Chef Akshay Bhardwaj is a seasoned culinary professional with over 15 years experience of working in hotels all over the world. Currently he is the Executive Chef at Colours of Oblu Xperience and Select properties which is an experiential two resort property, one of the largest and innovatively different resort segments in Maldives.
Chef Akshay has traveled to 30 +countries and worked across 5 countries, trained under the finest across the globe for example in NOMA Denmark and Bourget du lac France. He believes in defining food by ingredients and not cuisines with the diaspora of his experience. He specializes in Italian cuisine and with time his food philosophy has diversified to highlight the elements in the dish rather than just defining them by cuisine .Chef Akshay Bhardwaj has also been a TEDX speaker on how sustainability in food can create a better future for chefs to understand ingredients better.
Known for visionary leadership in high-end gastronomy and expertly crafting exceptional dining experiences, he has so far proven successful in managing diverse culinary teams. Chef Akshay is also adept at nurturing their growth, ensuring top-tier performance and maintaining operational excellence. He is also proficient in cost-effective culinary strategies, streamlining resources and upholding a strong commitment to sustainability.
Do you have a favourite time of the year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?
The colder it gets the happier I feel. But keeping my personal preferences aside I prefer autumn, or some say fall time of the year for cooking considering the fact that local mushrooms are at their best, meats are always in great condition and root vegetables start to become even more amazing. The season that begins in the last quarter of the year before the chilly winters hit across is my most favourite. My all time favorite set of Ingredients are various types of mushrooms. Country farm culture has started evolving a lot and availability gets better and better.
What would you do if you weren’t a chef?
I have always dreamt about flying. I would have tried my best to join the Indian Air force has i not been a chef. Most of my family has been employed by the defence forces hence the charm of uniform and discipline is well embedded in me.
Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?
Yes and no. It depends as being in the industry one gets to understand the palate of a guest to be catered to and as a chef I add my interpretation when sit down menus are designed to give them a unique experience all together. At the end of the day good quality ingredients cooked with love is all that matters.
What do you think is the most over-hyped food trend currently?
I would say reel food hacks. Some of these reels created by chefs or individuals with real food are really good. But people have gotten into the habit of adding processed snacks to food which has ruined it.
When are you happiest?
When I am cooking something different and creative and when it is presented to a guest i feel jittery until i hear words of appreciation. That moment for me is the happiest time.
When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?
Either in the chef’s garden or going through my books. I believe knowledge is wealth and reading about restaurants and their journeys inspires me.
What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?
A nice poutine in the winters with some stringy goey cheese or a poke bowl. Homemade double layered cauliflower or onion paratha and my all-time favourite soupy Maggie.
What makes the local food scene so exciting?
The history and technique behind the local food scene is what makes it exciting.
You’re having friends over for dinner tonight. What’s on the table?
Open pulled meat and portobello Baos, loaded mashed burgers, roast chicken with togarashi marinade, sautéed porcini and cepes, sour dough left over pudding with berries, smorgasbord with cured fish and eggs is what i would serve my friends for dinner.
Name your favourite city that has it all: food, culture, and nightlife.
- Brussels – Belgium
- Delhi – India
- Mumbai – India
Brilliant night life and food to go with it.
Can you tell us more about the cuisine at your restaurants?
- Element X – All day dining catering to all three meals to our guests with segment of all cuisines in a buffet. One of the biggest layouts in Maldives with assortments from all across the globe.
- Ylang Ylang – An all-day dining which is purely based on hand crafted meals for every discerning guest. Catering to a semi buffet concept where main course and desserts are made to order.
- Ghadiya -17 – The food truck Is named after the actual name of the island catering to exclusive meats from grills paired with wines overlooking the sunset from the Lobigili island .
- Copper pot – Catering to our discerning guests with a sit down grill menu where surf and turf is theme for our guests to enjoy the local grilled seafood and delectable grilled meats.
- Underwater restaurant called ‘ONLY BLU’, the food here is prepared with a focus on ingredients and not the cuisine. Food selection is course wise and caters to different tastes.