Soneva Stars

This year, there’s no better time to visit Soneva. Introducing our Soneva Stars Programme, which celebrates the diverse array of guest activities and experiences on offer this year, ranging from Michelin-starred chefs to sporting legends and acclaimed therapists.





From: Fri, Sep 29, 2023

Paweennuch Soisongsee

Paweennuch Soisongsee, also known as Khun Noom, is a highly experienced healer who has dedicated over 20 years to practising different modalities across Asia, Europe, Australia and North America. Committed to “setting man free” through the transformative power of Reiki and sound healing, her classes are known for their powerful awakening and transformational effects and have been sought after by people from all over the world. Her ultimate goal is to help people heal from their physical, mental, and spiritual suffering, while also assisting them in achieving a state of awareness where they can tap into their inner truth.
Learn more about Paweennuch Soisongsee

Kelvin Cheung

Born in Canada, raised in Chicago and now based in Dubai, Kelvin Cheung is a multi-award-winning Chinese Canadian chef who grew up in the kitchen – spending the better part of his childhood training for his life of travelling the world and cooking in kitchens in unfamiliar places. Having worked his way up through the ranks within various restaurants in the US and Canada, Kelvin began his public chef life in India in 2012 as Executive Chef at Ellipsis Mumbai. Three years later in 2015, he moved into the role of Corporate Chef and F&B Director for both Aallia Hospitality and Bastian Hospitality, leading day-to-day operations of Bandra’s popular gastro-pub One Street and the seafood-forward, vegetarian-friendly, Bastian. He is also credited with conceptualising and launching Whole and then Some, a takeaway kitchen focusing on customised meals that include a lot of goodness and then some fun. Kelvin joined New Delhi’s White Panda Hospitality in 2019 as Executive Chef and F&B Director. Here, he developed the restaurant concept Kiko-Ba, paying homage to his father’s legacy and taking patrons on a sweet, and savoury journey back to his roots. Along with Kiko-Ba, Cheung designed the food programme for Dadel, White Panda Hospitality’s concept cocktail bar in Vasant Vihar.    In June 2022, Kelvin opened his first UAE project, Jun’s, in conjunction with Three Layer Hospitality. Rooted in his Chinese heritage, North American upbringing and French training paired with the freshest ingredients from local farms, Jun’s takes diners on an immersive culinary journey through Kelvin’s Chinese upbringing and life across the world from North America to India. In less than a year of operation, Jun’s has been awarded a number of high-profile accolades including Michelin Guide 2023, ranking number 44 on Middle East North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants, as well as being awarded one Toque by Gault & Millau.  Best known for melding techniques and traditions to create diverse yet distinct cuisine, as well as for his advocacy for wellness – for his employees, diners and the planet, Kelvin is one of the region’s pioneers and proponents of Third Culture Food. Kelvin firmly believes in preserving nature’s bounty for future generations and that “if there’s any chance of my son growing up enjoying seafood like I have, we [must] commit to sustainable seafood and seasonal products.”
Learn more about Kelvin Cheung

Katrina Valente

Considered one of the world’s top facialists, Katrina Valente is a leading wellness and anti-ageing specialist who has been at the forefront of holistic beauty for more than thirty years. Katrina is devoted to helping others love the skin they are in and supports whole-person care using her expertise in colour therapy, crystal healing, aromatherapy, reflexology, energy work, tarot and coaching. Katrina’s unique methodology combines her extensive experience both as a holistic coach and a leading international expert in rejuvenation and anti-ageing aesthetics. With the knowledge that healthy ageing is not a singular approach but rather an integration of many different aspects of one’s daily life, Katrina helps you know more about who you are and how you can achieve inner peace to achieve outer beauty. Accredited as one of the Worlds Top Facialists and anti-ageing experts, Katrina offers her expertise and unique skillset in skin analysis, anti-ageing facials, bodywork and emotional healing to help guests of Soneva find their balance and achieve inner peace.  
Learn more about Katrina Valente

