Anand Modak – Executive Chef of NOOE Maldives Kunaavashi

Read below on our exclusive interview with Anand Modak, the Executive Chef at NOOE Maldives Kunaavashi. With an distinguished culinary journey spanning over three decades, Chef Modak has amassed a wealth of experience working in prestigious hotels, cruise lines, and renowned restaurants globally. His culinary expertise is a fusion of international influences and a deep-rooted passion for creating exceptional dining experiences. In this interview, Chef Modak shares insights into his culinary journey, his inspirations, the emerging trends in the hospitality industry, and his approach to crafting innovative menus that cater to diverse preferences.

Could you tell us about your journey into the culinary world? What inspired you to become a chef?

My culinary journey kicked off in 1992, back when I was just a budding chef in a local café. After polishing my skills with a diploma in Hotel Management from IHM-GOA, I landed my first gig at the renowned Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, a part of the prestigious IHCL group, in 1995.

Following my certification, I spread my wings internationally. I found myself in the bustling kitchens of Muscat, Oman, working with IHG Group, and later, the vibrant culinary scene of Dubai with J.W. Marriott. It was during my time there, particularly at the Hofbrauhaus and J.W. Steakhouse, that my passion for cooking truly came alive. The call of the open sea beckoned in 2001 when I ventured into the world of cruise-line cuisine with Cunard in Southampton, UK. Sailing aboard the luxurious Ocean Liner Caronia and the iconic Queen Elizabeth-2, I had the chance to explore diverse cuisines from around the globe.

By 2004, I found myself in the heart of Miami, Florida, with Radisson Seven Seas, later rebranded as Regent Seven Seas Cruises. There, I embarked on unforgettable journeys, including a world cruise that took me to 72 countries in a single voyage. This culinary adventure, sparked by my father’s global work experiences and nurtured by my mother’s diverse cooking styles, has been nothing short of a delightful exploration of cultures and flavors. Each step of my journey has been infused with a deep love for food and an unyielding commitment to my craft. 

With over 13 years of experience, what drives your passion for cooking? What keeps you inspired in the kitchen?

Chef Modak: The smiles, positive feedback, and satisfaction from our guests are my driving forces. Cooking is like chemistry; the right ingredients create memorable experiences. Guest comments, feedback, and appreciation motivate me. I’ve learned invaluable lessons in empathy, promptness, and discipline from the various kitchens I’ve worked in.

Could you tell us about the emerging trends in the hospitality and culinary industry.

Plant-based and authentic healthy regional foods are gaining popularity. Live cooking stations, especially for street-inspired food, are also on the rise. People are becoming more health-conscious, demanding diverse and nutritious dining experiences.

Can you discuss your approach to creating a balanced and innovative menu, considering both local and international influences? How do you ensure that your menus cater to the diverse preferences of the guests?

Every menu is meticulously planned, considering diverse preferences. We clearly label dishes, indicating if they’re vegan, spicy, or contain nuts. Our teams are trained to prepare food based on guest preferences, ensuring flexibility. We even have separate menus for kids, tailored to different age groups, with options for healthy and vegan meals.

As the Executive Sous Chef at NOOE Maldives Kunaavashi, what unique experiences and flavors can guests expect from your creations?

At NOOE Maldives Kunaavashi, guests can indulge in Japanese-inspired Teppanyaki grill, premium dining at Flame with live charcoal grill, and a diverse international buffet at our all-day dining. We cater to various dietary requirements, ensuring a memorable and inclusive culinary experience.

Could you share a glimpse into what a day in your life as the Executive Chef at NOOE Maldives Kunaavashi looks like?

My day starts at 6 am with exercise, followed by morning briefings and checks on outlets and storage. I conduct tastings, oversee operations, and attend meetings. Afternoons involve paperwork, training sessions, and preparation for evening events. My day typically ends with dinner, followed by office work and planning for the next day’s activities.

What advice would you give to young chefs who aspire to follow in your footsteps and create their mark in the culinary world?

Embrace failure; it’s a stepping stone to success. Stay passionate, work hard, and be open to learning. Endurance is key; the culinary journey is vast and ever-evolving. Discipline, teamwork, and respect for colleagues are crucial. Absorb criticism, continually learn, and remember, the culinary world is as vast as an ocean—enjoy the journey.