When you go to your favourite restaurant, have you ever wondered who was the talented person who made the dish? In the Maldives, we see very few local chefs and it’s time to figure out why this is the case. Mohamed Adam, commonly known as ‘Chef Mode’, is one of the most talented cooks in the country, with experience at several prestigious resorts including Anantara Resorts in the Maldives and Waldorf Austria Ithaafushi. With the help of Chef Mode, here are 5 reasons there are too fewer local chefs in the country.
Having a knife in your hand, an apron over your clothes and a white hat on your head was not a very prestigious image during the past in the Maldives. People who had a dream of becoming chefs were often bullied or taunted for wanting to be in the kitchen. This issue was especially faced by males since it was believed by some people that cooking is something done by females only. The entertainment industry of Maldives also contributed to the chef stereotype. It was believed that it’s very feminine of males to become chefs.
2. Experience as a job requirement
Especially during the early days, the experience was a significant job requirement. Fresh graduates are unable to apply for a job since they do not have the required level of experience for that job. As a result, this limited several opportunities available for those who wanted to establish a career in the culinary field.
3. How resorts started
The first resorts in the Maldives were established after an Italian travel agent brought a group to tourists to the Maldives after being impressed by the natural beauty of the island nation. Since the resorts were very much focused on attracting tourists into the country, in the earlier days, often resorts’ culinary experiences offered involved international cuisines. This could be one of the reasons why there are resorts in the country that still needs to improve the focus on local cuisines.
4. The local educational system
In a public school, students study business subjects and science subjects. Doctors, engineers and pilots are occupations that are popular internationally. However, students are often confused about what they want to become as there is less/no career guidance provided while they are in school. On top of this, students are encouraged to join practical classes such as cooking classes after they finish O Levels. Training cooking classes should be available before that if students are interested.
5. Discrimination between locals and expats
The problem of foreign employment is not a new subject to the Maldives. The issue has been brought to highlights several times. Especially in the hospitality industries, more foreigners are employed instead of locals. This is seen at the restaurants in resorts as well. Further, some resorts treat local employees and expats different, regardless of the same level of work done. The discrimination involves lower pay of locals as well as the way locals are treated compared to foreigners.