Nina Metayer

Nina Metayer is the darling of Parisian patisserie. A fan of the city’s famed Café Pouchkine since its inception, she was chosen by Andrey Dellos as the group’s Creative Dessert Manager in the spring of 2017 and is now Creative Pastry Director. Originally from Mexico, chef Nina discovered her vocation as a pâtissière while studying in France at the age of 16. On her return to France after graduating high school, she obtained her professional qualifications in baking in La Rochelle. A stint in Australia followed, working at well-renowned bakeries and restaurants in Melbourne, Dunsborough, Darwin and Port Douglas, before she returned to France. She then joined the Ferrandi culinary school and shortly after became a member of Camille Lesecq’s brigade at Le Meurice as a commis and then demi-chef de Partie. Chef Amandine Chaignot entrusted her with her first second-in-command role at Raphaël before appointing her to head pastry chef. In 2015, Metayer joined Michelin-starred chef Jean-François Piège as head pastry chef for the opening of his restaurant in Paris, which was awarded two Michelin stars just six months after opening. With her famous chocolate-buckwheat creation in the running for the best chocolate dessert of the year in the Lebey Guide 2016, Nina was also voted Pastry Chef of the Year 2016 by her peers in Le Chef magazine, and named Pâtissier of the Year 2017 by the Gault & Millau Guide.
Learn more about Nina Metayer

Chef Jakob

Born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1977, Jakob Mielcke is an autodidact chef who has traveled the world. He has worked with great masters, such as Pierre Gagnaire, both in his restaurants in London and in the infamous three-Michelin-starred one in Paris. In 2002, he returned to Denmark as the head chef at Jan Hurtigkarl & Co. In 2007, he opened Mielcke & Hurtigkarl together with Jan Hurtigkarl in the Royal Garden Society, where he now explores his creative vision. Since its opening in 2008, the autodidact chef has won praise for his characteristic contemporary food, and he has become the recipient of numerous awards in and outside of Denmark. A darling among food critics, he originally trained at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and later at Lecture Room & Library, Sketch in London, before settling in his native Denmark. There, he established a unique, multi-cultural, and creative playground in a hidden garden in central Copenhagen, where he continues to explore his creative vision.
Learn more about Chef Jakob

Dr Becky Smethurst

Dr Becky Smethurst is an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford and star of astronomy-themed YouTube channel, ‘Dr Becky’. Her current research is trying to answer the question ‘How do supermassive black holes grow?’. On her YouTube channel, Becky tackles everything, from unsolved mysteries to weird objects found in space or general space news, with such enthusiasm that her videos have gained over 44 million views (and counting!). Her latest public science book A Brief History of Black Holes: And why nearly everything you know about them is wrong was released in September 2022 and reached #27 on the Amazon worldwide book charts. An avid lover of the night sky and travelling the world, Becky believes that the night sky becomes even more beautiful when we understand what it is we’re looking at.
Learn more about Dr Becky Smethurst

Graeme le Saux

Graeme Le Saux is a former England international footballer who played most of his career as a left-back, though his football pace and skill enabled him to move into a left-sided midfield role when required. Graeme made his England debut in a 1994 friendly against Denmark and went on to represent his country 36 times. The highlight of his England career was representing his country in the 1998 football World Cup. Graeme started his career at St Paul’s and moved to Chelsea football club in 1987. In 1993 he switched to Blackburn Rovers where he won the 1995 Premier League title with Blackburn. In August 1997 Graeme became the most expensive defender in English football when he returned to Chelsea football club in a GBP 5 million deal. Graeme remained there for six seasons before moving to Southampton football club. Graeme played at St. Mary’s for two seasons announcing his retirement in May 2005 following Southampton’s relegation. Since retiring from football, Graeme is popular with the media working across national and international outlets including NBC, Sky and the BBC. A respected and clear-thinking individual, he frequently undertakes project work with the FA, UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League.
Learn more about Graeme le Saux

