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Enriching interview with a Mauritian Chef

Through our sustainable journey and as a wish to support our Local Community, and portray the Mauritian culinary identity, Mautourco is pleased to share with you on World Food Day 2021, an enriching interview with a Mauritian Lady Chef, whose authenticity is conveyed through her dishes.

Mrs. Ajnisha Ungnoo, currently Chef de Cuisine at Domaine de Grand Baie, Mauritius started her career in 1995 at Le Touessrok hotel. During her career, she was lucky to have been involved in three grand openings of hotels, namely Labourdonnais Waterfront, Le Suffren Hotel, and Marina and Le Telfair. Winner of Concours des Meilleurs Ouvriers de Maurice 2018, she is a proud ambassador of the Mauritian cuisine.

How did your interest in cooking start? Can you share your passion with our readers?

I have been inspired since my very young age by helping my grandmothers and my mother in the kitchen.  I spent much of my time during my childhood in the kitchen, insisting on helping them in their everyday chores. Those three women have thus passed on to me their passion for cooking… since then, I became a Chef!

Did you have to undergo a specific training?

I did my training in “Cuisine & Patisserie” at the Hotel School of Mauritius. I then developed my skills through on-the-job trainings with renowned Chefs in 5-Star properties in Mauritius. I proudly won a Prize from the Concours des Meilleurs Ouvriers de Maurice in 2018.  This brought me to win an internship at the prominent Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France.  This was a great opportunity for me to fine-tune my skills in the art of gastronomic cuisine and will remain one of my greatest achievements.

What are the priority skills and qualities that one should have to get started in this discipline?

First and foremost, I would say Patience. For sure, it doesn’t happen overnight!  Besides one needs to withstand the very challenging working conditions. Above all, the key element is Passion – it does it all!

What would be your recommendations for a beginner who would discover the same enthusiasm about Cooking?

I would recommend in the first place to have the patience and dedication that Cooking unquestionably requires. On the other hand, there must be the will to constantly keep oneself updated with new trends in the industry. It’s very important.

Cooking is all about creativity, where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in everyday life, whenever I am at the marketplace, at home cooking for my family and friends, in my own garden and also through a lot of reading.

What is your greatest satisfaction when performing this activity?

I am over the moon when the dish is exactly as I expected it to be. I am also thrilled when the team is proud to present the dish to our Guests, knowing that we have created for them a memorable experience. Allowing our visitors to discover the Mauritian cuisine and transmit through it, the quintessence of our island, can be quite stimulating.

Mauritian cuisine is a blend of our culture and a testimony of our heritage. What is “The” Mauritian dish you would recommend to a visitor and why?

There are several special dishes inherited from our multi-cultural background, but my favourite remains the Mauritian curry. You may have travelled the world and sampled all curries from different regions, but the Mauritian curry is distinctive by its sweetness brought by our own local blend of spices.

Our warmest thanks to our friendly Chef for her time and for sharing her passion with us.  We can only wish that she keeps on enchanting our visitors’ taste buds with our local special treats.

Stay tuned for future interviews.

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