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

The 6 teams are drawn for the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Bruno Le Gac, our Corporate Executive Chef, reveals what happened today, Monday, at the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Infinity pool at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Infinity pool at Constance Belle Mare Plage

This morning the 6 teams were drawn. Communication is flowing well among the different chefs, and the ambiance is great. They went to Port Louis market to discover the products of Mauritius and came back with plenty of ideas.

Tonight at dinner time, we had booked 6 tables (one for each team) for the team mates to get to know each other better and break the ice. I had the great pleasure to witness that they all chose to make a long table and share the dinner all together instead. This is the true spirit of the festival… It makes my day!

So, here are the teams for the 7th edition of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau:

Team 1

  • Kamlesh Doorjean – Constance Le Prince Maurice
  • Angela Hartnett – Michelin* chef, UK

Team 2

  • Nuwan Hettiarachchi – Constance Halaveli Resort
  • Patrick Bittner – Michelin* chef, Germany

Team 3

  • Hildy Sinon – Constance Lemuria Resort
  • Jacques Decoret – Michelin* chef, France

Team 4

  • Ankur Daru – Constance Ephelia Resort
  • David Johansen – Michelin* chef, Denmark

Team 5

  • Ravish Mukri – Constance Moofushi Resort
  • Fabrice Biasiolo – Michelin* chef, France

Team 6

  • Jayram Seenanum – Constance Belle Mare Plage
  • Dominique Gauthier – Michelin* chef, Switzerland

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

Christopher Barber lifts the lid as culinary festival begins

This week the much anticipated 2012 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau takes place at Constance Belle Mare Plage. We’ll bring you all the latest action, news, fun and drama from the event.

European chefs at Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2012

European chefs at the start of Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Christopher Barber is one of the judges on this year’s panel. Christopher has over 30 years of experience in the food and restaurant industry, and has carried out nearly every role you can imagine.

Here, he reveals the thrills of the first day of the festival, as the fun begins and everyone gets to know each other.

What a way to launch a festival – Creole street market food followed by music and dancing.

It was really special. Relaxed, fun… a great ice breaker. And talking of ice, star of the day was a singing traditional Mauritian ice lolly maker – simply unique and wonderful.

No sign of the chefs competitive instincts yet, but that’s all to come.

Can we read anything into how they participate in this first event?

Enrico Barnardo and organisers of Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2012

Enrico Barnardo and organisers of the festival

Will the first chefs on the dance floor be the ones who embrace the spirit of friendship and form the strongest bond with their Island partner?

So many questions, so much anticipation… all will be revealed in the coming days. The festival has begun, may the best team win.

Keep up with the latest from the festival

Every day this week, our judges, chefs, island cooks and Constance team will be posting news, insight, photos and more.

And don’t forget to visit our Constance Facebook page for more photos from the festival.

 

Two days until the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Excitement is building in Mauritius as the stage is set for our fabulous culinary celebration – the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2012.

Island chefs in kitchen at Bernard Loiseau festival 2011

Island chefs in kitchen at Bernard Loiseau festival 2011

This week-long festival starts on Sunday 25 March. We’ll be posting every day to bring you the latest action, insight and photos as our 6 island chefs train with their European Michelin* chefs in preparation for the final cook-off competition on Thursday 29th and prize-giving on Saturday 31 March. We’ll also be a running a fun competition and lots more.

As the Michelin* chefs and judges fly into the island, it reads like a who’s who of the most accomplished stars in the world of food and wine.

The judges are:

  • Christopher Barber – former personal chef to the Prince of Wales
  • Enrico Bernardo – world class sommelier
  • Patrick Bertron – protege of Bernard Loiseau and world class chef
  • Serge Vieira – world class chef
  • Dominique Loiseau – wife of Bernard Loiseau and founder of the festival
  • Claus Meyer – co-owner of Noma

The  Michelin* chefs are:

  • Fabrine Biasolo
  • Patrick Bittner
  • Jacques Decoret
  • Dominique Gauthier
  • Angela Hartnett
  • David Johansen

 The island chefs are:

  • Ankur Daru – Ephelia, Seychelles
  • Kamlesh Doorjean – Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius
  • Nuwan Hiettiarachchi – Halaveli, Maldives
  • Ravish Mukri – Moofushi, Maldives
  • Jayram Seenanum – Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius
  • Hildy Sinon – Lemuria, Seychelles

Find out more

 

Recipe: Fillet of red snapper roasted in a coconut chatini crust

Prepare this delicious fish dish using the coconut chatini recipe we posted last week, and serve with a warm dhal salad with spinach and tamarind vinaigrette.

Fillet of red snapper

Fillet of red snapper

Serves 4
Preparation time:
30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Soaking time for tamarind: 1 hour

For the fish:

  • 4 fillets of red snapper (also known as bourgeois fish)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 240g coconut chatini
  • salt and pepper

For the warm dhal salad with spinach:

  • 200g lentils/split peas
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1/4 dried red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 50g fresh coconut flesh
  • 100g fresh spinach leaves
  • salt and pepper

For the tamarind sauce:

  • 500g tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • sugar

Finishing touch:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 tbsp tamarind sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Make the tamarind sauce: in a bowl, pour lukewarm water over the tamarind paste and let it soak for 2 hours.
2. Crush the tamarind with your hand to remove seeds, then sieve it into a dish and weigh the resulting juice. Measure the same weight in sugar. Pour tamarind juice and sugar into a saucepan, add fennel seeds, star anise, dried chillies and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring and checking often so that the mixture does not scorch. Rub this sauce through a fine sieve and set aside.
3. Prepare the dhal and spinach salad: peel onion and garlic. Chop them. Shred the dried chilli. In a saucepan, fry the onion in the oil for 1 minute without colouring, add garlic, ginger, chilli, lentils and turmeric. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add 1 litre water. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. The lentils should be slightly crunchy. Drain and let cool.
4. Finely dice the coconut flesh. Tear off the central rib from the spinach leaves. Fry the lentils in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, add spinach and coconut. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
6. Season the fish fillets with salt and fry them in oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan, spread coconut chatini on top of each fillet and bake fish for 10 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, pour off the oil from the pan and replace it with the white wine. Reduce by half on a high heat, then remove from heat. Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved tamarind sauce, lemon juice and olive oil. Correct seasoning.
8. Put the warm dhal salad in a serving dish, top with the fish and pour some sauce around the salad.

Don’t miss our other recipes

We publish a recipe every Friday. Don’t miss other favourites from the Constance kitchens in our culinary section.