Interview with Nadia Periasammy, sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Nadia Periasammy is a sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Here she tells us what drew her to working as a sommelier, and how women are finding more opportunities in this traditonally male role.

Nadia Periasammy

Nadia Periasammy

1. What made you decide to become a sommelier, and how has your career developed?

I have never been so proud of my job since I met wine. I first discovered wine when I was in South Africa for a wine package trip. I met Mr Razvan Macici, the cellar master, who takes care of his winery to improve the quality.

He made us visit and taste many different varieties of wine. I was very impressed by the diversity and fascinating job behind all this, and I decided then to develop my career in this role.

2. What does your job involve?

I’d say, good knowledge in general about wine, making our guests feel comfortable, giving advice so guests can choose the right wine, and knowing which food pairs well with which wine.

3. What qualities do you need to be a good sommelier?

  • Good palate.
  • An ability to relate to people about wine.
  • A good follow up about the service.
  • Skill of understanding the customer.

4. In your experience, does a woman bring different qualities to the role?

Table setting at Le Prince Maurice

Table setting at Le Prince Maurice

Women are stepping up and creating a new breed of sommelier with a feminine touch.

Of course, there are still some people who are reluctant to accept the advice of a female sommelier but others find the presence of a female sommelier refreshing, less forceful and more accommodating. Women truly want to delight their guest.

5. Are there more opportunities for female sommeliers these days – how are things changing?

Yes there are definitely more opportunities for female sommeliers these days. Barriers seem to be coming down as women step up into a more prominent position in the wine world. Nowadays, female sommeliers are involved in choosing a fun and creative wine list to suit the restaurant.

Things are changing, and most men are accepting of this - encouraging women to learn more about wine. Women are now becoming certified as master sommeliers, bringing something new and much appreciated.

6. What do you most love about your job?

What I love most about my job is the good atmosphere and team spirit at Le Prince Maurice – people are always there to help and advise when I need it. We have a very interesting wine list.

As we are on a small tropical island, Mauritius, we get the chance to travel all around the world through our wine list. At Constance, we have a diverse choice of wines from different countries.

7. Can you give us your top tip for a great wine to try in 2012?

  • Cru – Beaucaillou 2nd Classified
  • Growth in 1855
  • Owner – Borie Family
  • Vintage – 2001

This wine embodies the elegant, subtle mineral aromas of raspberry.

Pre-selections for Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2012

 

Island chefs in the kitchen at Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2011

Island chefs in the kitchen at Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2011

With just 4 months to go until the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival gets underway next March, chefs across our Constance resorts have been taking part in the final pre-selection event.

We can already tell that next year’s will be an exceptional festival, with one candidate taking part from each of our resorts.

In November, all candidates were tasked with preparing a starter and a main course, all using the same ingredients.

For the appetiser

  • Shrimps 21/25
  • Tomato
  • Olive oil
  • Bell pepper
  • Lemongrass

For the main course

  • Fillet of fresh red snapper
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut milk
  • Ginger
  • Lemon

How the judging works

Members of the jury at Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2011

Members of the jury at Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2011

We created a panel of 4 jury members for the tasting and one ‘technical’ jury member in the kitchen for each of our resorts. The rules and regulations, the timing, and the ingredients were the same.

The task was for each candidate to express his technique and creativity, and aim to impress the jury members.

Judging criteria

Jerôme Manifacier & Ashley Ramasawmy

Jerôme Manifacier & Ashley Ramasawmy at 2011 festival

Criteria for the kitchen jury:

  • Hygiene (Grooming, work flow, cleanliness, respect of hygiene standards) – out of 20 points
  • Respect of culinary techniques – out of 20 points
  • Organisation – out of 20 points
  • Fair-play attitude – out of 20 points
  • Timing – out of 20 points

 Criteria for the tasting panel:

  • Presentation, smell, colour, attractiveness of the dish - out of 5 points
  • Best use of produce - out of 5 points
  • Texture, right degree of cooking, temperature – out of 10 points
  • Creativity, originality - out of 10 points
  • Taste - out of 20 points

As the day got underway, there was much excitement and enthusiasm in our kitchens. The result was impressive, as you can see from the photos.

What happens next

All candidates are now anxiously awaiting the results.

Once each hotel knows who will be representing them at the festival, intensive training will start in order to be ready for the big day in March.

Watch this space for more information. And don’t miss our previous articles on:

Offer: Honeymoon special – 40% discount for spouse at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Deluxe suite at Belle Mare Plage

Luxurious deluxe suite

Honeymooners can enjoy a rare taste of paradise at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius with a fabulous 40% discount for the spouse.

Offer valid from 16 April – 20 October 2012, with a minimum 5 night stay in Prestige Room, Junior Suite or Deluxe Suite.

Package includes:

  • daily breakfast and dinner
  • bottle of wine and canapés in room
  • flower petals and candles in room and bathroom
  • seafood candlelit dinner and photo souvenir
  • departure gift in room.

Your stay should not be more than 9 months after the day of your wedding.

See the Constance Hotels Experience website for full details, and terms and conditions.

Interview with Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Ashok Bhugoo is our Resident Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Recently promoted, he gives an insight into developing your career in the luxury hotel industry.

Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

Ashok Bhugoo, Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

Tell us how you got into the hotel industry?

I joined the hotel industry by mere coincidence. I’d just finished school, when one of my cousins told me about a hotel in Mauritius that was starting a training course.

At the time I had no idea how hotels worked. During the training, some of us were asked to help the restaurant during breakfast service. My job was to give the guests their plates as they came into the breakfast buffet. It was my first encounter with guests at a hotel, and I really enjoyed talking to them.

I was so impressed by this first experience of guest contact – I felt like I’d found my world, and this was where I wanted to grow.

How has your career progressed through the years?

Constance Le Prince Maurice

Constance Le Prince Maurice

After working as a trainee restaurant and room service waiter for 18 months, I tried different roles including Waiter, Head Barman, and Food and Beverage Manager.

In 2002, I joined Le Prince Maurice as Food and Beverage Manager before being promoted to Executive Assistant Manager in 2007. Since September 2011, I’ve been working in my new role as Resident Manager.

Tell us about your latest job as Resident Manager at Le Prince Maurice

My role is to assist the General Manager in the day-to-day operations of the hotel. I assist all the heads of departments and give them full support.

I help to ensure our guests needs are met, and that our quality service is maintained at all times. Personal service is very important at Constance hotels, and each guest is treated as an individual.  

What qualities does someone need to make it to management level in this industry?

I’d say the main qualities are self-motivation, passion for new challenges, dedication, good customer service and leadership skills, an eye for detail, being an excellent team player, and taking a neutral stance when resolving conflict.

How are guests’ expectations changing the way services are delivered?

Guests on the beach

Guests on the beach

Constance Le Prince Maurice has a high rate of repeat guests.  Each guest expects to be treated as a unique person, and we ensure that their expectations are met and exceeded. 

We focus on the small touches – the detail – at the right time. We really look after each guest from the time they walk into our hotel until they leave. This princely touch is one the main reasons guests choose to come back here.

You must have travelled a lot with your job – where would you most like to go in the future?

My favourite place is Monaco but I’d like to visit Singapore, Thailand, Greece and New York. I also feel great spending time at home in Quatre Bornes with my family – they are my driving force.

Ayurvedic massage at Constance Le Prince Maurice

At Constance Le Prince Maurice we offer some wonderful Ayurvedic treatments, to help restore equilibrium to your mind, body and spirit.

Spa de Constance treatment room

Spa de Constance treatment room

Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India that aims to prevent illness. It emphasises re-establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise and body cleansing.

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of 5 elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by 3 doshas, or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

The three doshas

When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas.

  • Vata relates to air and ether elements. Vata is seen as the force that directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination.
  • Kapha relates to water and earth elements. Kapha is responsible for growth and protection - the cerebral-spinal fluid that protects the brain and spinal column are examples of Kapha.
  • Pitta relates to fire and water elements. Pitta governs metabolism – the transformation of foods into nutrients, as well in the organ and tissue systems.

Treatments at Le Prince Maurice

Massage oils used at Spa de Constance

Massage oils

If you’re heading to Le Prince Maurice, visit our spa and indulge your senses with one of these Ayurvedic treatments:

Shirodhara massage

Warm, herbalised sesame oil is dripped in a stream onto the forehead to profoundly relax the nervous system and balance the prana vata – the dosha that exerts control over the brain.

Shirobhyanga massage

A head and scalp massage, using warm oil, to help relieve tension.

Abhyanga massage

This four hands massage tones and relieves tension so you can regain energy and vitality.

If you want to know more this resort, read our article – Spotlight: Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. 

 

 

A day in the life of a spa trainer

Ajay Kishtoo, spa trainer, Le Prince Maurice

Ajay Kishtoo

Ajay Kishtoo’s working day as a spa trainer is varied and exciting. Here’s a look at a typical day for Ajay at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius.

I wake up at 6am and have a light breakfast. I have to be ready to catch the hotel bus by 7am. Once I arrive at the hotel, I check the schedule for the day, help the therapists with the set up and organise training with the staff.

Launching a new treatment

Today, I’ve got a long day ahead of me as we’re finalising the last assessment for a new treatment we’ll be offering – Fusion Massage. Fusion full body massage is inspired by occidental and oriental massages like Thai, shiatsu and Swedish.

The treatment launches tomorrow, and we have to make sure that all our therapists understand the benefits of the treatment and are able to use the different movements confidently.  

Massage at Spa de Constance

Massage at Spa de Constance

Before we launch a new treatment, our therapists and receptionists experience the massage themselves so they really understand what they’re selling.

My inspiration

It was my mother who inspired me to get into this type of work. She has a real gift for healing people who suffer from back pain. She’s never trained formally but she’s helped so many people during her life.

Seeing my mother doing something that makes her so happy has inspired me and my brothers. We used to pretend to do massage on each other. Little did we know that later in life we’d develop a real passion for our work as therapists. Together, we’ve created a school for youngsters who want to train in this type of work.

What I really love about my job

What I really love about my job is the notion that I’m sharing my knowledge with people but also learning from others. All therapists have slightly different techniques and views, and it’s good to take these on board and to share our thoughts with each other.

I enjoy every moment of my day in the spa – particularly the sharing, and seeing the satisfaction of a client after their treatment.