Constance’s young star chefs at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

The very best young local chefs from Constance are set to battle it out this week for the accolade of winner of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013.

Culinary at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Dining at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Here’s a run down of who is appearing at this year’s festival in Mauritius.

Sasha Dinnoo – Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

For Sasha Dinno of Le Prince Maurice being granted a place in this year’s Culinary Festival is a dream come true.

Beginning her career as a trainee at Le Prince Maurice, Sasha Dinnoo has literally grown up in the hotel’s exclusive kitchens, working her way up through their demanding ranks.

Known by her colleagues for her humility and passionate commitment to service excellence, she is excited about the opportunity to learn from the prestigious European chefs.

Elodie Oudeuil – Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Belle Mare Plage Chef Elodie Oudeuil is passionate about all aspects of food from the excitement of working in a busy kitchen to cooking with quality fresh ingredients.

She is very proud to be competing in this year’s Culinary Festival, especially because she is representing Belle Mare Plage in the competition.

Oudeuil is known for her calmness in the kitchen combined with her excellent powers of organisation.

Shanifa Larue – Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Belle Mare Plage hosts festival

The 19-year-old chef began her culinary career with Constance at Lémuria.

Larue has gone on to be recognised twice as employee of the month as well as being voted Star of Lémuria.

Very focused Larue never stops learning while she is in the kitchen.

Driven to progress in her career, she is eager to show her talents in the competition and contribute her own personal touch and knowledge of Seychelles cuisine.

Beguitta Ally – Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Beguitta Ally dreams of being the first female cook to win the Bernard Loiseau trophy.

Having trained in tourism she has always been passionate about cooking and it was that passion which brought her to Ephélia.

Her positive attitude, and her ability to listen and learn from advice is what has got her this far in the competition and she hopes she can go all the way.

Hem Pulami – Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Pulami discovered his passion for food in his home country Nepal. Having worked in local restaurants he joined the kitchen of Hotel D, la Annapurna Casino Ann in Kathmandu.

Deciding to widen his experience Pulami joined the culinary team at Halaveli in 2009.

Starting as a commis chef in the resorts signature restaurant Jing he has recently been promoted to demi chef de partie in recognition of his hard work and dedication.

Sampath Mariyadasa – Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Sampath, originally from Sri Lanka, is passionate about food and relishes the opportunity to work with the European chefs in order to learn as much as possible from them.

Constantly practising his culinary craft, Mariyadasa is creatively inspired to create new and exciting dishes.

His willingness to seize new opportunities at Moofushi has meant that he is always learning new techniques and he hopes to use these skills to win this year’s competition.

 

Photos of this year’s Island Chef contestants

Sasha Dinnoo

Sasha Dinnoo

 

Elodie Oudeuil

Elodie Oudeuil

 

Shanifa Larue

Shanifa Larue

 

Beguitta Ally

Beguitta Ally

 

Hem Pulami

Hem Pulami

 

Sampath Mariyadasa

Sampath Mariyadasa

Gourmets gather in Mauritius to judge Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Some of the world’s most renowned chefs and gourmets make up this year’s judging panel, responsible for choosing which team will win the 2013 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Dominique Loiseau

Dominique Loiseau

Before the festival gets underway on Monday 18 March, here’s a look at the highly qualified team of judges.

 

Dominique Loiseau, CEO of the Relais Bernard Loiseau and Vice President of Relais & Châteaux, France

Presiding over the Culinary Festival for the eighth year, Loiseau is a culinary giant. The restaurant at her famous Relais & Châteaux in Burgundy holds 3 Michelin stars.

With a range of further restaurants inFrance, including the innovative Loiseau de Vignes in Burgundy which offers each of the high-class wines on its wine list by the glass, Loiseau is an expert in all aspects of gastronomy.

In 2008 she was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Visit the Bernard Loiseau website.

 

 

Patrick Bertron of Relais Bernard Loiseau, France

Tutored under the culinary genius and inspiration of Bernard Loiseau, Patrick Bertron has since the great chef’s death introduced his own creative flare to the 3 star menu at the Relais.

A master of creating traditional French cuisine in a refined, elegant way, Bertron’s reputation is unsurpassed.

Visit the Le Relais Bernard Loiseau website.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Belle Mare Plage, location for the Culinary Festival

 

Nick Nairn, Celebrity Chef, UK

A self-taught cook Nairn opened his first restaurant in 1986 and was awarded his first Michelin star 5 years later. He was the youngest Scottish cook ever to receive the honour.

Over the following years Nairn opened his eponymous restaurant in Glasgow as well as cooking schools in Port of Menteith and Aberdeen.

