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It’s easy to envy Chef Bastian Mantey. He gets to live, play, and practice his passion in one of the most beautiful parts of the world – as head chef at the Alila Villas Hadahaa, Maldives. How many people get to work in a on a luxurious tropical island that attracts visitors from all over the world? But he’s put in the time to earn such a coveted spot… working his way up the ranks of some of Germany’s top Michelin-starred restaurants. Eventually he decided to travel outside his home country to continue to push himself as a chef and see the world.  Choosing to do so by entering into the hotel world, first at the Laguna Resort & Spa in Nusa Dua, Bali and then more recently at the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It’s his latest post though that has him continually smiling (seriously, in a week on the island I don’t know if I ever saw the guy without at least a grin on his face). Can you blame him with a restaurant that has views like this every day?

:)

You can clearly see his European culinary pedigree on every plate… right alongside Asian twists. Which is something I respect. He honors his roots in the kitchen while still responding to the environment he works in. Doing lighter dishes appropriate to the sun and sea of the Maldives, but with a refinement appropriate to the level of the resort.

If you’re lucky enough to go stay at Alila Villas Hadahaa, you won’t have to go searching the kitchen for a chance to talk to Chef Bastian. You’ll see him at almost every meal, out and about with the guests checking in on dishes and service. Despite having to oversee breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and the odd cooking demo on top of it all) he maintains an enthusiasm to his craft that leaves you no doubt the meal coming to your table will be great.

He was nice enough to share a few of the recipes he taught us on our visit and we’re sharing them with you here. When you make them imagine you’re sitting here:

Also drinking a nice white wine with a cool sea breeze blowing through the open dining area, and you’re looking out at waters so vivid, they redefine your definition of blue… at least that’s the way I got to enjoy this

;)

Confit prawn, avocado nut salsa, cardamom pineapple & coriander oil
Confit prawn:
6 pcs prawn, 500ml olive oil, 1 pcs garlic peeled, 30g rosemary or thyme, 50 g mixed pepper, sea salt to taste

Put everything in a pot – bring it up to 75 C. place the prawn 6-8 min in the oil until cooked medium

Avocado salsa: 1hass avocado, 50g mixed nuts, salt, pepper to taste

Peel the avocado, crush with a fork, add the nuts and season it

Pineapple: 1 pineapple, 30g cardamom, 50g sugar, 1liter orange juice, 50ml white wine, salt, pepper,2 drop Tabasco

Cut the pineapple in cubes (use the trimmings for the fond), heat up the orange juice, add the trimmings, add Tabasco, white wine, salt & pepper, reduce to the half, add cardamom – keep for 5-10 minutes, strain the fond in another pot, add pineapple cubes and cook it slowly until “al dente”

Coriander oil: ½ bunch coriander leaves, 200ml olive oil, salt

Blend both ingredients together and add the salt to taste

Pan Fried Scallops, Pak Choi & Saffron Foam
Scallops:
6pcs scallops (USA or Japanese) salt, pepper, lime juice, butter

Heat up the pan, caramelize the scallops from both side, add the butter and lime juice, keep in the pan until medium cooked

Pak choi: 3 bunches of pak choi, 50g onion brunnoise, vegetable or fish stock, salt & pepper

Remove the stalk, sauté onion, add the pak choi, add stock, season to taste

Saffron foam: 50g onion brunnoise, 200ml white wine, 200ml stock, 200 ml cream / milk 50g butter, 2g saffron

Sauté onion, add the white wine, reduce to the half, add the stock, reduce to the half, add saffron, add cream / milk, add butter and blend it – strain in a another pot – blend again, until its nice foamy

Grilled Reef Fish, Parsnip Puree, Spinach Leaves & Capsicum Sauce
Reef fish:
150-200g fish filet, lemon juice, salt & pepper

Season the fish and place it on the grill, keep it on each side for 4-5 minutes or until its cooked

Parsnip: 200g parsnip cut in dices, 50g brunoise onion, 200 ml vegetable stock, 300ml cream, salt & pepper, nut meg

Sauté onion in olive oil, add all other ingredients bring it slowly to boil, simmer it until the parsnip is soft, take it out & blend it smoothly, check seasoning

Capsicum: 200g red or/and yellow capsicum, 30 g onion brunnoise, 30g rosemary / thyme

Sauté onions in olive oil, add the capsicum, sauté until soft, blend smoothly and strain, check seasoning

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