UAE-based chef serves dinner on Mount Everest

The 31-year-old chef shared his one-of-a-kind experience with Khaleej Times recently.

 A UAE-based in-flight chef has achieved a new Guinness World Record by serving dinner at the highest pop-up restaurant in the world on Mount Everest.

Etihad Airways in-flight chef Sanjay Thakur achieved the world record when he served locally inspired meals to 10 lucky diners in the Everest Advanced High Camp. Accompanied by fellow chef Soundararajan Palaniappan, Thakur completed the grueling mission earlier this month, reaching the high camp and serving the meal at an altitude of 5,585 metres above sea level.

The 31-year-old chef shared his one-of-a-kind experience with Khaleej Times recently.

"We didn't just break the record, we created it," he said.

"There was no world record before, we created a world record, so now other people might break the record if they can," he added.

Chef Thakur said this is also the first Guinness World Record for the UAE in hospitality.

"This is a record that is completely out of the box and certainly something to be proud of," added chef Thakur, who moved to the UAE in 2013.

He pointed out that although the diners faced difficulties completing the climb, their dining experience was incredible - because of the views, the food and the local ingredients.

The meal included ingredients collected from the alpine environment around the mountains.

"We made meals with local ingredients; we wanted to focus on local ingredients that we found in our journey to the Himalayas, such as nut berry, which we collected on the way."

Staying true to the theme of sustainability, the team used solar energy to cook the meal, served on lava rock plates.

The world record-holding chefs prepared for months to make the attempt, including acclimatisations and fitness training, and complex logistics, to ensure they had the permit, gear and transportation they needed to prepare the meal and welcome guests.

"Coming from the Himalayas, I've grown up in awe of these mountains and it has been a huge personal achievement to combine my love of food and cooking with a remarkable project to promote sustainability and to help protect this unique part of the world," said Thakur.

In addition to breaking a world record, the goal of the challenge was to raise awareness of sustainability in the region, with all proceeds being donated to Altruistic Hands, a Nepal-based charity organisation.

His record-breaking achievements were celebrated at Etihad's headquarters recently with a special ceremony attended by Etihad senior management and staff. Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: "We are thrilled to welcome him back home and congratulate him whole-heartedly for this epic achievement. We are all very proud of him."

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