He also works as a consultant for several restaurants.

In his position as chef, teacher, consultant, culinary writer and broadcaster Nairn is the perfect choice for a judge on the Festival panel.

Visit Nick Nairn’s website, and follow him on Twitter – @NickNairn including during the festival, #CFBL13.

 

Pavel Maurer, Czech gourmet

Founder and Publisher of the highly acclaimed Maurer’s selection Grand Restaurants, Pavel Maurer is no stranger to judging good food.

Maurer is also the founder of the famous Prague Food Festival in which people can taste food cooked by the best restaurants in the city at a fraction of the usual price.

 

Eyvind Hellstrøm, Chef and frequent judge of the Bocuse d’Or, Norway

Having headed up his own 2 star kitchen at the Bagatelle in Oslow, Hellstrøm knows the pressure of working in a high-class kitchen.

As a judge and now president of the prestigious Bocus d’Or Europe culinary award he is also extremely well placed to decide the best menu put forward in the competition.

 

Patricia Broehm, Editor and Chief of Gault & Millau magazine, Germany

Acclaimed food, wine and travel writer Patricia Broehm has travelled the globe eating in some of the world’s most elite restaurants and writing about international cuisines.

Her knowledge of fine dining will make her an invaluable judge.

 

Find out more

Read more about this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013.

The crème de la crème of European gastronomy join Culinary Festival

The selection of European chefs for this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau includes some of the top creative culinary minds from across six countries.  As the festival gets underway on Monday, here’s the lowdown on the Michelin star chefs appearing at this year’s event.

William Drabble

William Drabble

William Drabble of Seven Park Place, St James’ Hotel & Club, UKDrabble is no stranger to working with fresh-from-the-ocean seafood.

Drabble’s signature dishes at his Michelin-starred restaurant Seven Park Place include poached lobster tail and marinated hand-dived scallops, making him perfectly placed to work with our island chefs.

Having discovered his passion for cooking using fresh locally grown ingredients in his childhood, Drabble toured the Michelin-star kitchens of the UK to learn his skills.

At the age of 26 he earned a Michelin star at Michael Nook’s Country House Hotel. He then moved to London and the Aubergine and was again awarded a Michelin star which he was able to retain for 10 years before moving to St James’ where within a year he again gained a star.

 

Ezio Gritti of l’Osteria di via Solata, Italy

Ezio Gritti

Ezio Gritti

Ezio Gritti blends tradition with innovation in what should make him the perfect competitor in the culinary competition.

Having built his career on blending new and exciting elements into traditional Italian cuisine, Gritti will be open to the island influences he will discover in Mauritius.

No stranger to pressure Gritti has cooked for some of the world’s most famous figures including Henry Kissinger and Giorgio Armani.

Surprisingly Gritti was a latecomer to cooking, only discovering his true passion at the age of 28.

But he certainly made up for lost time, within a few years he was heralded one of the Top 12 Chefs of the Third Millennium for his innovative menu at Alla Nicchi in his home town of Bergamo.

By 1997 Gritti had joined l’Osteria di via Solata and went on to make it a culinary hotspot in Bergamo. In 2005 he was recognised for his work with a Michelin star.

 

Anita Klemensen of Den Rode Cottage, Denmark

Anita Klemensen

Anita Klemensen

At the age of 35 Anita Klemensen has the honour of being the first Danish woman to receive a Michelin star for her restaurant Den Rode Cottage.

Set up by herself and her partner chef Lars Thomsen the Den Rode Cottage is a star of the ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, using fresh local ingredients and seamlessly blending Nordic traditions with modern gastronomy.

It is her acclaimed ability to adapt seasonal, fresh ingredients into gourmet feasts that makes her an ideal European chef for the competition with its emphasis on local produce.

 

 

Luc Mobihan of Le Saint Placide, France

Luc Mobihan brings a wealth of experience from some of the best restaurants in France with him to the culinary competition in Mauritius.

Luc Mobihan

Luc Mobihan

As a chef Mobihan’s passion is for beautiful, simple food with ultimate taste and it is on this philosophy he and his wife Isabelle based their Michelin-starred restaurant Le Saint Placide.

Mobihan’s culinary adventure began when he joined, as a trainee, the kitchen of Jean-Paul Abadie at the 2-starred Amphitryon.

Stints in various Michelin-starred kitchens followed before Mobihan could finally realise his dream of setting up his own restaurant.

