Spotlight on the culinary spirit at Constance

Le Barachois floating restaurant at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Le Barachois floating restaurant

Our corporate chef, Bruno Le Gac, gives us the history behind our famous ‘culinary spirit’.

The concept of the culinary spirit was born at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius when the resort was created a few years ago.

What is the culinary spirit?

The idea of the culinary spirit centres around:

  • The careful choice of the best produce.
  • The enhancement of this produce by a precise cooking method and the balanced use of spices.

Michael Scioli, the brilliant chef at Le Prince Maurice, wanted to give a personal and contemporary interpretation of these founding principles.

Le Barachois

Table at Le Barachois, Constance Le Prince Maurice

Table at Le Barachois, Constance Le Prince Maurice

He’s developed a menu at Le Barachois, our famous floating restaurant, where the dishes are created around the association of one central produce and one spice.

Here are just a few dishes on the menu to get your tastebuds excited:

  • Sarawak black pepper and Indian Ocean Albacore tuna, in a tartar with passion fruit and coconut milk starts the dinner with a note of freshness, elegance and a burst of flavours.
  • Fresh turmeric and tek-tek local cockles in a cocotte, a marinière broth with chorizo associates surf and turf in a very balanced way.
  • Sichuan and local grouper, sautéed and flavoured with Mirin, sesame oil and fresh soy sprouts is sharp and goes straight to the point.
  • Tamarind and grilled Royal gambas, a warm salad of capsicum and crispy beans plays with tangy notes and reflects these more vegetal of the garnish.

The dishes are served in a beautiful set of staub grey enamel cast ironware.

Why not try cooking some of our fabulous recipes at home. Every Friday we post a new recipe for you to try – see our culinary section for some great ideas.

Interview with Gert Puchtler, General Manager at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Gert Puchtler

Gert Puchtler

Gert Puchtler is our General Manager at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius.

Originally from Germany, Gert started in the hotel industry doing work experience as a bell-boy while still at school. He quickly proved his talents, becoming a general manager in Germany at just 29 years old.

1. Tell us a bit about Constance Belle Mare Plage

Belle Mare Plage is one of the longest established hotels on Mauritius. People have been working here for the last 30 years. Staff have contact with guests who have been coming here since the beginning, and special bonds develop between the staff and guests. They see each other as friends.

For example, families who come back sometimes insist that a particular villa master looks after them. Guests bring staff gifts, and some have tears in their eyes when they leave. Guests might come every 3 years – everyone recognises them, and everything is prepared just as they like it.

At Belle Mare Plage we also have two championship golf courses. Golf draws people here – the golf pros at our hotel encourage the guests, and teach them. People feel very comfortable here.

Legends golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

Legends golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage

2. What do you think of hotel standards today?

The sincere service culture isn’t apparent in Europe anymore. It’s more natural to people in Mauritius, owing to their culture and their background of life – it makes them more sincere when dealing with other people.

Staff in hotels who’ve been working for a long time are intuitive. The management encourages and supports this -we teach that you need to ‘read guests’.

When you start out you need to make mistakes – you need to have a guest who isn’t happy, and to learn from it.

Constance has standard operating procedures for complaints but we also want staff to be creative and to think out of the box. We’re trying to implement a buddy system so that younger staff follow someone more experienced.

A guest’s second stay is the critical one – the potential for disappointment is greater because of higher expectation. The first time, guests don’t know what to expect but if on their second visit they don’t have a flower on their bed like the first time, they feel disappointed.

La Spiaggia restaurant, Constance Belle Mare Plage

La Spiaggia at Belle Mare Plage

3. What qualities should someone have if they want to work in this industry?

There’s a higher turnover of younger people these days – the hotel industry demands a lot of time and devotion of your hours. Early morning, late at night, public holidays. Younger people don’t want to do it so much anymore. It limits the kind of life you can live because your social life is limited.

Staff either get into it, live it, love it and stay. Or get into it, try it and don’t like it. Work experience is the best way to see what’s happening at the back of house.

I had a boss who said if you want to achieve something in the hotel industry, at the beginning of your career don’t look at time or money because you’ll always be unhappy if you do.

If you’re good at it, you can achieve something quite fast in this profession. I moved on in my career and by 29 I was made a general manager. That’s very young in Germany for that to happen.

4. What made you pursue this as a career?

As a young child, I was lucky to travel with my family to nice places. I loved it and I always wanted to get into the service industry. My father told me that ‘service’ is key – it makes you a servant or the one who is served. You have to make the choice which one you’ll be.

I tried it, and liked it. I’ve met so many people in my life. I wanted to meet international people – people from different cultures. Germany wasn’t enough for me. I went to great parties and functions when I was younger. In the hotel industry, you meet people you wouldn’t normally meet. I like going to nice places, restaurants, eating good food and wine.

It was a world that I loved, it was clear that I wanted to do it.

Everyday something else will happen – every day you come to work and you don’t know how your day will end.

