The Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Kuda Huraa is an award winning luxury property that beckons guests with the welcoming embrace of a lagoon, flower gardens, a private spa island in a charming setting of a Maldivian village. The luxury resort now welcomes Kishan Singh, a culinary veteran who has been with the Four Seasons since 2016, as the resort’s new Head chef.
Born in Almora, Uttarakhand, India, when Kishan was 13 years old his father unexpectedly passed away. Young Kishan supported his elder brother running the family’s North Indian restaurant in the hills of Almora – when his studies allowed. By the time he’d finished school, he had “fallen in love with cooking for a living,” as well as the flavourful organic products of his hill station home. Not long after completing his three-year hospitality management diploma, he landed a coveted role at The Leela Palace – in one of India’s top restaurants, Jamavar – and his path was set.
His career has been on an upward trajectory ever since, as Kishan has showed his skill and creativity at many leading hotels in southern Thailand, under brands such as Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach Phuket, Thailand; Shangri-La hotel Jakarta, Indonesia; Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru; Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India; Sofitel Phnom Penh, Cambodia; The Leela Palace, Kempinski, Bangalore, India; ITC hotel Bangalore, India; Le Meridien Hotel New Delhi, India (training).
Coriander is his go-to herb – “without it you have 50 percent less flavour” – but it’s his passion for the natural flavours of the food that underpins his signature style. “At Baraabaru, named one of CNN Travel’s top ten “Maldives’ Finest Tables” for 2022, not only is every dish cooked to order for optimum freshness, it’s also tailored to each guest: “Dairy- or gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, Jain, individual spice levels – the way we customise dishes to exact tastes and dietary requirements is one of the things that makes Baraabaru so special. It creates so many options – an almost limitless menu of choices.”
From the kebabs and charcoal tandoors of North India to the curries and spices of the South, Chef Singh’s focus is on making fresh, authentic dishes – and making them well. His favourite? Dal Makhani. But this is Dal Makhani like you’ve never had it before – taking 48 hours to prepare, it’s a recipe he’s been lovingly perfecting since his days at The Leela, aided by his first ever mentor. He takes this same inclusive approach with his own team: “If my team does well, the restaurant does well, the guests are happy and I am doing my job properly.”
Chef Singh is still so dedicated to cooking – “the purest part of my role” – that it remains his favourite pastime, especially when accompanied by Baraabaru’s nightly live sitar band. The same classical musical creates the backdrop to his downtime but the kitchen is never far from his mind: “I always like to be a good human being with a great sense of humour and respect for others but other than that, to me, it’s all about cooking.”