Bringing world-class desserts from the desert to the world

By Tricia L. Rodrigo

The art of baking requires a balance of creativity and precision with a whole lot of perseverance to perfect the craft—qualities that world-class chef patissier, baker, entrepreneur and food influencer Chef Adam Schihab has mastered throughout the years.

With a stellar career that has brought him to 10 countries in more than 20 years, Chef Adam has become a well-known name in the baking industry around the world.

The makings of a sweet career

The Maldives-born chef had his formal culinary training at some of the most prestigious schools around the world like Ecole Le Notre, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie, the Academy of Pastry Arts and HTC, the French culinary school in France and Asia.

He is a well-traveled chef with rich experience managing large-scale kitchen operations in world-renowned hotel brands in various parts of the globe. He has worked with the Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hilton, Dusit Thani, Ritz-Carlton, Relais & Châteaux in France and the James Beard award-winning French restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia called JOËL.

His career has also brought him to the Philippines, specifically in Cebu. During his time as the executive pastry chef at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Chef Adam made guests’ gastronomic experiences a little bit sweeter with his famous macarons.

Although he is a native of the Maldives, Chef Adam has grown a deep love for Cebu and considers it his hometown. One of the reasons for this is because he is happily married to a Cebuana.

He and his wife Cubanna have two beautiful daughters together, Rihanna Fatima and Alizee Sarah. Together, the family resides in Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia.

Business ventures in Asia and the Middle East

Although Chef Adam has achieved a lot in his career, he continues to grow his passion through designing innovative recipes, working with fresh culinary produce and promoting restaurant ratings.

He has been pretty hands-on with his multiple food and beverage companies and catering groups throughout Asia and the Middle East. One of these is the Saudi Arabia-based Vanilla Group Company that was established in 2010.

The Vanilla Group aims to provide the finest pastries and cakes in Saudi Arabia. Its new restaurant Vanille carries the same goals established by Dr. Samir Al Sughaiyer, a respected name in the community in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.

And now, Chef Adam aims to bring this world-class culinary experience to his second home, Cebu. The Vanilla Group is set to open its first branch of the Vanille Restaurant in the Queen City of the South. The upcoming restaurant will be serving up Mediterranean cuisine and will feature a patisserie and a bistro. S

Ube macaron recipe:


80 g water

250 g caster sugar

10 g liquid purple food coloring

100 g egg white

250 g almond powder

250 g icing sugar

70 g egg white


Step 1: Sift the almond powder, then add icing sugar into the powder and sift it altogether.

Step 2: Combine sifted icing sugar and raw egg white to make a paste that looks almost like marzipan.

Step 3: With a mixer, add 100 grams egg white and whip slowly.

Step 4: Bring sugar, water and food coloring to a boil together in a small pan until it reaches 100 degrees Celsius, then speed up egg white whisking until it turns into a soft ball stage at 118C. Add into meringue quickly and speed up the machine.

Step 5: Now your meringue becomes almost an Italian meringue. Keep whipping, and when the bottom of the mixing bowl is no longer hot to the touch, your meringue is ready. Ensure that your piping bag and tray with baking sheet are ready, with an 11mm piping tip attached to the piping bag.

Step 6: Pipe macarons, keeping a one-inch gap between them. After your piping is done, tap the tray several times to ensure all of the macarons are flat and smooth. Now you need to rest your macarons for about one-two hours so they will have a smooth skin. When this skin appears, bake them in a preheated 140 degree Celsius fan-rotated oven around 13-15 minutes. Do not over-bake them or your macaron shells will become dry.