What’s On at Soneva

Immerse yourself in a world of vibrant celebrations and exclusive gatherings with Soneva’s year-round calendar of events in the Maldives and Thailand. Our Soneva Stars Programme presents a diverse array of activities and rare experiences such as destination dining with Michelin-starred chefs, coaching sessions with sporting legends and wellness workshops with acclaimed therapists. In 2024, guests can also enjoy seasonal highlights with our Summer and Winter Collection, traditional festivities and our pioneering SOUL Festival.

Upcoming Soneva Stars

No stay at Soneva is ever quite the same thanks to our Soneva Stars. Throughout the year, we host residencies by acclaimed Michelin-starred chefs, authors, astronomers, sporting legends and wellness specialists.

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Culinary

Dates

Wed, May 1, 2024 / Mon, Jun 30, 2025

Eric Räty

A rising star in fine dining, Finnish chef Eric Räty is renowned for his refined simplicity, purity of craft and vibrant innovation that seamlessly blends Nordic and Asian cooking techniques and flavours. His culinary journey began in 2005 at Perho Culinary School in Helsinki where he spent his evenings as a kitchen helper at two Michelin-starred Chez Dominique. After graduation, Eric joined as a full-time commis chef, and in 2010, joined three-Michelin-starred restaurant Aqua at Ritz Carlton, Wolfsburg, as a pastry chef. After two and half years at Aqua, he returned to Chez Dominique as the restaurant’s head chef before moving to Hong Kong in 2014, where he was inspired to incorporate Asian ingredients and flavours into his menus. Now, as chef-owner of Arbor in Hong Kong, Eric brings his tasteful creativity to the city’s fine dining scene, earning his first Michelin star in 2018 and his second star in 2019. Eric’s menu is inspired by nature and a fundamental respect for the changing seasons. Every dish reflects the woods, the forest and the trees through flavour, fragrance, preparation technique or creative presentation. Combining refined Nordic and Japanese sensibilities and a blend of seasonal ingredients, his cuisine is creatively light but developed with sharp, bright flavours that come from rare, exotic ingredients to nourish and excite the palate.
Learn more about Eric Räty

Mark Lundgaard

The chef and director at Kong Hans Kælder Restaurant, located in the oldest building in Copenhagen. In Mark’s universe, food is not a gift sent down from heaven. In order to understand the taste and composition of a dish, it is essential to respect its origin and understand the craftsmanship in its preparation. With a distinctive mix of classic French cuisine and a new Nordic kitchen, Mark creates dishes that define palatability at its best.
Learn more about Mark Lundgaard

Heiko Nieder

Originally from Germany, Heiko Nieder completed his training as a chef at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg. In 2003, he was awarded “Discovery of the Year” by Gault Millau for his culinary creations at the L’Orquivit in Bonn, which he ran for five years. In 2004, he was awarded one Michelin star, and in 2006 he garnered 17 Gault Millau points. Since its opening, he has been Chef Fine Dining at the Dolder Grand’s The Restaurant. In the first year alone, The Restaurant was awarded 17 Gault Millau points and one Michelin star. In November 2010, it received its second Michelin star, then in October 2012, it was awarded its 18th Gault Millau point, and Heiko was crowned “Most Improved Chef of the Year”. July 2013 saw him named “Hotel Chef of the Year” by Swiss magazine, Bilanz, as part of its annual hotel ratings. Gault Millau Germany presented him with the award for “Best German Chef Abroad” in November 2014, and he was crowned “Le Grand Chef du Guide Bleu” in the 2014/2015 Guide Bleu. In 2017, Nieder received the “Chef of the Year” award from Sonntagszeitung, then in October 2018 he received his 19th Gault Millau point, followed by the title “Gault Millau Chef of the Year 2019”.
Learn more about Heiko Nieder

Dietmar Sawyere 

Swiss-born chef Dietmar Sawyere comes from a family of restaurateurs and has been involved in running restaurants since the age of 14. Having since worked at some of the world’s most exclusive hotels and restaurants, Dietmar has honed his skills in incorporating local flavours and ingredients into his menus. His innovation and expertise have been internationally-recognised, garnering numerous awards, and he is one of only five European chefs worldwide to have earned a Michelin Star for a Japanese restaurant. In recent years, Dietmar’s focus has shifted to consultancy and management. In 2023, he and his wife Nicole took over the historic 500-year-old inn Gasthaus zum Kreuz in Dallenwil, Switzerland. Here, they created two unique concepts, Stübli and Bijou, both of which hold one Michelin Star each. Stübli offers a modern interpretation of Swiss cuisine, while Bijou seamlessly combines Swiss and Asian flavours and hospitality.
Learn more about Dietmar Sawyere 