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta, the former British No. 1 in tennis, commanded the position for nearly six years and reached a career-best global rank of 4. Joining the pro circuit in 2008, she ascended rapidly to the Top 250 within just two years. Notably, in 2012, Konta surged into the Top 150 after an impressive US Open qualification. Representing Great Britain 24 times in the Billie Jean Cup, Johanna’s standout moment arrived in 2015 when she claimed the British No. 1 mantle, retaining it for nearly six consecutive years, an achievement unseen since the era of Virginia Wade. Amid this, she made history in 2016, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals, the first British woman to do so since 1978. In the same year, Johanna seized her inaugural Tour-level title at Stanford, triumphing over Venus Williams in a thrilling three-set final—a 33-year milestone for British female players. Her appearance at the Rio Olympics saw a quarter-final finish, while also marking the first instance since 1984 where both a British man (Andy Murray) and woman featured simultaneously in the world’s Top 10. Continuing her ascent, Johanna clinched her second WTA title in 2017 at Sydney, followed by a defining victory at the Miami Open, defeating elite players en route to the championship. Her Wimbledon semi-final breakthrough in 2017 propelled her to a career-high No. 4 ranking. The subsequent year brought an iconic win against Serena Williams and later a French Open semi-final. Johanna announced her retirement in late 2021, leaving behind a legacy of remarkable achievements and now contributes to sports broadcasting roles alongside her role as a parent.
Learn more about Johanna Konta

Chef Binta

Born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to first generation Sierra Leonean Fulanis of Guinean descent, Binta describes herself as a modern nomadic chef. Like her ancestors she has travelled to many countries and has worked with renowned African chefs. At Fulani Kitchen she combines her nomadic Fulani roots, classical training at the Kenyan Culinary Institute and love for rural life and nature. Her dishes and pop-up diners are authentic, sustainably focused and modern. By creating a traditional setting, discussing Fulani culture and serving ancient grains, indigenous spices and other exciting West-African ingredients in an interactive way, Binta triggers all senses and takes you to a whole new world. Food for sustenance, her passion to share African nomadic cuisine is based on her experiences as a child growing up during the darkest period of Sierra Leone’s history, the civil war. She experienced first hand how food can bring people together and bring down walls. Many times during the conflict no one could go out to buy food or food was simply not available. She saw neighbors from different backgrounds contribute, share and prepare meals together to make something out of nothing. The rice they could afford had loads of cockroaches which they had to hand pick, repeatedly wash and blend with bulgur in order to get enough to share for everyone. What she calls creating food for sustenance; learning to create totally new dishes with just a handful of ingredients, sharing and working together, was not only a life saving skill in a war zone, it has actually made her the chef she is today. Fulani Cuisine Ambassador, Chef Binta is an ambassador for Fulani cuisine and she promotes fonio, an ancient and super grain, traditionally grown and consumed in West Africa. Over the last couple of years, fonio, as a result of its similarity to quinoa, has gained more attention. And rightfully so, it’s gluten free, extremely nutritious, needs less water to grow, has a shorter life cycle than its similar foods, is more disease and drought resilient and gives back more nutrients to the soil than staple crops like rice and maize. Therefore, this little grain might possibly be one of the answers to food security and climate challenges to come. Binta’s menu almost always features this super grain, fonio
Learn more about Chef Binta

Therese Alshammar

Therese Alshammar is a Swedish swimmer who has won 72 international medals, including three Olympic medals, 25 World Championship medals and 43 European Championship medals, and has set 14 world records throughout her career. A specialist in short distances races in freestyle and butterfly, she is the only female swimmer who has competed in six Olympic Games and the oldest to win an individual world championship title. Therese also runs a learn to swim program for schools in Sweden and has written two children’s books on swimming, mixing fact and fiction to spur interest to play in the water. While in the Maldives, Therese will be helping Young Sonevians perfect their stroke while having fun in the water.
Learn more about Therese Alshammar

Jonas Björkman

Jonas Björkman is the former World No. 4 in singles, and World No. 1 in doubles tennis. He retired from professional tennis in 2008, after achieving six singles titles and 54 doubles titles (including nine Grand Slam wins) and is among a small group who has managed to win all four Grand Slam events. After five years as the Marketing Director of the Stockholm Open tennis tournament, he started his coaching career, with Andy Murray in 2015 and with Marin Cilic in 2016 and 2017. Today he works for Eurosport as a tennis commentator and coaches Swedish No. 2 and WTA player, Mirjam Bjorklund. Since February 2021, Jonas has been captain of Sweden’s men’s national padel team.
Learn more about Jonas Björkman

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. Soneva Fushi: November 8 – 14, 2023 Soneva Jani: November 14 – 20, 2023  
Learn more about Vicky Ratnani
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