Norwegian TV-personality of the year Eyvind Hellstrøm in Mauritius

At last week’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau in Mauritius we caught up with Eyvind Hellstrøm, Norwegian TV-personality of the year in 2013, former 2 Michelin star chef, author of dozens of cook books and member of the Bocus d’Or jury since 1993. Interview by Peter Bojesen of Luxury Aficionados.

Eyvind Hellstrøm

Eyvind Hellstrøm

This is the second year in a row that Eyvind has sat on the jury of the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau. I ask him to compare this year’s performance of the chefs to that of 2013. ‘Difficult to say – but maybe the level was marginally higher this year, he answers. ‘Surprisingly, all the vegetarian starters looked almost identical this year, colourful and beautifully presented – almost as if the chefs had copied each other… Luckily, they did not taste the same,’ the charismatic 66-year old Norwegian adds with a smile.

Eyvind tells me that the jury was in agreement regarding the outcome of the competition. ‘One of the very interesting features about the Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau is the fact that the jury members come from different cultural backgrounds. A Chinese food critic, two 3-Michelin star chefs, one being Spanish but working in Germany, the other French, Mme Loiseau with her scientific background in microbiology and biochemistry apart from being the reference in French “art de vivre” – and myself, representing the Nordic cuisine. This means that our perspectives in regards to culinary matters often differ, leading to interesting and healthy discussions. When it comes to the actual voting, I see that the French often are somewhat tougher on the candidates than the rest of us, which may be due to the long standing tradition of a strict hierarchy in the kitchens of la Haute Cuisine Française.’

Once again, Eyvind Hellstrøm is impressed by the smooth running of the event. ‘Like last year, the organisation of the Festival – both professionally as well as socially – has been close to perfect,’ he says, ‘and the wonderful atmosphere between the 12 chefs is really quite unique. On a personal level, I have had the pleasure of meeting two new very interesting personalities on the jury, Juan Amador Perez from Spain and Bob Miao from China. So it is not only the chefs taking part in the actual competition who get to establish new, international friendships – it is certainly also an added benefit to the members of the jury.’

Following judging, Eyvind was heading back to Copenhagen for the filming of next season’s edition of Master Chef Norway. ‘Until the end of June, I have to be in Copenhagen every Monday and Thursday to shoot the TV-show, which will mean a lot of travelling back and forth from my home in Oslo,’ he says. But he must be doing something right, as Eyvind recently has been nominated Best Norwegian TV-presenter of the year – an award he won in 2012 as well as in 2013.

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Gourmets gather in Mauritius to judge Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau

Some of the world’s most renowned chefs and gourmets make up this year’s judging panel, responsible for choosing which team will win the 2013 Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau.

Dominique Loiseau

Dominique Loiseau

Before the festival gets underway on Monday 18 March, here’s a look at the highly qualified team of judges.

 

Dominique Loiseau, CEO of the Relais Bernard Loiseau and Vice President of Relais & Châteaux, France

Presiding over the Culinary Festival for the eighth year, Loiseau is a culinary giant. The restaurant at her famous Relais & Châteaux in Burgundy holds 3 Michelin stars.

With a range of further restaurants inFrance, including the innovative Loiseau de Vignes in Burgundy which offers each of the high-class wines on its wine list by the glass, Loiseau is an expert in all aspects of gastronomy.

In 2008 she was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Visit the Bernard Loiseau website.

 

 

Patrick Bertron of Relais Bernard Loiseau, France

Tutored under the culinary genius and inspiration of Bernard Loiseau, Patrick Bertron has since the great chef’s death introduced his own creative flare to the 3 star menu at the Relais.

A master of creating traditional French cuisine in a refined, elegant way, Bertron’s reputation is unsurpassed.

Visit the Le Relais Bernard Loiseau website.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Belle Mare Plage, location for the Culinary Festival

 

Nick Nairn, Celebrity Chef, UK

A self-taught cook Nairn opened his first restaurant in 1986 and was awarded his first Michelin star 5 years later. He was the youngest Scottish cook ever to receive the honour.

Over the following years Nairn opened his eponymous restaurant in Glasgow as well as cooking schools in Port of Menteith and Aberdeen.

He also works as a consultant for several restaurants.

In his position as chef, teacher, consultant, culinary writer and broadcaster Nairn is the perfect choice for a judge on the Festival panel.

Visit Nick Nairn’s website, and follow him on Twitter – @NickNairn including during the festival, #CFBL13.

 

Pavel Maurer, Czech gourmet

Founder and Publisher of the highly acclaimed Maurer’s selection Grand Restaurants, Pavel Maurer is no stranger to judging good food.

Maurer is also the founder of the famous Prague Food Festival in which people can taste food cooked by the best restaurants in the city at a fraction of the usual price.

 

Eyvind Hellstrøm, Chef and frequent judge of the Bocuse d’Or, Norway

Having headed up his own 2 star kitchen at the Bagatelle in Oslow, Hellstrøm knows the pressure of working in a high-class kitchen.

As a judge and now president of the prestigious Bocus d’Or Europe culinary award he is also extremely well placed to decide the best menu put forward in the competition.

 

Patricia Broehm, Editor and Chief of Gault & Millau magazine, Germany

Acclaimed food, wine and travel writer Patricia Broehm has travelled the globe eating in some of the world’s most elite restaurants and writing about international cuisines.

Her knowledge of fine dining will make her an invaluable judge.

 

Find out more

Read more about this year’s Culinary Festival Bernard Loiseau 2013.