability. The staff here becomes your family, and you live and work together as a close-knit community.”

Batch Mlesi Saan Chef Riccardo 2

For Chef Pinna, every day at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa brings a new culinary adventure. The diverse range of guests ensures that no two days are alike, making his experience at the resort continuously exciting and fulfilling.

As for the future, Chef Pinna and his team are constantly updating menus and exploring new dining experiences to keep guests delighted. “While there are no major changes planned at the moment, we are always looking for ways to enhance our guests’ dining experiences,” he shares.

With Chef Riccardo Pinna at the helm, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa continues to set high standards in culinary excellence, offering guests a truly unforgettable dining experience in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.