Karan Gokani

Karan grew up in Mumbai and moved to England in 2005 to study law at the University of Cambridge. Even as a practicing solicitor, Karan’s passion for food and hospitality never faded and he spent time in professional kitchens in his spare time. In 2012, he left his legal career at a city law firm to pursue a career in hospitality, traveling across India and Sri Lanka to immerse himself in the food and culture of the countries. His restaurant Hoppers was founded in October 2015. The first Hoppers in Soho was inspired by the toddy-shops, home cooking and roadside stalls of Sri Lanka and South India, and served its namesake Hoppers alongside Dosas, Kothu, Short Eats, Rice and Roasts. The acclaim soon followed with reviews from London Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler and the late Sunday Times critic A.A. Gill who applauded Hoppers for its ‘seductive, come-hither menu’ and ‘spectacular, impressive, authentic, confident and swaggering kitchen.’ Over the years Karan has written travel features and recipes on Sri Lanka and southern India for major national and international publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller, The ES Magazine, Bloomberg, The Financial Times; and appeared on Sunday Brunch, Great British Chefs, Sorted Food’s YouTube channel and various food festivals across the UK.
Learn more about Karan Gokani

Smoke & Bitters

Number 40 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, Smoke & Bitters is a bar and smokehouse that offers Sri Lankan flavours with global influences, set in a coconut grove at Pehebiya Beach in Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka. Described as ‘a dash of tiki and a sprinkle of Sri Lanka,’  Smoke & Bitter’s cocktail ethos combines inspiration from Don The Beach & Trader Vic’s, an adoration for bitters and a fascination with smokey flavours. Expect an abundance of indigenous Sri Lankan ingredients to the fore and using old and current techniques of flavour creation, all combined to bring an inspiring cocktail menu. Joining us in the Maldives are Smoke & Bitter’s founder Don Ranasinghe and Himaru Sathsara who will be serving guests an inspired cocktail menu of their concepts and distinctive drinks programme. Guests can expect Sri Lankan flavours with housemade syrups and tinctures at the forefront of the menu.
Learn more about Smoke & Bitters

Jane Alty

Over ten years in the UK, Jane Alty has opened minds and tickled tastebuds, becoming a key ingredient of the Asian food revolution. By focusing on genuine Thai ingredients, Jane has brought Thai cuisine to a curious and increasingly dedicated public. Jane’s connection with Thailand runs deep. As a classically trained chef, she was first captivated by the deeply complex flavours and cooking processes of this wonderful country when she stayed with family outside Bangkok and became infatuated with the country’s cuisine. After four years at world-renowned Nahm, working under the internationally acclaimed chef David Thompson, she opened The Begging Bowl, in the heart of Southeast London. Alongside incredible Thai ingredients, Jane also uses seasonal produce from the UK, using it delicately where it makes sense with Thai food. It’s now a magnet for foodies, and Jane features in the top 100 influential women in hospitality – all achieved against the backdrop of managing as a single parent and leading the charge for women in hospitality. In 2022 Jane took her years of experience to JKS. Here, she is nurturing the next generation of chefs and overseeing all their ambitious Chaiyo restaurants.
Learn more about Jane Alty

