Open since February 2014 Kandolhu Island has captivated the hearts of many and is now currently ranked as the 2nd top getaway in the famed island nation of the Maldives. This year marks the second anniversary of the tiny heart-shaped island but what really contributed to this spectacular glory?
With just 30 intimate villas, 4 gourmet restaurants and a house reef with resident turtles swimming around, how can you not be convinced? A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels chain, Kandolhu Island provides a luxe but laid-back experience.
This Maldives hotel offers bespoke services, tailor-made with an added flavour of warm hospitality. Out of the 30 villas presented in 5 unique categories, the Ocean Pool Villa stands out as the iconic face of the resort with its signature glass bathroom. The villas are all fitted handsomely with designer brands from Switzerland, Germany and Italy. A spaciously sized sundeck views out to the array of corals splayed in the ocean with fiery sunsets visible during the evening.
Come evening board the magnificent Ari Explorer, a luxurious 50-metre vessel, and enjoy canapés served with champagne. The skipper drives into the infinite ocean as wisps of scarlet and orange colour the translucent clouds in the sky like canvas.
Anantara and Naladhu Maldives are welcomes back Two-Star Michelin Chef Heiko Nieder to their kitchen for a two-night guest chef appearance in the first week of August 2015. Delighting epicurean travellers staying at Naladhu, Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli Resort & Spa in South Malé Atoll, Chef Heiko will create an exquisite nine-course tasting menu, served exclusively at The Living Room in Naladhu for two evenings.
The driving force since 2008 at The Restaurant in The Dolder Grand, Zurich, Chef Heiko is renowned for his fresh and innovative gourmet cuisine, and was awarded two Michelin stars in 2011. Further accolades include the Gault Millau since 2012 and for Chef Heiko personally in 2014 he was awarded the titles of “Best German Chef abroad” by Gault Millau Germany and “Le Grand Chef du Guide Bleu” by Guide Bleu 2014/15 for his culinary creations.
After training at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten (Hamburg ) Heiko Nieder went to Le Canard Josef Viehhauser in Hamburg in 1994, and in 1995 to the Zur Traube for Dieter L. Kaufmann, Grevenbroich. In 1997 he joined Vau in Berlin. In 2002, he came as a chef in the l’ Orquivit in Bonn, where he was awarded the Michelin Guide of 2005 with his first Michelin star.
“Having watched documentaries on Chef Heiko and after the distinct pleasure of his first guest dinner with us in March this year, I admire his dedication to perfection, being under pressure every day to deliver a two-star Michelin experience,” compliments Torsten Richter, Cluster General Manager of Naladhu and Anantara Resorts in South Malé Atoll. “Chef Heiko has a contemporary plating style, which is in keeping with the elegant surrounds of The Living Room and timeless nature of Naladhu. It is an honour for us that Chef Heiko will be returning for special appearance, cooking solely for just 16 guests each night. It will be truly a memorable event, and one which places the Maldives high on the international map for culinary excellence.”
Q&A with Two-Star Michelin Chef Heiko Nieder
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
My grandmother was a cook and she cooked wonderfully. As a child I would try to imitate her dishes, but I never actually wanted to become a cook myself. There was a risk of becoming thick…then while still at school I did the usual practical placement, working in the office for an import-export company. I quickly realized that I never wanted to work in an office, but the company was trading tea and vanilla, and those were the things that fascinated me. Shortly afterwards I helped a neighbour, who was a trained chef, to create a buffet. The work with food was so much fun and tasted so delicious…that’s when my decision was clear to become a Chef.
Name some inspirational mentors in your career and why?
All my kitchen chefs have taught me so many things, and each of them has made an impression on me in one way or another. And from there, you find your own way…but every good cook who has his own style has inspired and motivated me!
How do you describe your signature cooking style?
Light, modern cuisine with an extraordinary combination of flavours!
With two Michelin stars and “Germany’s Best Expatriate Chef” to your name, where does your creative inspiration come from?
I never want to be bored in my place of work. And in that quest, I would like our guests to have some participation. The search and discovery of new creations and combinations using the best ingredients is always exciting, but it should never be experimental just for the sake of showing off. The result should always be as if the unusual finds a natural yet surprising harmony together.
What was most surprising about your first visit to Anantara in the Maldives in March this year?
The knowledge, the enjoyment at the workplace, the quality of food and the work ethic of the whole kitchen team, from the Chef to the youngest member of the team, I was quite honestly extremely positively surprised. It was so much fun!
Is there a Maldivian ingredient or dish that has since then provided inspiration for your dishes?
There is a dish with smoked fish, coconut and a few other ingredients. It was a joy to eat and it stimulated my own ideas for a few new creations too. Which destinations have surprised you most as foodie hotspots? I find that in every country, every region has something for me to get excited about. There are great dishes to discover everywhere, you just have to find them, and when I do, I am the happiest person in the world!
Do you prefer to pair wine with food, or food with wine?
I prefer to have the dish first and then seek a wine to pair it with. But that’s because we do it that way here on a daily basis. The guests choose first the food and then the wine. The other way around is also fun though, and I do that more at home or for special guests.
What can guests at Anantara in the Maldives expect from your forthcoming visit?
An evening that will make your holiday, in addition to the great location…the islands, the resort, the amazing personnel, the Maldives alone….even more special and memorable!
Only 16 seats are available for this special event, so hurry up and reserve at [email protected]
Veligandu Island Resort, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, an excellent house reef and long stretches of white,
sandy beach, is the only Resort on the island of Veligandu, North Ari Atoll. It is 600 meters long by 150 meters wide, about 22 acres. Your seaplane transfer from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is a scenic, 20 minute flight.