Fine dining in the middle of the ocean

Words by Keven Amfo

22 June 2020


We explore the culinary options at Velaa Private Island.

Velaa Private Island takes exclusivity to new levels. Set apart by their personalised approach to all aspects of product and service, the exclusive boutique hideaway has fast become one of the Maldives most desirable resorts. Beyond luxurious, the private island has garnered a reputation based on the personal relationships they form with each guest. After taking the time to get to know their particular preferences, they are able to create bespoke experiences, services, and menus that are tailored to individual tastes and desires — thereby enabling the perfect holiday.

This unique and dedicated approach extends deeply into their gastronomy program. Led by Sri Lankan chef Gaushan De Silva, the three restaurants at the resort have become known for elevating classic dishes by using exceptional quality ingredients and flavoursome additions. Ingredients are sourced through top-end suppliers who specialise in obtaining rare and prized goods of the highest quality, paying particular attention to sustainability and seasonality. Velaa's ethos of letting the ingredients shine is well applied in fresh and often organic nouveau cuisine.

Having trained at some of the world's most celebrated restaurants, including Noma, All' Oro, and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Chef De Silva reaches into his vast network of contemporaries for the resort's second annual gastronomy and wine series this November. Held at the island's signature overwater fine dining restaurant, Aragu, and overseen by the Velaa culinary team, the month-long festivities will feature some of the best chefs and winemakers from across the world. Four Michelin-starred European chefs will descend upon the resort for a week each during the month. Each considered a culinary artist with a very distinctive style, alongside Chef De Silva they'll create a seven-course degustation menu inspired by their restaurants and in celebration of their singular gastronomic art. The unique 'four-hands' approach will be a special collaboration, and allow for a once in a lifetime meal. Additionally, live cooking presentations and the opportunity for guests to connect with the visiting chefs will enhance the experience.

This year's attending chefs are Valentino Cassanelli from Italy's Lux Lucis, Brian Mark Hansen from Søllerød Kro in Denmark, Germany's youngest two Michelin star chef Tristan Brandt from Opus V, and 15-year Michelin star veteran Alain Alders from De Vrienden van Jacob in the Netherlands. Having each received at least one Michelin star, they are known for their innovative and interpretive approaches to modern cuisine.

Having amassed a wine cellar of over 1,000 bottles rare and exceptional labels, Velaa is considered the premier wine destination in South Asia. Capitalising on this reputation and their established relationships, an exclusive wine program will accompany November's gastronomic experiences. Playing host to selected vintners and their best wines, studied pairings will accompany each chef's menu. Guests include Bibi Graetz, an ingenious winemaker from Tuscany; top Pinot Noir producer and owner of California's vineyard Domaine de la Côte, Rajat Parr; Frédéric Engerer, CEO of Artémis Domaines (the Pinault family-owned wine properties); Rodolphe Péters, owner of historic Pierre Péters Champagne estate; and Álvaro Palacios, Spain's storied wine producer. Each winemaker will be on hand to interact with guests, sharing their knowledge and expertise, making the experience truly one-of-a-kind.

Sit back, and enjoy. Our in-house bespoke Travel Specialists can arrange every detail, so all you have to do is have the best time possible.

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