Chef Akira Back Goes to New Extremes in the Maldives

Culinary Force Goes Head to Head with the Forces of Nature for PER AQUUM

He’s tackled the slopes as a professional snowboarder. He’s trained with master chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Masaharu Morimoto. He’s championed his own cutting-edge cuisine, exploring a Korean twist on Japanese fine dining. And he’s won the hearts, and palates, of top celebrities. His fans including the likes of Eva Longoria, Taylor Swift, Pink, The Olsen Twins, Wilmer Valderamma, Kelly Osbourne, Ryan Kwanten, Joe Jonas and David Arquette.

When he arrives in the Maldives this April, Chef Akira Back will take on his newest thrilling challenge. PER AQUUM’s Maldivian resorts welcome Chef Akira to hit the waves, source the freshest catch and wow four groups of lucky diners as they join him for a private dinner in jungle treetops or deep underground beneath the heart of an iconic island.

On the evenings of 20 and 21 April at PER AQUUM Niyama and on 25 and 26 April at PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, Chef Akira will create a 12-course tasting menu highlighting some of his favourite exotic ingredients and techniques along with never-before-seen preparations of fresh Maldivian seafood. Sheared baby zucchini recreate vibrant emerald scales atop Maldivian white fish. Umami drenches cold water lobsters. Tiny root vegetables grow in a Seoul Garden. Micro shiso and fresh truffles add herbaceous and earthy tones to his signature tuna ‘pizza’.

BLU Pool and Beach, PER AQUUM Niyama
BLU Pool and Beach, PER AQUUM Niyama

While visiting the islands, Chef Akira will indulge his adventurous streak as a veteran extreme sportsman by riding the waves and joining in the surprisingly dramatic spectacle of Maldivian pole-and-line fishing. As the ship crests on the waves, fishermen using traditional sustainable methods send tuna soaring through the air. Baited into a feeding frenzy with expert techniques, the surface-dwelling tuna latch onto special barbless hooks and are propelled arcing overhead before sliding off onto the deck in a haul that can bring in several tonnes in a single outing.

No stranger to adrenaline and sportsmanship – nor globetrotting – Akira’s backstory is as fascinating as his innovative plates. Born in Korea, he moved to Aspen as a 15-year-old. Plunged into a strange country where he couldn’t speak the language, he learned English by watching James Bond movies and made friends by skateboarding and snowboarding. He decided that if he couldn’t speak English yet, the best way to make friends was by boarding. Akira found himself a quick learner at snowboarding and was soon excelling at big jumps and challenging stunts. After gathering fame – and a series of injuries – he threw himself into a new passion, studying with top Asian chefs and then opening a collection of restaurants: Yellowtail at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Kumi at nearby Mandalay Bay, and self-titled Akira Back restaurants in Jakarta, Delhi, and Seoul.

Possessing a mountain of awards and honours, he has also graced a number of television shows, including the Food Network’s Iron Chef America where he battled Iron Chef Bobby Flay, NBC’s ‘The Today Show’, Food Network’s ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’, Cooking Channel’s ‘United Tastes of America’ and KBS’s ‘Success Mentor’ airing in Korea.

Chef Akira’s private dinners at PER AQUUM Niyama will be held in its treetop Asian avant-garde restaurant, Nest. At PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi, he’ll host his first night at over-water Salt, descending on the second night to the underground wine cave, Vinum. Dinner prices start at USD 220++ per person, depending on the venue.

Infinity Pool Lonu Veyo, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi
Infinity Pool Lonu Veyo, PER AQUUM Huvafen Fushi

This ‘Forces of Nature’ special appearance unfolds as part of PULSE, PER AQUUM’s stream of immersive experiences from A-list affairs to intimate celebrations. To reserve the experience or see more of this year’s PULSE line-up, visit