Philipp Stein, the youngest Michelin starred chef in Germany, will be offering two dinners (on 13thand 19thAugust 2016 ) and two culinary masterclasses (on 12thand 18thAugust 2016) exclusively to guests of Coco Bodu Hithi in the Maldives. Coco Bodu Hithi is a luxury 5* resort in the Maldives offering guests an idyllic, secluded island with turquoise waters. Comprising 100 villas, the resort also boasts seven restaurants and bars for guests to enjoy a culinary haven, an international diving school offering PADI and SSI courses, an award winning Coco Spa and first- class land and water-sport facilities.

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

I grew up in the kitchen, because my father is a chef too and he runs a restaurant together with my mother in a suburb of Mainz, Germany. So my first memories of cooking date back to my very early childhood. We had a small playroom connected to the kitchen, which had a glass door so we could watch our father working the whole day preparing food, and our mother serving it. We really loved watching them and started to help as soon as we could.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

My childhood. I think it ́s important to be positively influenced by how your parents treat and use food. If they cook with fresh ingredients it is much more inspiring than if they use convenient ones. You will never know what good food is unless you learn how to make it from scratch.

Describe your culinary style…

Modern, international cuisine with a classic base.

What would you say is the main focus/concept for your menu at Coco Bodu Hithi?

The focus would be on the main product and I just want to lift it up with an intense sauce around it. Of course I will use lots of local products such as fresh tuna or lobsters and serve them in different ways, possible with an Asian or even Mediterranean twist. I don’t like to follow a constant style because there are so many different kinds of cooking and I like to pick out something suitable for that particular occasion.

What made you decide on this approach?

I really love to cook in different countries to learn how the spices and herbs are used to enhance certain flavours. Cooking can be a complex process and I am continuously learning about cooking techniques and unusual ways to combine ingredients. I hope that I can discover something new in the Maldives while using some of the local products.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

Fresh fish, because it’s so versatile so it can be combined with a variety of ingredients to create completely different flavours. Fresh fish is the best product to feel and taste the quality. Also, tomatoes, because you can use them in a number of ways, whether it’s to create a fruity, spicy, sour or even sweet flavoured dish.

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests during your guest chef appearance?

To show them how easy yet intense good food can be, and that you don’t always need 30 ingredients to create a tasty dish.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?

When I went to the Auberge d’Ill and ate the lobster ragout of Marc Haeberlin.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?

Take your time and be meticulous. Don’t rush the culinary process.

What’s next for you/What projects do you have lined up?

We are looking to start a Saturday night dining concept at Favorite restaurant. I think food is fun and you should go to a restaurant to have a good time and enjoy the whole experience, rather than because you are just hungry.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Juggling and loud rock music.

What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?

Hotel de ville, Crissier

For further information please visit: www.cocoboduhithi.com