Andrea Montuori is the Executive Chef at Kuda Villingili Resort, a brand-new luxury resort nestled in the North Male’ Atoll of Maldives. Having worked extensively in iconic properties all over the world, Andre now brings his unmatched culinary know-how and skillset to the team at Kuda Villingili.
Here, Andrea shares the story of how he came to be a chef, and delves further into his career so far in the Maldivian hospitality industry.
I started my career in Sardinia, Italy, about twenty years ago. Then I flew to Bologna, and I began working in the big cities of Italy. After that, I moved to Ireland, and from there on, it was a long journey of traveling and working in various parts of the world.
I came to the Maldives after having worked in Moscow, Russia. Moscow is one of the biggest metropolises in Europe, and I had worked in the Hotel National in Moscow, which is one of the most iconic properties in the world, boasting 120 years of history.
After Russia, I decided to go from -30 degrees to +30 degrees, which is why I chose the Maldives. My first contract in the Maldives was with One & Only Reethi Rah, which is another glorious and renowned global property chain. Currently, I’m here at Kuda Villingili serving in the position of Executive Chef.
First of all, cooking comes really naturally to me. I’ve always felt great in the kitchen, whether it was at home or in a commercial kitchen. I’ve also always been fascinated by the chef’s uniform. I wear this traditional uniform, because I have that childhood image imprinted in my mind – that a chef has to wear this beautiful, white double-breasted jacket with buttons. That’s the picture I was always dreaming about. It all went very well even from the beginning, so I never stopped thinking that being an executive chef would be the end goal of my career.
I’m very lucky to have been able to work with some of the most iconic properties across the world. From the Hassler Hotel in Rome which boasts 125 years of history, to La Reserve Geneva, yet another sublime property. Every place that I’ve worked in had their own set of challenges, in their own way. It’s hard for me to choose one; it’s been very difficult and demanding to work in all of them. And I believe this will be my next challenge, working at Kuda Villingili Resort, and I’m sure it will be an amazing journey.
Even after twenty years of being a chef, I still receive messages from my old students and commis chefs who had worked for me. They would tell me that they’ve now become chefs themselves, that they now work in different parts of the world, or that they are now leading a hotel themselves. They would thank me for the inspiration and knowledge, and I think that’s my biggest success honestly.
As chefs, we are not only cooks, we are also teachers. We help others grow. We guide people and teach them how to succeed in this line of work. That is my biggest achievement, to have played a role in the growth of hundreds of young chefs throughout my career.
The best advice I can give is to be patient. Be very patient, because there is a long way to go to become an executive chef. Trust in what you do, because although it may be a challenging job, in the end it is very rewarding. Of course, there will be tough days. There will be days where you feel like you might give up, but remember that hard work always pays off. With dedication and passion, you can achieve anything.
For more information on the resort, please visit: www.kudavillingili.com