Chef Mohamed Niyaz is the Maldivian Chef who has breathed life into VARU By Ambiance’s signature restaurant – Kaagé. On this interview, he speaks about his love for native delicacies and his inspiration. He additionally shares phrases of knowledge for budding cooks within the Maldives.
The place are you from?
I used to be born and raised within the stunning island of Ha. Dhihdhoo, within the Haa Alif Atoll, Maldives.
When did you first fall in love with cooking?
Even after I was a child, I used to spend so much of time within the kitchen with my mother. I used to be so intrigued by her wonderful cooking expertise and the way she would put together all types of scrumptious dishes. I’d eagerly watch and study from her each time she cooked. That’s what impressed me to grow to be a chef myself.
What motivates you?
Ever since I used to be a baby, I’ve had a deep ardour for each artwork and cooking. My mom, who’s extremely inventive, would whip up imaginative meals. I’d typically inform her that at some point, after I grew up, I’d grow to be a chef and prepare dinner a particular meal only for her. I’m proud to say that I’ve fulfilled that dream.
Inform us just a little bit about your journey within the hospitality business.
In 2002, I had the possibility to embark on my journey within the tourism business after I started working as a Commis at Hulhule Island Resort. Over 16 years, I climbed the ranks and ultimately held the place of Chef De Partie on the similar lodge. Then, in 2019, an thrilling alternative got here my method as I joined VARU by Ambiance as a Sous Chef. At present, I’m honoured to be working as a Maldivian Chef on the famend Kaagé restaurant, which is the primary of its form in Ambiance Core.
What are a few of your achievements and awards?
All through my 20-year profession, I’ve had the privilege of receiving nominations and successful numerous awards in several competitions and ceremonies. The newest and particular achievement was after I was honoured with the CGM Cooks Award for Excellent Achievement in 2022. The 12 months 2016 proved to be one other profitable 12 months, I achieved exceptional accomplishments in worldwide competitions. Securing second place within the Crew Problem and first place within the International Crew Problem on the Chinese language International Resort’s cooking competitors, CCTV ‘The Best Cooks.’ As well as, I’ve been taking part within the Resort Asia Culinary Problem from 2012 to 2022 and have obtained 12 gold, silver, and bronze awards through the years.
Are you able to describe Kaagé restaurant for us?
Kaagé is the signature Maldivian restaurant at VARU By Ambiance. The restaurant is designed as a standard Maldivian home adorned by heritage images and video storytelling. Friends can relish native flavours introduced with a progressive twist. We use conventional residence cooking strategies to make sure the meals is contemporary, fragrant, and flavourful.
As a chef, what are your most well-liked native components?
Coconut, pandan leaves, Maldivian chilli, and curry leaves maintain a particular place in my culinary repertoire.
Which dish would you extremely suggest to all friends at Kaage?
There are a selection of native dishes on our menu. I’d suggest friends attempt Gulha, a deep-fried pastry ball stuffed with smoked tuna or greens and flavoured with finely chopped onion, grated coconut, and chilli. And Kandu Kukhulu, our famend Maldivian tuna curry, stands out as probably the most distinctive and beloved dish. It’s one among our signature specialties and the wealthy flavours are certain to go away a long-lasting impression on our valued friends.
What are your plans for the long run?
At current, Maldivian delicacies is solely obtainable in eating places inside our nation. My aspiration is to current Maldivian specialty delicacies on a world scale.
What steerage would you provide aspiring Maldivian cooks?
To the youthful era, I wish to emphasize that Maldivian Delicacies is actually distinctive, and with unwavering dedication and perseverance, you possibly can obtain exceptional heights. In keeping with a Maldivian saying, “Fass enburi nubala abadhuves hih varaa eku kuriyah dhaan masahkaeh kuraashey, ehves masahkathaky hadi masahkatheh nooney” (loosely translated as, at all times try to maneuver ahead with braveness, with out dwelling on the previous, as no activity is ever thought of insignificant).