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Afrika Food In The Kitchen Mauritius Travel 4. August 2016

„In The Kitchen“ mit Mooroogun Coopen

Wer Mauritius als die Insel des guten Geschmacks und der besten Getränke beschreibt, behält recht: Der Rum duftet dort nach Zimt oder Rosmarin, frisch aufgebrühter Tee aromatisiert die Lobbys der Sterne Häuser. Hinzu kommt eine breite Vielfalt an Früchten, Fisch, Fleisch und feinen Gewürzen. Kein Wunder, dass die Küche von Mauritius weltweit mit seinen internationalen Köstlichkeiten überzeugt. Kaum irgendwo auf der Welt dürfte die Palette an indischen, kreolischen, chinesischen und französischen Speisen größer sein als auf Mauritius. Vor allem in Spitzenrestaurants und Luxushotels kreieren die Köche dreier Kontinente Menüs, die eine Mischung aus Kunst und Essen darstellen. Sowohl für das Auge als auch für den Gaumen. Wir haben den Besten der besten Köche auf Mauritius, Mr. Mooroogun Coopen (Le Canonnier) getroffen und Ihm ein paar Fragen für das neue Format auf Blog Bohème „In The Kitchen“ gestellt. Zum Beispiel, ob die Arbeit in der Küche wirklich so brutal ist, wie viele sagen oder wie wichtig die Zutaten für die Zubereitung eines Gerichts sind? And here we go:

What is the typical „Mauritian cuisine?“

Mauritius is a paradise for the plate. It has the best to offer in terms of delicacies. The typical Mauritian cuisine reflects the ethnic diversity of the island. Gastronomes will find a variety of flavours and aromas inherited from the different migrations through its history; Indian curries, Creole rougailles, Muslim bryanis, French delicate dishes, Chinese dim summand sweet & sour pork, English egg, and so on.

To discover the typical Mauritian cuisine, I recommend a gourmet journey at Port-Louis, the heart of our local life and traditions, which offers food scenes of our palettes of cultures.

Some of our typical foods are: The curry: prepared with various bases such as beef, chicken, fish, octopus or even prawns with the incorporation of complex combinations of spices and herbs. Vindaye- fish or vegetables cooked with mustard, garlic, ginger, turmeric and onion. Briyani (briani) – rice dish made with beef, chicken, fish, mutton or vegetables (as well as yoghurt, saffron and species). Reversed Bowl: comprises of a chop suey sauce accompanied with stirred vegetables, chicken, prawns and chinese sweet sausages topped with an egg. Dim sum: these are dumplings made from fish, prawns, or christophina. Noodles: usually prepared in two forms in Mauritius. Fried – stir with chicken or beef and vegetables or boiled – accompanied with various sauces or preparations. Dried Sea Products – dries octopuses, fishes and prawns commonly used in the Mauritian cuisine in dishes like “rougailles” or chutneys. Dholl Puri: derived from Indian flatbread, paratha. The pancake-style flatbread is stuffed with cooked yellow split peas which have been blended and seasoned. Roti: flat Indian bread usually served with various curries, chutneys and pickles just like the dhollpuri. Fritters such as chilli cakes (balls of yellow splitted peas and chilli), taro cakes (made of grated taro and sugar), fried bread cakes, sweet potato cakes, eggplant fried cakes, potato fried cakes and samoussas (Triangular shaped cakes stuffed with potato curry and more). Tropical fruits: pineapples, lychees, coconut, mangoes, jamblon, papaya, guavas, water melonand other unusual exotic fruits; enjoy those tropical fruits solely or in fruits salad.

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Alain Ducasse once said: „Cooking is like riding a bike.“ Basically it is like a routine. In your opinion, what is the most important thing to become a world class chef? Expertise, creativity or the ingredients?

Becoming a world class chef is reserved to those that have more than whimsy and cooking skills. Since the competition in the industry is truly fierce, to gain world class recognition requires talent, passion, creativity, innovation, leadership skills and constantly be in touch with the culinary new trends. A great chef is also distinguished by his commitment to quality. He seeks out the finest ingredients and uses the best techniques to deliver the best product possible.

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Food is simply amazing. What is your favorite dish?

My favourite dish is fish curry with eggplant. This recipe is shared during many family dinners in Mauritius. In true fashion it is eaten with chutneys, salad, faratas/rice and pickles. The fish must be fresh to achieve best results.

Since I have started to get more into culinary I constantly bump into the term „signature dish“, basically the business card of chefs. What is your personal signature dish?

