Exclusive Interview | Chef Jan Van de Voorde; Executive Chef; Dhigali Maldives

A good chef should be supportive and be a mentor for his kitchen brigade.
— Chef Jan Van de Voorde

What do you think makes a good chef?

A good Chef should be a team player and appreciate all levels of people in his kitchen from stewarding to Sous chefs. He should be supportive and be a mentor for his kitchen brigade. He should be always on the floor to help his team when they are in need.

How do you recruit for the kitchen? The process, etc

First we shortlist applicants by reviewing the resumes. When this is done, we interview the shortlisted candidates checking more on their skills and experiences. Then we send the resume to human resources for background check and suitability of employment in the team. If this comes out positive, we offer them the job.

What do you look for while recruiting for the kitchen:

At the entry / fresher stage

We are looking for motivated people with the right charisma and a basic knowledge of cooking. We prefer people who are graduated in culinary arts.

At the mid-level - CDP, Sous Chef stage

We are looking for at least 3year experience in a similar role in a 5star property. The candidates need to have remote island experience. They need to have a proven track of trainings and HACCP knowledge

At the senior level - Executive Sous Chef, Executive Chef stage

The candidate needs to have more than 5 year experience in a similar role and needs to be a team player.

HACCP certification is necessary. Speaking different languages is a plus.

What leadership do programs/training programs you run for chefs?

We have leadership trainings, food and safety trainings. We do regular internal cooking competitions and individual 10 min. trainings.

What are some initiatives that are geared towards making the chef’s work lives easier?

We have professional uniforms and safety shoes for all kitchen staff, We tried to make straight shifts as much as possible. We have a football stadium and cricket pitch for recreational purpose. Also, indoor games like pool table, table tennis and a gym is available for all our staff so they can unwind after a busy shift.

Living and working on a remote island has its challenges and we encourage our team to participate in activities like fishing trips, snorkeling, team barbecues which are regularly conducted by our human resources department.