Judy Joo & Esther Choi

Chefs Judy Joo and Esther Choi will conduct a spectacular four-hands dinner at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani. Their dishes will showcase their amazing talent and rich Korean heritage. Chef Judy Joo In 2003, following an engineering degree at Columbia University and a career on Wall Street, Judy Joo decided it was time for a change. Realising that her passion was in cooking, she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York, and received her Grand Diplome in Pastry Arts before becoming a test kitchen and editorial assistant at SAVEUR magazine. Excited about the thriving UK food scene, Judy moved to London in 2007, and joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as a pastry chef. For the following few years, she also worked throughout other Gordon Ramsay restaurants including Maze, under Jason Atherton, Claridge’s, Pétrus, and Boxwood Café as a chef and pastry chef. Judy also staged around the world at restaurants including 3 Michelin-starred The French Laundry in Yountville, California; Heston Blumenthal’s 3 Michelin-starred The Fat Duck in Bray; as well as Bangkok’s 1 Michelin-starred Nahm restaurant. In 2011, Judy became a regular face on TV, starring in Iron Chef UK and securing herself the title ‘Iron Chef UK’, becoming the only female Iron Chef in the UK and the second female Iron Chef worldwide. Off the back of her success in the UK show, Judy became a resident judge on Iron Chef America. Her expertise in Korean cooking led to her own shows: Judy Joo’s Return to Korea and two seasons of Korean Food Made Simple. Since then she published her debut cookbook, Korean Food Made Simple and has made regular appearances on numerous programs in the USA including The Today Show, Wendy Williams, The Talk, and various Food Network shows, and in the UK she has popped up on Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch,  James Martin’s Saturday Morning and ITV’s Cooking with the Stars. Having settled in the UK, London was the obvious choice for Judy’s first restaurant as Chef Patron, and she opened the doors to her modern Korean restaurant Jinjuu – meaning ‘pearl’ – in 2014. Judy’s cooking is focused on the flavours of her childhood – raised in a Korean-American family in New Jersey, her back porch was lined with her mother’s clay pots, filled with fermenting kimchi, gochujang and doenjang. The house’s garage had racks of drying seaweed, and a Korean barbecue grill tucked in the corner. Judy and her sister were often drafted in to help fold row upon row of dumplings. Her multicultural heritage and training is evident in her dishes today: from ‘disco fries’ influenced by New Jersey highway diners, and topped with spicy cabbage kimchi, to classic French pastries that incorporate traditional Korean ingredients. In 2019, Judy left Jinjuu after five years in order to start a new chapter, which included the launch of her new cookbook, Korean Soul Food in October 2019, and has since launched her latest restaurant, Seoul Bird, in Westfield and Canary Wharf specialising in the Korean fried chicken for which Judy is known. Chef Esther Choi Chef Esther Choi, owner and founder of New York City’s mŏkbar and partner of Ms. Yoo, is an influential female chef driven by her Korean roots. With a personal passion for introducing New Yorkers to the flavors of Korean culture, Chef Esther’s cooking combines traditional and modern influences with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Inspired by the old-aged techniques of her Korean grandmother’s cooking, Chef Esther believes that food is the ultimate expression of a country’s culture. From its history and social customs to its language, geography, and arts, Chef Esther seeks to offer guests an understanding and appreciation of Korean foods. Chef Esther received formal training at New York’s institute of culinary education and has worked across the kitchens of ilili, La Esquina, and the Food Network. Esther has received numerous awards for her culinary pursuits and was named “New York City’s Culinary Rock star” in Zagat’s 30 under 30.
Learn more about Judy Joo & Esther Choi

Jarno Eggen & Jonnie Boer

Jarno Eggen and Jonnie Boer are two of the Netherlands’ leading chefs, renowned for their dedication to sustainably sourcing ingredients and their eco-friendly culinary practices. The two chefs will be dazzling guests during a series of exclusive four-hand dinners with a menu that celebrates both contemporary and traditional fine dining.  Jarno Eggen co-owns the two-Michelin-starred restaurant De Groene Lantaarn with his wife, Cindy. Housed in a historic traditional Dutch windmill in the village of Staphorst, their setting allows them to use fresh, mostly organic, local produce and grind local grains in their working windmill to make homemade flour for a wide range of bread and pastries.  Jonnie Boer and his wife, Thérèse, are the owners of three-Michelin-starred restaurant De Librije, set in an 18th-century former prison in the Dutch city of Zwolle. Over the years, the restaurant has received a remarkable collection of acknowledgements and awards including joining the list of theWorld’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2010. 
Learn more about Jarno Eggen & Jonnie Boer

Sascha Stemberg

Sascha Stemberg has been running his restaurant, Haus Stemberg Anno 1864, in Velbert, Germany, since 2015. He first started working there as a Sous Chef in 2005 and, together with his mother and father, he planned his culinary dream. The restaurant has been family run since 1864, making Sascha and his wife the fifth generation to inherit it. Each dish is always full of flavour, using only the best ingredients, which are often local. They have their own bees, and work with many of the farmers in the area. In 2013, the restaurant achieved its first Michelin Star.
Learn more about Sascha Stemberg

Ravinder Bhogal

Born in Kenya to Indian parents and currently residing in the UK, Ravinder Bhogal is a journalist, chef and restaurateur inspired by her mixed heritage and the UK’s diverse immigrant culture. Her debut restaurant, Jikoni, was ranked 56th in the UK by the National Restaurant Awards within 7 months of opening. She has penned three cookbooks that reflect her cuisine of “cooking across borders,” in Cook in Boots, Jikoni: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen and Comfort and Joy. Ravinder has been named in Evening Standard Progress 1000 as one of London’s leading influencers of progress and diversity in the capital twice and launched a home delivery brand Comfort & Joy, a sister brand to Jikoni in June 2020. She is a monthly food columnist for the FT Weekend Magazine and Guardian Feast and a contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar.
Learn more about Ravinder Bhogal

Seasonal Highlights

Experience wonder all year round with Soneva’s seasonal celebrations, from the sun-soaked bliss of summer and magical festivities of winter.

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