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 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 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
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.
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.
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
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