My signature dishes are the fusion of local and international cuisines. My goal is to expand people’s vision about food and make them experience it as an art. One of my special dish creation is Babonne filet with fricassee pumpkin, leafy vegetable etouffe and river shrimp rougaille.

There is a rumour that working in the food scene is quite brutal? What’s your opinion about that?

The food industry is highly competitive. To expect achieving professional success in the field of culinary arts require some qualities that a chef must have. Before stepping into the culinary art career, one need to make sure that he is truly passionate about working as a chef cause passion is the foundation stone for becoming a great chef. Creative and innovative skills play an important role in establishing yourself as a great chef in the cooking industry. One needs to read and stay in touch with the trends. It’s all about learning, discovering and improving. A chef will sometimes face criticism and he has to be able to handle it with equanimity, analyze the feedback and take appropriate action on it.

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Germany has countless star chefs. Which one is your favorite?

Chef Thomas Gugler. I had the privilege to meet him several times. We invited him in Mauritius on July 2014 to present a Culinary Judge Seminar together with Chef Gert Klotzke. They were also the guests of honour of the Young Chefs Challenge 2014 organised by the Mauritius Chefs Association.

Which is the most essential kitchen ware you can’t live without?

My most essential kitchen ware is the sous vide (under vacuum) machine. Almost anything can be sous vide; beef, chicken, fish, vegetables. It allows the sous vide cooking which is simple, convenient, and produces professional quality results every time.

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You probably spend most of your time in the kitchen. What do you do apart from being a chef?

When I am not being a Chef, I derive great pleasure from fishing and gardening. They make you learn about patience, relaxing, and enjoying nature. Fishing is awesome for a Saturday afternoon. Sitting in nice weather, throw some bait out then sit, looking at the glistening waters. I am also a self taught gardener. In front of my house, there is a small plot of land which I have been using as a garden. I grow flowers and some vegetables of the season on this plot. I indulge in this hobby in the evening after I return from work or during my off day.

Mauritius
Mauritius 2016 © Michael André Ankermüller

How do you find inspiration for your dishes?

Cooking is very much done from the heart, and it’s an art form that involves the free-flowing of creativity. I find my muse in the local food. Mauritius is very rich in local products. I also find inspiration across the food landscape: media, visiting producers, brands, and attending international culinary events such as Sirha France and Food Asia Singapore.

What is your favorite spice? Is there a spice that changes every dish?

My favourite spice is pepper. The humble spice holds more benefits than you’d imagine. It adds a flavour of its own to dishes, as well as enhancing the taste of other ingredients. It can be used whole or ground to varying degrees of fineness.

Le Canonnier Hotel Mauritius
Le Canonnier Hotel Mauritius 2016 © Michael André Ankermüller

Imagining to have friends over for dinner. Can you recommend a meal which doesn’t take much preparation time and is also makeable for non experts?

To impress your guests, I recommend sliced marlin with lettuce salad and avocado.

What’s your opinion on fast food? Are there times when you are too lazy to cook something for yourself?

For people who lead active life, fast food saves time and it is not too expensive. When a person does not have enough time for cooking it is very convenient to buy it already made. Fast food is usually high in fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium, but eating fast food every once in a while is not going to cause problems. All food can fit into a healthy meal plan if you learn how to balance it. However, if you eat too much fast food over a long period of time, it can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. I rarely eat fast food. When I am too tired or do not have much time, I prefer a quickly made fricassee corn beef.

How important are ingredients to make a perfect dish?

Cooking is a science. Every ingredient and measurement has a specific role. You need to pay careful attention while mixing the ingredients. A chef must learn the make-up of ingredients, where they come from, how they are made or processed, and how to use them in recipes. Knowing their properties give a better idea of how to effectively adjust your recipes so you can truly make your recipes one-of-a-kind. When it comes to taste, fresh ingredients are always better when compared to processed ingredients. Whether it is fresh meat, fish, herbs, vegetables and fruits, the flavor is the best.

Which cuisine is your favorite?

I have a passion for the Mauritian cuisine, with its variety of flavors and aromas. The products used in the Mauritian cuisine are both local and imported. The cuisine of Mauritius is a testament to the influences of the culinary traditions of France, Africa, India and China which are the best-known and appreciated cuisines in the world. All those sources have been drawn upon to create a fusion style of cooking. It is said that a typical day in Mauritius starts with a Continental breakfast, continues with a Chinese lunch, and ends with an Indian dinner along with some French wine.

Dieser Beitrag ist im Rahmen der #MyMauritius Kampagne in Kooperation mit Mauritius TourismusAHRIMAir MauritiusCreate und iambassador entstanden. Der vorliegende Beitrag spiegelt die persönliche Meinung des Autors wieder.

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