Interview: Claus Meyer

Renowned chef and restaurateur, Claus Meyer is one of our judges at the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Claus Meyer

Claus Meyer

  • Founder of the new Nordic cuisine and architect of the manifesto.
  • Co-founder of the restaurant Noma in Denmark, Michelin which was voted World’s best restaurant in 2010.
  • Hosted his own TV-series on cooking ‘Meyers Koekken’ on national Danish TV (DR1) from 1991 to 1998.

What is your principal trait of character?
Enterprising and honest.

What is your greatest quality?
Empathy – I treat everyone as an equal and I talk with everyone.

What are the qualities you look for most in other people?
Generosity and integrity.

What is your favourite tipple?
German Riesling.

What has been your best experience professionally?
Creating the Noma restaurant and conceptualising Scandinavian nouvelle cuisine, as well as realising the joint project.

Who are the most important people to you in your professional life?
My wife and four children.

What, for you, is happiness?
To be in a position where you can follow your heart. To have the capacity to surprise your most demanding followers. To be passionate about what you are doing. To have a family that you love more than anything in this world.

How do you get away from it all?
I take off to the countryside with my family, or on my own in our house in the woods deep in the heart of Sweden, or in our summer home by the sea in Denmark.

Which type of cuisine is currently the best in the world in your opinion?
I could obviously say new Scandinavian cuisine but I don’t really accept the validity of the question. Cuisine is not a matter of ethnic origin!

Day 3: Inside the kitchens at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Bruno Le Gac takes us into the kitchens on day 3 of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Prawn curry at Constance Hotels Experience

Luxury food at Constance

Pressure is gradually rising in the kitchen, and countdown has started as the chefs have to come up with 2 creations. Ambiance is great between all the candidates and we are starting to see some interesting things on the plates.

On Monday evening, guests at Constance Belle Mare Plage had the rare privilege to taste a menu prepared by the 6 executive chefs of our hotels in Mauritius, Seychelles and the Maldives.

It was an explosion of flavours and tastes. A fantastic atmosphere in the kitchen, lots of fun… and some pressure for our sous chef Vishnu who was doing the passé with 6 executive chefs sending the dishes to him.

We are already looking forward to next year’s festival!

Competition: ‘I love the food at Constance Hotels because…’

Enter our competition and win a beautiful book of 52 recipes from Constance Le Prince Maurice.

Food at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Delicious cuisine at Constance

All you have to do is tell us why you love the food at Constance Hotels Experience.

How to enter

To enter, simply comment on our blog below, Facebook or Twitter. Start your entry with ‘I love the food at Constance Hotels Experience because…’

Come up with the best reason (winners will be chosen by us, so be creative and inspired) and you could win.

Competition ends on Monday 2 April at 12 noon GMT. You can read our terms and conditions here.

Remember, either post to the comments section below or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages to enter.

Good luck!

Interview: Serge Vieira

Serge Vieira won the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau in 2011. For this year’s festival, he has returned as one of our judges.

Serge Vieira

Serge Vieira

  • **Michelin
  • Restaurant Serge Vieira, Chaudes-Aigues, France
  • Winner of the Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau 2011
  • Bocuse d’Or in 2005

What is your principal trait of character?
Calm.

What is your greatest quality?
Enthusiastic and perfectionist.

What are the qualities you look for most in other people?
Forthrightness and simplicity.

What is your biggest weakness?
Too fussy.

What is your favourite tipple?
Water.

What is your favourite dish – and your least favourite?
I don’t like raw oysters, I think because of their texture. Otherwise, I like everything and particularly enjoy discovering new produce.

What has been your best experience professionally?
The Bocuse d’Or.

Who are the most important people to you in your professional life?
My wife and my team.

What, for you, is happiness?
My children and my wife. Enjoying moments with my friends.

What is your most important personal possession?
I’m not materialistic so I would be inclined to say my passport, because you need it to travel.

With what talent would you like to have been gifted?
I don’t really know. Perhaps to be able to play a musical instrument.

If you had not done this profession, what else would you have liked to do professionally?
Industrial designer because I like designing, building and creating. They are also things I do every day as a chef.

What do you think best translates the wish to pass things on?
It’s very important in our profession. You have to imbue youngsters with a desire for the profession.

