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Exclusive with Andrea Berton: World’s First Michelin Star Chef to Manage an Underwater Restaurant

Andrea Berton
We caught up with Andrea Berton to talk about his newest project; managing the H2O underwater restaurant in the Maldives.

You & Me by Cocoon Maldives recently rebranded its H2O underwater restaurant to ‘H2O by chef Andrea Berton’. Andrea Berton is an Italian chef, who won 4 Michelin stars.

Throughout his career, Chef Andrea worked with the likes of Gualtiero Marchesi and Alain Ducasse. His ‘Ristorante Berton’ in Milan earned a Michelin star in less than a year after its opening.

Winning 4 Michelin stars is an extraordinary feat. This is also the first time in the world a Michelin starred chef will manage an underwater restaurant. So, we caught up with Andrea Berton to talk about his latest project; managing the H2O underwater restaurant in the Maldives.

01. Chef, could describe your excitement to take over the underwater restaurant H2O?

Chef Andrea Berton: When I first received the proposal to manage H2O it made me feel extremely happy. I came here years ago and worked alongside the team and had a fantastic experience. We agreed to work on this project quite early on.

Image: IM Studio | Instagram: @immaldives

To have my close friendship with You & Me turn into a collaboration is an amazing achievement. Besides, there are only a few underwater restaurants in the world. So, I feel honoured to be able to present my food here.

02. What will be the new concept of H2O?

Chef Andrea Berton: All of my restaurants feature a distinct concept. The dishes served at H2O is different from what my restaurant in Italy serves. Here we source the local ingredients and take inspiration from the Maldivian culture.

It’s not the same food diners will find in Milan. We find the compromise between life in the Maldives and the magical atmosphere of the underwater restaurant. After all, we want our guests to enjoy the amazing experience.

03. What’s the philosophy behind the dishes served at H2O?

Chef Andrea Berton: My philosophy is to characterize the plate with minimal fresh ingredients. The flavours are curated from the best ingredients. Moreover, we want to focus on the best ingredients that you can find in the Maldives.

I also use the fishes found in our lagoon (the lagoon of You & Me Maldives) to create stocks, broth and soups to finalize the plate.

04. Tell me some of your signature dishes diners can find at H2O?

Chef Andrea Berton: One of my signature two dishes, the risotto will be available at the restaurant. For the last 5 years, I’ve also worked on creating a very unique broth.

This broth gives a nice texture to every plate. The broth also changes seasonally as it’s cold in the summer and hot in the winter. I believe these simple things will make the experience of guests better.

Image: IM Studio | Instagram: @immaldives
05. What is your opinion on Maldivian cuisine?

Chef Andrea Berton: I first tried Maldivian food at the buffet back in Cocoon Maldives when I came to the Maldives years ago. I can easily recognize the cultures and flavour of Maldivian cuisine. The combination between Italian food and Maldivian is also pretty interesting for me.

Feature image by IM Studio

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THE OZEN COLLECTION Promotes Rushdhaan Ahmed as the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

THE OZEN COLLECTION announce the promotion of Rushdhaan Ahmed as the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications.

Rushdaan’s Career with THE OZEN COLLECTION

Rushdhaan started his journey in marketing in 2019 as a Graphic Designer and marketing coordinator. Since then, Rushdhaan swiftly climbed the ranks, demonstrating exceptional talent and dedication.

Throughout his career, Rushdhaan has demonstrated an unwavering passion for creativity and strategic thinking. These are qualities that have continuously yielded remarkable results for the company. Rushdan led the team that launched THE OZEN COLLECTION brand in 2020. During this time Rushdhaan played a pivotal role in building the brand’s identity. He ensured brand consistency at the resorts and contributed to a successful launch in the Maldives. Notably, he spearheaded several brand photo and video shoots, crafting captivating visual content that epitomised the essence of luxury at two iconic resorts under the brand – OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI and OZEN LIFE MAADHOO.

Taking on a New Role as Assistant Director of Marketing & Comms!

In his new capacity as Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, Rushdhaan Ahmed will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the brand narrative, enhancing its global presence, and driving innovative marketing strategies. His priorities include elevating THE OZEN COLLECTION’s brand identity, constantly modernising, and improving visual aesthetics. On the communications front, he aims to capture a sufficient share of voice globally and in key regions, including the UK, Russia, GCC, DACH, and India. He plans to utilise innovative storytelling to capture the interest of discerning travellers to visit the resorts.

Rushdhaan has been a part of THE OZEN COLLECTION since the beginning of the brand journey. This deep knowledge of brand ethos, along with creative vision and strategic acumen, make him the ideal candidate to lead marketing and communications. We are confident that he will contribute to the team significantly, as we continu to redefine global luxury hospitality experiences, and take the brand to new destinations like India and beyond says Stéphane Laguette – Chief Commercial Officer at Atmosphere Core.

Rushdhaan Ahmed’s appointment underscores THE OZEN COLLECTION’s dedication to excellence and empowering local talent in the ever-evolving luxury hospitality landscape of the Maldives.

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