“I have to say, I cannot think of anywhere else in the world I would rather be head chef than here in Gili Lankanfushi.” said John Bakker.
Given that he holds dual nationality with two passports that have allowed him to use his skills to cook at some of the finest resturants in the world that is quite an accolade for any chef to give about his place of work.
The kitchen and its attendant organic gardens on a tiny island in the Maldive Islands is a far cry from the Ritz hotel in London where John was Premier Sous Chef but it is certainly to the same if not better standard when it comes to food quality taste and presentation.
John has packed a lot into his life to date. The first generation Canadian is the son of an English mother and a Dutch father. He was inspired to become a chef by his sister but it was his Grandmother he says who “Gave me my passion for good food.
Using his two passports he has cooked the world over having worked inGripsholms Vardus in Sweden, the White Barn Inn in Maine and Restaurant Daniel in New York City to name but a few.
But here cooking for the pampered guests of Gili Lankanfushi is what he loves best. “My greatest joy is the full support I get from my boss here. I love having a job where I never have to wake up and hate the thought of going to work. Here I cannot wait to get into the garden to see what things we can harvest for todays menu.”
Getting there is no problem either, the commute from his beachside bungalow to kitchen garden is all of 250 yards!
Does he have any complaints at all? “Well,” he says, “I do find it frustrating at times having to keep the jungle at bay and stop it over taking my produce. Every three months we have to dig out the moat that surround it to stop the jungle plants from invading it.”
So do you have to import any fresh fruit and vegetables we ask? “Only when we have to,” is the reply “And of course we have to import cow dung from Sri Lanka there are not a lot of animals producing natural fertiliser here in the Maldives!”