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.

Constance sommeliers trained by leading winemakers Thierry Germain and Stephane Derenoncourt

As part of our exciting Art de Vignes week our sommeliers had the wonderful opportunity of receiving training from Thierry Germain and Stephane Derenoncourt.

Sunset at North Beach

Sunset at North Beach

One of the world’s leading wine consultants and producers, Stephane Derenoncourt of Domaine de l’A was keen to talk about the benefits of Biodynamic wine producing techniques.

Thierry Germain, of the acclaimed domaine de Roches Neuves, is also an advocate of Biodynamic farming and explained to our sommeliers how he used his vineyard’s natural resources without pesticides and synthetic fertilisers to cultivate the highest quality grapes.

Wine menu

In honour of their visit Chef Aviraj collaborated with the sommelier team to create a menu based around the wines of Domaine des Roches Neuves.

  • Chef Aviraj aperitif selection – served with Samur, Bulles de Roche, 2010
  • Chilled red mullet fillet, green apple and citrus cigar – served with Saumur, L’insolite, 2011
  • Lightly smoked ‘bourgeois’ fish wrapped in Serrano ham, breadfruit scoop, glazed vegetable and red wine sauce – served with Saumur Champigny, La Marginale, 2010
  • Cherry surprise – served with Saumur Champigny, Terres Chaudes, 2011

More about Biodynamic wine growing

The term ‘Biodynamic’ refers to an agricultural movement defined by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. The goal of biodynamic wine growing is to get a vineyard to be as self-sustaining as possible, using waste products from one area to be used as fuel for another area. It’s a system that looks at the vineyard as a living organism itself from the soil to the sun, all working in harmony towards a well-balanced ecosystem that is self-sustaining.

Biodynamic wines and growing practices go beyond organic farming methods and focus on soil sustainability and viability via crop rotation, composting, non-chemical interventions for pest management and astronomical cycles to provide continual vineyard input. This emphasis often means the qualities of biodynamic wine offer more balance, clarity and depth of aromas and flavours.

Find out more about Thierry Germain and Domaine des Roches Neuves  and Stephane Derenoncourt and his philosophy of wine.

 

Legendary winemaker Jean Marc Boillot visits Ephélia for Art de Vignes week

To celebrate the visit of Jean Marc Boillot to the Seychelles, Cyann’s head chef Aviraj and the sommelier team at Constance Ephelia created a stunning wine menu based around his acclaimed Domaine de la Pommardière wines.

Wine tasting with Jean Marc Boillot at Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Staff wine tasting with Jean Marc Boillot

A favourite among the three-star restaurants of Europe, Jean Marc Boillot is unusual in Burgundy for having an equal number of celebrated red and white wines.

The menu at Cyann evening

  • Selection of Chef Aviraj canapés – served with Vin de Pays d’Oc, Domaine de la Truffiere, 2010 (white)
  • Duo of scallops and langoustine, celeriac gratin laced with curry spice, bisque emulsion and pomegranate reduction – served with Meursault, 2011
  • Stuffed chicken breast, leg confit ‘Pomme pont-neuf’ and morel mushroom, cooking jus and crispy pancetta – served with Pommard, 2010
  • Mandarin delice with honey, passion fruit compote, blood orange sorbet – served with Vin de Pays d’Oc, Domaine de la Truffière, 2011 (rosé)
Find out more

Enjoy these photos from the dinner at Cyann

Art de Vignes dinner at Cyann, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

Art de Vignes dinner at Cyann, Constance Ephelia, Seychelles

 

Dinner at Cyann, Constance Ephelia

At Constance Ephelia

 

Jean Marc Boillot dinner at Constance Ephelia

At Constance Ephelia

 

Jean Marc Boillot dinner at Constance Ephelia

At Constance Ephelia