 

 

Roman Paulus of Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel, Czech Republic

Austrian chef Roman Paulus brings a wealth of fine dining experience to the competition from his time as Executive Chef at the Radisson Blu Alcron Hotel in Prague.

Roman Paulus

Roman Paulus

He began his career in Austria in the early 1990s working his way up through Michelin-starred kitchens including La Pergola in Rome and Maison du Boeuf in Brussels. He then went on to join the kitchen of The Savoy hotel in 1999.

Paulus has literally travelled the globe searching out culinary excellence in his job as chef on the illustrious ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II.

When he returned to Austria he joined the Hilton Group working as Sous Chef for the CzecHouse Grill & Rotisserie at the Hilton Hotel in Prague before moving to The Alcron where he received a Michelin star.

 

 

Robert Speth of Chesery, Switzerland

Robert Speth

Robert Speth

Used to the stunning Alpine surrounding of the exclusive Swiss town of Gstaad, Robert Speth is looking forward to the lush, tropical surroundings of Mauritius.

With his apprenticeship as a pastry chef in Ravensburg and experience as head of the pastry at the hotel Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof in Frankfurt he will undoubtedly have unrivalled skills to enhance those of the island chefs.

But Speth’s skills go way beyond pastry thanks to his time training under Albert Bouley at the Waldhorn, Louis Outhier at La Napoule and in Munich undfer Heinz Winkler at Tantris.

His work was rewarded when in 1998 he received a Michelin star at his current restaurant, Chesery in Gstaad and was, in 2005, voted Chef of the Year by GaultMillau.

 

Find out more about Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

Read more about the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau which starts on Monday 18 March at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.

 

 

 

Bid in our online charity auction to dine at a Michelin star restaurant in Europe

Every day next week we are holding an online charity auction offering you the chance to bid for an exclusive dinner for two at a Michelin star restaurant in the UK, France and Switzerland.

Roast cod with olive oil mash and gremolata

Roast cod with olive oil mash and gremolata at Chez Bruce

All money raised will go to the ground-breaking school, Etoile de Mer, in Mauritius that helps disadvantaged teenagers get back on their feet, teaching them vocational and life skills.

How it works

From Monday 18 – Friday 22 March you can choose which of the following restaurants you would like to bid to dine at:

1. Chez Bruce, Chef Bruce Poole (London, UK)

The offer: Dinner for 2 with wines matched by sommelier, and a behind the scenes tour of the kitchen to meet Chef Bruce Poole.

At Chez Bruce, you can enjoy top-notch modern food loosely influenced by classical and regional French/Mediterranean cuisine. Home-made charcuterie, slow cooked braises, offal, warm and cold salads, classical desserts and bread-making are specialities, as is the restaurant’s famous cheese board.

Visit their website to read more about Chez Bruce and Chef Bruce Poole.

 

2. Restaurant Serge Vieira, Chef Serge and Marie-Aude Vieira (Chaudes-Aigues, South Central France)

Dining room at Restaurant Serge Vieira

Dining room at Restaurant Serge Vieira

The offer: Tasting menu for 2 plus drink

At Restaurant Serge Vieira, you can enjoy fabulous light and simple cooking, using only the finest ingredients, seasonal and locally sourced where possible.

Describing his cooking as ‘emotion culinaire’ Chef Serge runs his restaurant with his wife Marie-Aude, and the menu is the expression of their culinary creativity, reflecting their passionate respect for the food and the environment.

Visit their website to read more about Restaurant Serge Vieira and the masterminds behind it.

 

3. Beau-Rivage, Chef Dominique Gauthier (Geneva, Switzerland)

The offer: Dinner for 2 at Le Chat-Botté

At Beau-Rivage’s Le Chat-Botté you can enjoy contemporary and inventive French cuisine by award winning Chef Dominique Gauthier.

Le Chat Botte at Beau-Rivage

Le Chat Botte at Beau-Rivage

Wine connoisseurs can indulge in some exceptional wines from the cellars of Beau-Rivage, renowned as being one of the best stocked cellars in Switzerland.

Visit their website to read more about Beau-Rivage and Chef Dominique Gauthier.

How to take part

Join us on FacebookTwitter or here on the blog on Monday 18 March, where you can start bidding. We’ll be keeping you updated on how the bidding is going, and publishing more information about each of the restaurants taking part.

The charity we’re supporting

All money raised in this auction will go directly to the Mauritian school, Etoile de Mer to help the students turn themselves around, and discover opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them.

At Constance, we have supported the school for teenagers for some years. Now, with your support, we can help the school expand so the founder, Christine Baudot, can take in more children. Currently demand is far in excess of the number of places available.

