Mauritius has become a very special place to me. Now on my fourth visit I can honestly say that this is paradise. My visits have always been about FCBL: three times on the jury and now here for the 10th Anniversary as an ambassador, supporter, blogger and journalist.
A unique cuisine
Mauritian cuisine is difficult to define – it has influence from Creole, Chinese, Indian, French, British and to be honest, world cuisine. Hence it is unique, and represents the joy, warmth and diversity of Mauritian culture.
I write this on the morning of the competition element of FCBL, where the Island Chefs and their European partners finalise and deliver their plates to the jury; the atmosphere is remarkably calm.
This year the European chefs are all 2 star Michelin, but their experience seems to make them calmer and they are taking the challenge in their stride. The French contingent of Serge Vieira, William Frachot and Alexandre Bourdas bring joy and laughter which spreads across all of the teams; it is competitive, but they are having fun and want each other to succeed.
These guys are at the top of their game, internationally famous and recognised as greats of the culinary world. The inspiration they bring to the Island chefs is phenomenal, life changing and very special. The Island chefs are starting their culinary journey, but even in the opinion of Dominique Loiseau, a Michelin star for a Mauritian chef is within their grasp.
Tough journey to the top
The journey to the top is arduous, and few make it; the dropout rate in the kitchen is alarming. Media has turned the kitchen into an imaginary world of celebrity, but despite the clear warnings, few young chefs can imagine how hard it is to succeed in the best kitchens of the world.
I have had a great opportunity to quiz the chefs on what it takes to make it to the top, and to summarise, this is it: determination, talent, personality and luck.
On Saturday, we will find out the ‘winners’, but the reality is that all who take part have already won. The European chefs will leave with a life changing experience, and their legacy will inspire the next generation and, with luck, a Michelin star will be achieved in Mauritius – hopefully a graduate of FCBL.
Get the inside track by following Christopher Barber on Twitter.
Follow all the news from this year’s Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau.
- 10 years of sharing at the Festival Culinaire Bernard Loiseau
- Michael Caines and Patrick Bertron: a unique friendship
- FCBL: A huge culinary and collaborative success.