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GOURMET TRAVEL: CHEF CHET SHARMA & CORA CORA MALDIVES

Chef Chet Sharma, from the multi-award-winning BiBi Restaurant in London’s Mayfair, has spent the festive season experiencing ‘Freedom Time’ at the beautiful Cora Cora Maldives.

Over the festive season Chef Chet collaborated with the luxury resort and hosted the CCM X BiBi Restaurant Masterclass and the CCM X BiBi Restaurant Featured Set Menu so Cora Cora Maldives’ guests could experience a taste of India in the Maldives. 

Prior to flying out to the Maldives Chef Chet said he was excited ‘to share some of our knowledge and experience with spice and grilling out at Cora Cora Maldives. And of course, for the set menu experience, being able to discover and work with local ingredients to create an entirely unique menu is very exciting for me as a Chef’.

Cora Cora Maldives prides its on offering its guests a one-of-a-kind immersive Maldivian cultural, experiential, and culinary experience. So when Chef Chet wasn’t creating unforgettable gastronomic memories for fellow guests he was using his time at Cora Cora Maldives to gather ideas so he can create a new “taste of Cora Cora Maldives” dish. This special dedicated Cora Cora Maldives dish will be available at BiBi restaurant in London’s Mayfair from January to April 2024 – perfect for bringing a little bit of sunshine to the UK Winter and to bring back memories of time spent at Cora Cora Maldives .

How will your stay at Cora Cora Maldives inspire your new dishes?
I’m looking forward to escaping the winter snow here in London to celebrate brighter and more vibrant flavours out in the Maldives. I expect we will have a few raw seafood dishes, ceviche style but with our own BiBi twist, as well as some more substantial hot dishes to leave guests with the satisfaction of a proper Indian meal.

When you return back to your restaurant BiBi in London’s Mayfair, you will be including a 'taste of Cora Cora Maldives' dish on your menu (available from January to April 2024). How will you gather ideas of Maldivian flavours and culture while at Cora Cora Maldives, and then create the new dish? 
The great thing about travel is that the ‘operational’ side of chef’s brain shuts off and then creativity can flow. And of course, with lots of eating, tasting and conversations with the Cora Cora team. 

What are you most proud about at BiBi?
That we’ve built a solid team within the restaurant, and a loyal clientele outside it.
 
What do you consider to be essential to create a special dining experience.

To never forget why people eat in restaurants - to feel like they’re looked after. The word restaurant comes from the same latin root as the word ‘restore’. As chefs and restaurateurs we can never forget that.

Which country (in your opinion) has the best cuisine?
India, but I might be biased

What was your most memorable meal ever?
One morning, I was descending down a mountain in Kashmir, and we found a family with a small hut selling stuffed potato flatbreads. The flavour of those breads, pillowy-soft with homemade yoghurt and their own pickle, is something that will live with me forever.

Food creates memories. Is there a dish that instantly evokes a favourite travel experience or destination?
Too many to list! But I’m looking forward to some good Indian Ocean rum after my events at Cora Cora to recapture memories of Island holidays over the years.

When travelling, is there a 'comfort food' dish which reminds you of home?
Daal and plain rice. The ultimate comfort food for me.

 'Luxury to me is about quality local produce more than anything particularly fancy. Give me a local Maldivian bonito or tuna fresh from the ocean over foie gras any day'
What does 'luxury ' (in relation to travel) mean to you?

Luxury is about service. When I used to work at a famous 5* hotel in London, the general manager would say that anybody can build a fancy hotel suite, but picking the guests favourite fruit at peak ripeness is the definition of luxury hospitality.

Which item(s) of food sum up luxury for you?
Maybe I’ve become immune to the luxuries of caviar and truffle. But luxury to me is about quality local produce more than anything particularly fancy. Give me a local Maldivian bonito or tuna fresh from the ocean over foie gras any day.

Which three foods would you take to a desert island?
- A cow; to make milk and yoghurt, and then eat the cow later if necessary
- A coconut, to plant so that if stuck for many years, I still have some fruit to eat / water to drink.
- Lots of Potatoes. The most versatile ingredient in the world.

Luxury Resorts Link: www.coracoraresorts.com , www.bibirestaurants.com

Sarah Bryans 01/12/2023

What are you most looking forward to during your time spent at Cora Cora?
Sunshine! A little reconnecting with nature through some scuba / snorkelling and exploring a local culture and cuisine I know very little about.
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