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Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj Shares His 5 Tips For Plant-Based Fine Dining

Executive Chef Hari Govindaraj's passion for using the most fresh, stripped-back and organic ingredients is integral to the success of the dishes he creates. At Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives, the food produced is made from plants grown in Gili's own abundant garden which inspires chef Govindaraj's five-star culinary creations. With ten years worth of experience at Gili Lankanfushi, Chef Govindaraj has honed his interest in plant-based cuisine, and shares his top five tips with us on applying it to fine dining.

Introduction by Sophie Whittley.

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj

​1) “Plants to Plate”

The simple philosophy of using only the freshest ingredients. The organic garden and spices we have at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives are my biggest inspiration as the plants and different ingredients talk to me when creating any new dishes!

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj

2) Accept How The Ingredients Are

Embrace their flavours and textures. Taste all ingredients. Enjoy the process of discovering the ingredients and their flavour. While my passion lies in plant-based cuisine, I believe the most essential ingredient is not actually food, but our taste buds. As a chef, without the ability to truly taste and understand ingredients, it’s very difficult to make certain flavour combinations work and shine together. Take time and thoroughly taste the flavours in your ingredients! Be brave enough to experience trial and error.

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj

3) ​Avoid Processed And Canned Food!

I am trying to break the mould for vegans when dining at restaurants and at home. My aim is to spread the word about how easy it is to prepare delicious plant-based dishes, using endless ingredients. Making everything from scratch and purely from plants, without the use of substitutes such as factory-made vegan patties, etc. is something I strongly urge people to do at home where possible.

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj

4) ​Have Your Own Garden To Grow As Many Different Types Of Vegetables And Herbs

If a garden is not available for growing your own plants, explore the local markets to see what is around you. One of my secrets is to have my kitchen in the garden with access to fresh produce, as well as access to a local market with many varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives' Chef Harinath Govindaraj

​5) ​Be Creative

Do not limit yourself to selected vegetables and herbs. Make use of ingredients from different food groups such as grains, nuts, fruits, seeds and legumes. Try to combine different flavours to see what is the best combination.

Gili Lankananfushi Maldives


All images courtesy of Gili Lankanfushi Maldives.

Chef Harinath Gili:

Gili Lankanfushi Maldives:

Website: | Instagram: @gili.lankanfushi | Facebook: @gililankanfushi | Phone: +960 664-0304 | Email: | Visit: Lankanfushi Island, North Malé Atoll Republic of Maldives, Maldives


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