How do you get away from it all?
Travelling to the far ends of the earth. I love travelling.

What inspiration do you get from Mauritius?
The change of scenery of course but above all the super welcome, the kindness of Mauritians and also discovering local produce like the herbs and spices.

What do you do when you need to recharge your batteries?
Motor biking.

What’s the best compliment someone can pay you?
I’m not really very comfortable with compliments.

Which type of cuisine is currently the best in the world in your opinion?
There is no best cuisine. I enjoy a mix of cultures and produce, and so of styles of cuisine.

Interview: the world of Angela Hartnett

The Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2012 is in full swing at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.

Angela Hartnett

Angela Hartnett

Award-winning chef Angela Hartnett is one our Michelin star chefs at this year’s festival.

  • *Michelin
  • Chef at Restaurant Murano, London, UK
  • Named Chef of the Year 2012 by The Good Food Guide.
  • In 2007, she was awarded an MBE for Services to the Hospitality Industry.
  • A protégé of Gordon Ramsay, made famous by her appearances on British TV.

What is your principal trait of character?
Being honest and straight forward.

What is your greatest quality?
Trying to see the positive in life and people.

What are the qualities you look for most in other people?
Kindness and generous nature.

What is your biggest weakness?
Procrastination.

What is your favourite tipple?
Wine and champagne.

What is your favourite dish – and your least favourite?
Roast chicken with lemon thyme and rosemary – it’s just delicious and actually takes a good chef to cook a chicken well.

Least favourite?
Any dish with coriander.

What has been your best experience professionally?
Cooking for chefs such as Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse.

Who are the most important people to you in your professional life?
My staff and my guests.

What, for you, is happiness?
Family and friends. A little dog called Alfie and a guy called Neil.

What is your most important personal possession?
Jewellery from my grandmother.

With what talent would you like to have been gifted?
To be able to write well such as authors like Jane Austin, JD Salinger, Scott Fitzgerald.

If you had not done this profession, what else would you have liked to do professionally and why?
I would love to have been a pathologist to solve crimes. I watch too many crime shows on TV.

What does the word creativity mean to you?
Passionate, original.

What do you think best translates the wish to pass things on?
Through inspiration working with others.

How do you get away from it all?
Go travelling. Eating out with friends.

What inspiration do you get from Mauritius?
Grace and charm and freshness and lightness in dishes with different flavours.

What do you do when you need to recharge your batteries?
Just sitting in front of the fire reading.

What is the best compliment someone can pay you?
That I treat others as I would like to be treated.

Which type of cuisine is currently the best in the world in your opinion?
I think Spanish – it offers such a wide range of styles including tapas and traditional dishes.

For the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau, Angela has been teamed with Kamlesh Doorjean, our island cook from Constance Le Prince Maurice.

The Big Draw and a day at Port Louis Market by Christopher Barber

Christopher Barber, one of our judges on this year’s panel for the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau, gives us a run down of the action from day 2 (Monday). 

Chefs visit Port Louis market

Chefs visit Port Louis market

The festival has now begun in earnest.

Over breakfast in the Blue Penny Cafe, the draw of Island and European chefs is made, all seem happy with their partners… so far. Luckily, there would appear to be no language issues – the French speakers and English speakers drawn together.

A downpour accompanies the coach journey toPort Louis. We stop off to visit a school for children with learning difficulties, and drop off some delights from the Belle Mare Plage kitchen.

Next stop the Port Louis market, and the rain will not relent. It doesn’t dampen spirits, and now the chefs visibly move up a gear.

The array of colours, flavours and aromas of the market inspires them, you can see their imaginations and culinary juices flow. Just to watch is exhilarating as they caress the produce and absorb the ambience.

The European chefs seem to take lead, seeking counsel from their local experts at every step.

 

European chefs and island cooks outside Port Louis market

European chefs and island cooks outside Port Louis market

My past visits to the market remind me that no trip toPort Louis is complete without a customary dosa and a local milk drink. My persuasive powers managed to get a couple of the chefs to join in, though the gelatin infused cocktails were not quite as well loved as the dosa.

 On return, the chefs huddle together planning and devising their master creations.

On Tuesday they will start kitchen trials, bringing their creations to life… the excitement mounts.

Catch up with what’s happened so far at the festival