Chef Jordi Villa - The Sensational Spaniard Of Halaveli

Chef Jordi Villa
PUBLISHED November 01, 2017

<p class="MsoNormal">Chef Jordi Vila, one of the biggest stars in the culinary industry in the Maldives was kind enough to grant us an interview where he explained just how difficult it is to be a chef, and the immense amount of passion that it takes to be one.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Tell us about your days in Barcelona? How did your career start?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I come from Barcelona, where my family had a farm as well as a small business managing restaurants. On my family&rsquo;s farms, we reared animals and grew fruits and vegetables such as turnips.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I started to get interested in this field because of my grandmother, who used to cook everything from scratch. After learning a lot from her, I started working Saturday nights as a pastry chef at small restaurant while i was still 15. Later I started focusing a lot more on my studies and decided to see new things in myteenage years. That is when I moved to the regional capital Barcelona, where I worked in a few restaurants before I decided to go and see the world.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Having travelled all over the world, could you tell us some of the most important things that you have learned in your travels?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I believe that traveling is important for everyone. Because traveling is equal to learning.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Because of my travels I have learned about cuisines and cultures from all over the world. From places such as Tokyo, Philippines and even Dubai. That is why I can work in the Maldives.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Halaveli is a resort where we can get 40 different nationalities for dinner on a single night, and because of my travels, because of what I have learned I am able to satisfy all these different people. I am very lucky to have been able to travel throughout the world. For a Chef, it is extremely important. You get to meet all kinds of different people and like I mentioned above learn new things. If you don&rsquo;t travel, you don&rsquo;t learn and it&rsquo;s as simple as that.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Could you describe your style of cooking in just one sentence?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It is an &lsquo;Interpretation of my travels&rsquo;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What are the most difficult aspects of being a Chef?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Well I don&rsquo;t have many difficulties in my job but there are issues such as sourcing the ingredients. But that is also nothing if you have the passion for your job. I like to think that I have the passion for my job so these issues are things that I actually enjoy. It depends on how you take it. If you can see the bright side of things, you can be successful. However, if you don&rsquo;t have the passion, everything is difficult.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Since you have worked with chefs of repute such as Gordon Ramsey, how did it affect your career?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I am extremely lucky to have been under the tutelage of Chef Gordon Ramsey. He helped me to be different and develop my own styles. Because that&rsquo;s what celebrity chefs are, they are one of a kind. He is an amazing chef and I learned a lot from him.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Having worked at top class hotels throughout the world, what are the main differences that you have noticed between these hotels and Constance Halaveli?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Like I said before, I am extremely lucky to travel all over the world. But everywhere chefs are different, the concepts of these restaurants are also different. Because they do things differently over there. Here in Halaveli, I have the freedom of choice.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I am allowed to do everything I want and I am also blessed with a wonderful team of highly skilled chefs. There are many beautiful restaurants around the world, but we try to innovate what we do every day, because if you do not innovate then you will slowly go down.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How would you describe the Maldives, its culinary industry and cuisine?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Maldives is of course paradise on earth. It is a place where the culinary industry is growing every day and getting better. Maldivian food is also very good, and can get even better when infused and innovated with other techniques. I try to use the local products in fine dining every day, because there is a lot of innovative things that can be done with the locally available products such as the watermelons. Take this little recipe for instance which is a new Interpretation of Tuna Gulha. Maldivian Tuna Cubes Tuna, Watermelon, Gouda, Chilli It is so simple and yet so tasty and filled with local products.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>In what areas should the country improve in order to become even better?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Things may not always be easy here in the Maldives, but it all goes away with experience and passion. The country is getting better and better day by day. But we as Chefs, have the power to change the mindsets mentality of the visitors to the country. Maldives can be a reference as a top class culinary destination and be strong in F&amp;B. We can change it so that the guests do not come here for the holiday but for the amazing food. They need to come here because it is one of the best places to eat in the world. And that is in our power to change, but we need to innovate and develop even more.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What do you think of your restaurants and the team here?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">We have some of the best restaurants in the country and that is only possible because of the amazing team here. Our restaurants are filled with chefs from different nationalities. They are extremely skilled and well versed in different cuisines. Even I learn from my team members here.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Describe your version of a perfect meal? Is it the food or the surrounding environment?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The best food is the simplest food. But it has to be had with the perfect companion. The wonderful food must be shared with someone you love.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Even a tomato and bread can be the best meal in the world if it&rsquo;s with someone you love. But the food must also be made with passion. The flour for the bread must be grown with love and care, even if it is made with the best products and flour, if these things are missing then it is not the best food.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Do you try to mentor your staff?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Yes, of course. I love to teach my staff. Because I want everyone to be surprised by us here in Halaveli. If a good employee of mine was to leave and impress his new boss, that person would automatically be intrigued by who trained that employee and where he was before. And for that employee to proudly be able to say &lsquo;oh I worked for Chef Jordi in Halaveli, what did you expect?&rsquo;, it goes to show that even if people leave they would still remember you. You could leave a lasting impact on their career. The feedback is always very important.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I like to treat everyone on the same level as me and try to mentor everyone with my experiences as it is very important to educate the young one and teach! Teach! Teach! Because they are the future.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is the one piece of advice that you would leave for a fellow chef or budding new one?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Everything takes time. This is a profession which is a beautiful job but also a difficult one. You need to be prepared to spend long hours on the job, holidays like Easter and Christmas. You will be working when your friends are out having fun. Chefs also do not have the time to relax until the job is done. So you need to ask yourself before you enter the industry, do you really want to be a chef? Do you have the passion that it takes?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p>

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