Holiday Inn Kandooma, Velaa Private Island and HIH bags top honours at Hotel Asia 2017

The International Culinary Challenge held as a part of the Hotel Asia Exhibition this September, was a remarkable display of culinary talent within the Maldivian hotel industry. The competition held at Dharubaruge drew the participation of over 600 chefs representing around 70 hotels and resorts. This year, the top achievements went to Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives, Velaa Private Island and Hulhulé Island Hotel.

Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives walked away with Best Culinary Establishment award, the Alan Palmer Challenge Trophy and Maldives’ Most Outstanding Chef award. The hotel won gold medals for Hot Cooking Poultry, Desserts, Maldivian Dish, and The Perfect Steak & Omelette – to name a few.

“The culinary arts challenge at this year’s edition of Hotel Asia’s Exhibition has been the perfect platform for our chefs to showcase and further develop their skills in cooking,” notes Joseph Della Gatta, General Manager at Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives.

“The participants demonstrated a high level of expertise, reflecting the quality of cuisine experienced by all our guests at the restaurants in Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives. I wish to congratulate all the participating chefs and I am proud of their outstanding efforts.”

Velaa Private Island won a significant number of categories in the competition; namely Dress the Cake, Tapas Finger Foods, Maldivian Dish and Hot Pasta Appetizer.

“It was an amazing experience for all the competitors putting all the efforts and hard work to reach the goal, and by the end of the day it was exciting and we were looking forward to announcement to see if we would get awarded and the most exciting part was the invitation for the goal and the final day of announcement,” says Chef Gaushan de Silva, the Executive Chef of Velaa Private Island.

Among the 22 categories in the competition, the most favoured one, according to Chef Gaushan, was the ‘Maldivian Dish’. He also added that the judges at the competition were very professional and were a source motivation for all the competitors.

The hotel that had its eighth win this year was Hulhulé Island Hotel. The culinary team at HIH works round the year to prepare for these competitions and their team focuses on quality and challenges their own previously set benchmarks, says HIH in a statement.

“The Culinary Challenge competition recognises the pressure of the F&B and restaurant industry. It was about recognising contestants’ skills in preparation of speciality dishes specifically looking at cooking techniques, use of ingredients and plating,” says Mohamed Mazloom, Director and CEO of BBM, commenting on the Culinary Challenge.

The judging panel was made up of 18 distinguished world-qualified judges who were flown down to the event. The criteria’s for the competition were based on international standards.

“What started in 2002 as a small competition with less than 50 contestants has seen significant growth over the years,” notes Husnie Rauf, the General Manager of Maldives Exhibition and Conference Service (MECS). This year the exhibition showcased a total of 175 stalls representing over 2,000 brands. The Hotel Asia Exhibition and International Culinary Challenge is Maldives’ first and largest international trade exhibition.

Winners of Hotel Asia 2016—Chef Ahmed Fatheen from Bandos Island Resort and Chefs Ismail Naseer and Indra Kumar Limbu from Hulhulé Island Hotel—were sponsored to take part at HOFEX 2017 – Asia’s leading food and hospitality trade show in Hong Kong. Their participation was sponsored by Bestbuy Maldives Pvt Ltd (BBM), the main sponsor of Hotel Asia.