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My Anantara by Nasrulla, the Salt Sommelier at Anantara Resort Maldives

My Anantara by Nasrulla, the Salt Sommelier at Anantara Resort Maldives

Category: Asia Pacific - Maldives - Gourmet restaurants - Gourmet restaurants
This is a press release selected by our editorial committee and published online for free on 2008-03-13

Throughout history, salt has been such an important element of life that it has been the subject of many stories, fables and folktales. Some cultures even ascribe magical powers to it. This story of a man who holds the unusual position of salt sommelier at Anantara Resort Maldives’ Fuddan Restaurant is one that shouldn’t be taken with a pinch of salt though…

“My name is Nasrulla Thoha. I am from the Maldives. When I joined Fuddan Restaurant at Anantara, it was the first time I saw so many types of salt. Each one had something special about it. As I learned and discovered more, I wanted our guests to also taste these salts, to pair them perfectly with the fine cuisine from our menu. So I took up the challenge of becoming a salt sommelier! That marked the start of my passion for salt. It has been a journey – through fascinating flavours – that has taught me all about the faraway places where these salts come from…

Guests are normally amazed to learn about the different kinds of salt, and listen very attentively to my explanations. Most of them have never heard of these salts. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge, and try to make their meals memorable and enjoyable. My favorite is smoked salish salt from Washington. It goes well with most of the grilled food served in the restaurant, especially red meats. The smoked flavour of alder wood makes it quite unique. Because of its origins, many guests associate it with President Bush, and would ask for ‘Bush Salt’ during the rest of their stay. Another personal favorite is smoked salt from Bali, which enhances the taste of our local tuna very well, prepared with coconut and kaffir lime.

Each of the salts has a very interesting story, and is different in the way they complement the subtle flavours of dishes. Pink Peruvian salt, for example, is not a sea salt as most people assume, but a natural spring salt found in the lakes of the Andes mountains in Peru. It has a strong flavour and is excellent for seasoning. Many chefs like using this salt as it adds considerably to the flavour of the food.

Being a salt sommelier is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet and interact with guests coming to the restaurant, and to learn about their likes and dislikes. From the feedback we receive I know that many people remember me and their discovery of salt long after they’ve returned home. My work is not a very common trade or service offered in many restaurants. It sets us apart here at Anantara, and makes what I do unique. Salt has opened my eyes to new experiences, and sharing that with others has given me a special purpose. I’m so proud of that and I could never look at salt in the same way again…”

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