Serge Vieira visits Etoile de Mer in 2012

Serge Vieira visits Etoile de Mer in 2012

The school welcomes children from 12 years old who come from deprived families living in the neighbourhood, and who have struggled in their primary education.

The school’s proven non-academic approach is enabling pupils to thrive as they build self-confidence and personality, teaching them non-vocational skills, as well as how to read and write.

Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013

We’re running this year’s online charity auction to mark the 2013 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau. Every day we’ll be publishing highlights from the festival. Follow us on Twitter for photos and updates, using hashtag #CFBL13.

Read more about this year’s festival, and the big names from the culinary world who are flying into Mauritius for the event this weekend: 2013 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

 

Spotlight: Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

If you’re looking for an indulgent Indian Ocean experience, head to the elegant surroundings of Constance Lémuria in the Seychelles’ archipelago. Situated on the idyllic island of Praslin, few places can match the beauty and serenity of this ultimate island getaway.

Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Beach paradise at Lemuria

Find your own secluded spot on one of three unspoilt white-sand beaches, escape to the spa or play a round or two on the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles.

Sumptuous accommodation

At Lémuria you can take your pick from spacious, contemporary suites or indulge in the opulence of your own luxury villa. The villas come with their own pool and garden running down to the beach. And there’s even a villa master on hand to make sure your holiday is just as you want it to be.

Fine dining with a touch of spice

Fresh delicious food is a key ingredient to any holiday. At Lémuria, each of the three restaurants provide a different ambience. Choose from the tree-house style of the Legend Restaurant to the breathtakingly situated Beach Bar & Grill perched above the ocean. Then savour a range of flavours with everything from light lunches and Creole seafood grills to European-style fine dining.

A golfer’s paradise

Luxury golf at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Luxury golf at Lemuria

The Par 70, 18-hole golf course at Lémuria is often described as the most beautiful golf course in the world. It’s an opinion shared by the World Travel Awards who have awarded it Leading Golf Resort in the Indian Ocean every year for the past five years.

This is golf with an extra dash of luxury. Swing your clubs over a series of beautifully terraced greens built into the magnificent granite hills of Praslin with ocean views from every hole. Then finish with a chilled glass of champagne at the clubhouse.

Golf at Lémuria includes:

  • Free green fees for guests
  • Free club cars
  • Coaching sessions with pros, by arrangement
  • Golf equipment available to rent

And you can even book your tee-off time with our online concierge service before you arrive.

Spa haven

Spa on the beach at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Spa treatments on the beach

The simple beauty of the natural environment on Praslin makes it the ultimate backdrop for a spot of pampering.

Try an outdoor skin treatment in the Shiseido Pavilion before entering the calm haven of our Spa de Constance where you can choose from a long menu of treatments including Hot Stone massage, Ayurvedic and Shiatsu massage, natural body scrubs, wraps and polishes, and a full range of beauty treatments.

Our staff offer coaching in meditation and yoga, so you can learn some new techniques for dealing with the fast-pace of daily life and take that sense of reinvigoration home with you.

Discover the beauty of the Seychelles

And if discovery is something you crave while on holiday, quench your thirst for adventure with our outbound and adrenalin sports.

Watch the sunset at the beautiful Anse Georgette or explore the award-winning beach Anse Lazio.

Dive into the stunning underwater world around the island of Praslin, completely unspoilt thanks to strict conservation in the region. Diving or snorkelling the granite reefs around Lémuria is like discovering a vibrant underwater kingdom with a breathtaking array of marine life.

Turtle conservation

Turtle preservation at Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Baby turtles make their way to the water

Some of the world’s most endangered creatures, the Hawksbill and Green turtles, are offered protection at Lémuria. We have our own Turtle Manager who runs our turtle preservation programme, alongside the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, and we are always happy to let guests watch or help out. In March 2013, over 250 baby turtles were released into the water following another successful turtle-nesting season at Lémuria.

Watch baby turtles making their way to the sea from the beach at Lémuria – from blog Wanderforth.

Find out more

Discover more about the delights of Lémuria, and check booking availability, on our website – Constance Lémuria, Seychelles.

Underwater tales from marine biologist at Halaveli

Robin Aiello, renowned marine biologist, is at Constance Halaveli this month. Enjoy tales of her underwater adventures and find out more about your dive buddies with the special creature features she’s writing for us during her stay.

Robin Aiello

Robin Aiello

Arriving at Halaveli

It is hard to believe that I have been on this wonderful island for a week already. Time is passing too quickly and tere is so much to do, and see, and explore.