5. Where do you think the hotel industry goes from here?

Young people don’t want to work that hard. There’s a change in generations of staff and guests. Young people think younger, so it’s good to have that in your staff. But you also need a more traditional service because wealthy older people prefer that type of service.

The analogy is that my father likes classical music. My generation likes dance and techno. There’s a big difference between these types of people, and you have to think how to align these two.

It’s a very important time at the moment, a period of transition. As management you need to be careful how you direct this transition.

6. You’ve travelled all over the world. Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

My favourite holiday destination is the southern part of France and I never miss the chance to visit this region whenever I go to Europe.

Pillow menu at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Bedroom at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Bedroom at Constance Le Prince Maurice

We know how important a good night’s sleep is for our guests.

At Constance Le Prince Maurice, our beds are some of the most comfortable you’ll ever sleep in.

To give you extra comfort, we offer guests a choice of pillows from our special pillow menu.

Upon arrival, you’ll find 2 goosedown and 2 feather pillows on your bed. If you prefer a different type of pillow, you can choose from the following list:

  • feather pillow extra large – a cuddle pillow, extra large, 1250gms. 20% goosedown and 80% feather, this pillow is firm yet soft enough for that luxurious feeling
  • synthetic pillow – designed to be hypoallergenic, medium to firm support, 750gms
  • eco pillow – a contoured foam pillow ideal for neck and shoulder support
  • bolster – a French-style body pillow, hypo-allergenic, that provides support for legs and ankles
  • tempur pillows – ideal for those looking for a therapeutic pillow that softens and moulds to the body, gently cradling your head and neck. Choose from original extra large, medium or soft.

Guests simply need to call our reception, and they’ll arrange for your preferred pillow to be brought to your room.

Luxury service from our staff

Chef with guests at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Chef with guests at Constance Le Prince Maurice

One of the things that makes the Constance Hotels Experience so special are the people who work there. So often the staff at Constance receive a special mention in the customer reviews we get on TripAdvisor, or in feedback sent by guests.

At Constance, we put a lot of time into training. Our Constance Hotels Training Academy, based in Mauritius is the hub for all staff training. Over the last 13 years, we’ve become a leader in the hospitality training sector.

Many of our staff come through our apprenticeship scheme, and have worked with us for over 10 years.

All this helps to make the Constance Hotels Experience so unique. When you stay at a Constance hotel, the staff very quickly come to know what you like, which makes you feel you’re being personally looked after.

Housekeeper decorating a bed at Constance Hotels Experience

Housekeeper decorating a bed

For many of our guests, that’s as much a part of the luxury experience as the hotel surroundings and decor.

Find out more about what it’s like to stay at a Constance hotel, or tell us your stories about staying with Constance and what made it stand out for you.

You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

The essence of the Constance Hotels Experience

Constance Hotels Experience resorts are elegant and beautifully proportioned, enveloping you in a luxury that’s relaxed and refined.

Lobby at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Lobby at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

As you wander through one our resorts, you feel you’re experiencing luxury on every level. Everything is designed to offer the ultimate sensory experience as you take in the landscape, people, décor and food.

Luxury on a big scale

There’s nothing small scale about a Constance hotel. Bedrooms are beautifully proportioned – huge beds, pillows placed enticingly, enormous windows that take in the view. Bathrooms come with double sinks, massive baths, walk-in showers and perfect lighting.

Poolside view at Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Poolside view at Constance Ephelia

At each resort you’ll find a choice of swimming pools, bars and restaurants – all offering a different atmosphere. Music gently rolls out – loud enough to create a vibe but not intrusive.

Culinary spirit

In the restaurants, Constance offers its guests a taste of the Constance culinary spirit. Dishes are beautifully prepared, often around one spice or key ingredient, and our sommeliers serve wines from around the world.

Snorkelling in the Maldives

Snorkelling in the Maldives

Spa, sport and island tours

You can spend your days relaxing by the pool, on the beach, trying out watersports and diving, golf or spa, tennis, fitness studio or take an island tour. Many activities are offered free of charge.

Constance staff

There’s something intuitive about the level of service that guests receive at a Constance hotel. There’s a warmth and generosity of spirit in the staff as they greet you. And as the days pass you awaken to a sense of belonging.

These are joy-filled places, designed to meet your every need. In that sense they are totally indulgent. But there’s a sincerity to them that takes the service and the experience to another level.

Find out more about some of our Constance hotels:

Constance Hotels Experience Sommeliers at VinExpo 2011, France

Constance Hotels Experience sommeliers at Vinexpo, 2011

Constance Hotels Experience sommeliers at Vinexpo, 2011

At Constance Hotels, wine is a key feature of our special culinary spirit. We have some of the best sommeliers working with us, and our wine menu includes wines from small vineyards that you can’t find anywhere else.

Last month, some of our sommeliers attended the 10th VinExpo in Bordeaux, France. They were:

Take a look at our culinary section for more information about recipes and wine from Constance Hotels.