Exclusive Events with Soneva Stars

Discover one-of-a-kind experiences through our Soneva Stars calendar of visiting experts, from Michelin-starred chefs to sporting legends and world-renowned wellness therapists.

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From: Mon, Jun 17, 2024

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

Eduardo Sierra

Equipped with more than three decades of experience in holistic wellness, Eduardo is a therapeutic and beauty masseur and physical trainer specialising in musculoskeletal pain prevention and relief. As a hands-on therapist, he approaches acute and chronic pain conditions from a multifaceted toolbox that combines his signature soft tissue work with smart cupping therapy to achieve remarkable healing results. He also specialises in a unique anti-ageing facial treatment, which provides a prolonged face, neck and décolleté lift without surgical beauty procedures.
Learn more about Eduardo Sierra

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

Petr Horálek

Born in 1986 in the Czech Republic, Petr studied astrophysics at Masaryk University Brno and at Silesian University in Opava, Czech Republic. He is an astronomer and astrophotographer. His images were featured more than 30 times by NASA as Astronomy Picture of the Day, as astrophotographer and science outreach worker he cooperates with NOIRLab, National Geographics’ TWAN (The World At Night), European Southern Observatory, and many more. An asteroid 6822 orbiting between Mars and Jupiter is named after him. He travels the world to capture and show the immersive beauty of the starry sky and unique or rare sky phenomena. A long route brought him also to Soneva Fushi in 2019, where he experienced a beautiful night sky and took many photographs of it. Petr specializes in the outreach of modern astronomy with his talks to the public and in photographing the night sky phenomena to show what amazing Universe around us can be even seen by naked eyes all around the world, including the Maldives.
Learn more about Petr Horálek

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

Ajay Chopra

Ajay Chopra is an Indian chef, food creator, restaurant consultant and media personality. A pioneer in progressive cuisine, he was one of the first Indian chefs to host Masterchef India and helped change the way people perceive cooking as a profession. Born into a Punjabi family from Lucknow, he spent his childhood in multiple cities in North India. Inspired by his work experience in hotels across the country, he started his own company, Zion Hospitality, a food and beverage consulting company which caters to food and beverage units including hotels, Restaurants, QSR and casual cafe concepts. In 2018, he launched his YouTube channel, The Big Daddy Chef, which shares a collection of easy-to-follow recipes inspired by authentic Indian dishes designed to encourage families to cook and have fun in the kitchen together. His distinctive cooking style uses simple ingredients and techniques to create flavourful dishes, placing him on the list of best chefs in India.
Learn more about Ajay Chopra

Vicky Ratnani

Born and bred in Mumbai, Vicky’s wit and charm has a duality that is reminiscent of natural Indian spice. A foodie at heart, he is a heady cocktail of flavours, some still undefined. The initial explosive burst of personality and flair is followed through with a wild imagination, delicately layered with sensual middle notes, being excitable, entertaining, inviting, spontaneous and devilish. Through his culinary journey, Vicky taught at the White Star Chef’s Training School onboard QE2, in Manila and St. Nazaire, training over 180 chefs. Currently, Vicky consults as a Culinary Director with GIPL and conceptualises restaurant menus and food concepts for places such as Pizza Express, The Runway Project, The Market Project, The Poona Project, Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi. He is most recently revamped The Bandra Project, which is a communal style, casual-yet-chic, all-day eatery serving global cuisine. Vicky’s travels and his knowledge of global trends have led him to develop a web series called Vicky The Gastronaut, which is streaming on his Facebook page. The series has gained over 10 million views. He has filmed in Peru and Australia and is now filming the third part of the series at Chiang Mai in Thailand.
Learn more about Vicky Ratnani

Chantelle Nicholson

Chantelle Nicholson is a multi-award winning chef owner of Apricity, London. Formerly chef-owner of Tredwells (the recipient of a green Michelin star in 2021) and All’s Well, a ‘pandemic pop-up’. As one of the leading female voices in the UK’s hospitality industry, Chantelle is an advocate for seasonality and sustainability, championing veg-forward cooking and being committed to creating a more sustainable future across her operation and activities, whilst also being an independent board member for ReLondon and a Food Council member for City Harvest.
Learn more about Chantelle Nicholson

Marcel Gurk

Hailed as one of the best football freestylers in the world, Marcel Gurk is the current German champion, holds ten Guinness World Records and is the author of the world’s first book on football freestyling. He made it to the semifinal of Germany’s Got Talent, Das Supertalent, and travels around the world sharing his unique skills. Having studied sport and media management in Dusseldorf, Marcel also specialises in working with children and has designed his own unique concept to help take his students’ skills to the next level. While in the Maldives, he will be hosting football freestyling workshops for Young Sonevians at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani.
Learn more about Marcel Gurk

Carolina Bazán

Coming from a well-travelled, foodie background, Carolina Bazán Bañados chose to devote herself to gastronomy. After finishing her studies in Chile in 2003, she opened the first Ambrosia restaurant with her family in downtown Santiago. From there, she trained in restaurants in Peru, Brazil, Italy and France, where she worked with Chef Gregory Marchand at his award-winning Frenchie Restaurant in Paris. Back in Chile, Chef Bazán and her partner, sommelier Rosario Onetto, started the first Hidden Kitchen movement in Santiago in 2012, which led to a new location and a new concept for Ambrosia. The result is a modern family restaurant, where fresh market produce leads a menu that changes daily according to what’s in season. Her goal was to create an amazing dining experience, where great food is paired with fine wines, music and good old hospitality. By 2017, Ambrosia was joined by Ambrosia Bistro, a smaller, vibrant, more personal space that brings the concept of bistronomy to Santiago, with a focus on seasonal produce and delicious dishes. Ambrosia has been consistently included in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2014, which also named Chef Bazán Best Female Chef in 2019.  
Learn more about Carolina Bazán

Armin Kleinboehl

Dr Armin Kleinböhl is a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He is also the Deputy Principal Investigator of the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been operating on Mars for over 16 years and established the longest time series of global atmospheric measurements on Mars to date. Since 2008, he has provided landing support for all landings on Mars conducted by NASA and his scientific work focusing on the structure and dynamics of the atmospheres of Mars and Venus led him to author or co-authored more than 100 scientific publications. Dr Armin is also the Participating Scientist in Residence for the Japanese Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter mission, which leads him to spend several months of the year in Japan. His work also includes managing the “Cloudspotting on Mars” citizen science project with more than 8,000 registered volunteers, which allows members of the public to contribute to planetary science by analysing real data from a spacecraft in Mars’ orbit. During his visit, Dr Armin will be hosting after-dinner stargazing sessions with a focus on Mars and Venus, which will be prominent in the evening sky and will share stories about planetary science and exploration.
Learn more about Armin Kleinboehl

Chetna Makan

Born in Jabalpur in Central India, Chetna Makan honed her creative talents while working in Mumbai as a fashion designer before moving to the UK in 2004. She became a household name after taking part in The Great British Bake Off in 2014 and has since written seven cookbooks ranging from baking to Indian street food, healthy Indian food, vegetarian and quick Indian. She also hosts the popular YouTube channel Food with Chetna, where she shares her creative flair for all things cooking and baking.
Learn more about Chetna Makan

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