I arrived last Sunday to the resort by seaplane – which in itself is a fabulous experience with wonderful views of the reefs and lagoons while enroute.

I’m staying in a Water Villa. It’s spectacular, and for me, living somewhere I can step out onto my deck and down a few stairs directly into the ocean for a snorkel is a dream come true.

Within the first few minutes of snorkelling from my deck I encountered a school of silver mullet fish hungrily feeding at the surface of the water, saw several baby blacktip reef sharks (only about 40cm long, so they were only a few days old), and spotted a manta ray passing by. Wow! What a start to my month on the island.

While I’m at Halaveli, I’ll be working with the TGI Dive Center guiding dives and snorkels and sharing all my expertise on coral reefs and the animals living there.

One of the things that has really impressed me is the diversity of the marine life on the reefs that we visit. There is just so much to see. During my stay, I’lll be writing a series of Creature Features in which I want to highlight some of the lesser well-known creatures that you can easily see while diving and snorkeling. I hope you enjoy the fun facts.

Creature Feature 1

Redtooth Triggerfish at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Redtooth Triggerfish at Halaveli

The Redtooth Triggerfish (Odonus niger)
Also known as Black Triggerfish or Niger Triggerfish

As soon as you put your head into the waters on any of the reefs here, you can see why people come back for diving over and over again to the Maldives. The ocean is full of marine life – in every imaginable shape and colour. It is like being inside a large aquarium.

All around you fish dart to and fro – some are very curious and even change direction to pass close to your mask and look you right in the eye.

Many people ask me which is my favourite fish, and to be honest, I cannot choose – they are each so beautiful and interesting in their own way. But there is one fish that I have developed a great fondness for since being here in Halaveli – the Redtooth Triggerfish. To me, these are incredibly endearing.

Their behaviour

These fish are schooling fish that feed on zooplankton floating in the water, so they form massive groups of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. They hang off the edge of the reef, forming a ‘halo’ around it.

All triggerfish are easily recognised by the way they swim – they undulate their ventral (top) fin and dorsal (bottom) fin from side to side, so it almost looks like flags flapping in the breeze. When there are hundreds of fish doing this all at once, the motion is mesmerising – like a fish ballet.

Although on first glance they do not look like this would be an effective way to swim, these fish are actually highly maneuverable. They flit around in the water column catching small zooplankton (small animals that float in the ocean). In fact, when you take a close look at these fish, you can see that their tiny little mouths are upturned, pointing upwards, which makes it easier for them to grab zooplankton floating by.

Recognising the Redtooth Triggerfish

Redtooth Triggerfish

Redtooth Triggerfish

The Redtooth Triggerfish is known by many names, including Niger or Black Triggerfish. Although they can reach up to 30cm long, they are generally much smaller – about the size of you hand.

Their colours vary greatly depending on the light conditions. When schooling in deep, blue waters they appear black, but in good sunlight you can see their true bright blue or teal green colouration. And, yes, when you get a close up look at the teeth, they are in fact a dark red colour (no one seems to know why they are red). Around the head they have delicate lines that create a beautiful facial tattoo. However, for me, the most beautiful part of these fish are their long lyre-shaped tails that wave in the currents.

The triggerfish spine

All triggerfish have a shared characteristic – a spine (the ‘trigger’) on their forehead. This is a special spine that they can erect and lock into place with a second spine – much like a trigger on a gun, hence the name ‘triggerfish’.

They use this unique feature in two ways. One is for defense against being eaten by predatory fish. Imagine a fish’s surprise if it tries to swallow a triggerfish and suddenly it gets spiked in their throat by the ‘trigger’ spine.

But the most important use of the ‘trigger’ spine is for tightly wedging themselves into coral crevices or small holes in the reef while they sleep (yes…reef fish DO sleep). To stay safe, these fish find their own personal hole or crevice in the reef to hide out in. The spaces are usually so narrow that the fish need to wiggle into them by turning sideways.

Once inside the hole (usually all you can see are thee tips of the tail sticking out) the triggerfish erect their ‘trigger’ spine to lock themselves in place. In this way, any predatory fish, like a reef shark who hunts sleeping fish, cannot grab and tug them out from their holes.

When the triggerfish are ready to leave the holes, they release the ‘trigger’, lower the spine and wiggle their way out – backwards! (Yes…these are one of the few fish that I have seen that can swim tail-first!

So the next time you are diving on one of the reefs around Halaveli, take a moment to observe these little triggerfish.

Catch up later in the week…

…with more of Robin’s Creature Feature specials or find out more about Robin’s work and her visit to Halaveli.