“We are incredibly fortunate to have abundant natural resources in Bel Ombre, some of the finest products in the country, grown thanks to unparalleled know-how,” says Axelle Mazery, Director of Communications for Rogers Hospitality. Does she force the line to the gallery? A little, no doubt, but not without reason. The average tourist, including Reunionians, loves the sister island for its beaches, but the south offers landscapes and a more pronounced “wild” side, a bit like home. As such, Bel Ombre is truly privileged. See the national park, surrounded by the private domain of more than 1,500 hectares where the deer play, and the gardens supervised by Denis Mootegoo for the company Agrïa, the agricultural food-producing arm of the Rogers Group.
In addition to this natural wealth, Heritage Resorts is the first to offer carbon neutral stays, according to Raoul Maurel. A commitment called “Now for Tomorrow” started after the reopening of the borders post covid. How the heck do they make up for international flights, including the star chef present at home?
Several commitments were made: consolidate circular and integrated development, promote sustainable consumption, protect biodiversity (well, in Mauritius, what little remains), promote Mauritian culture and heritage and support the surrounding communities through impulsive development. All this is very good, but concretely, what gives?
preferred local production
Incidentally, Heritage followed the general trend, a rare benefit of Covid, that wanted everyone to take a closer look at what they have at home, before grazing the supposedly greener weed coming from others. “As of January this year, all fruits, vegetables, seafood, poultry and meat consumed in the establishments come from Mauritian farmers and producers or from regional partners in the Indian Ocean. says Axelle Mazery. And the efforts are paying off. 98% local suppliers. 100% locally sourced poultry, 75% seafood, 62% meat, 95% vegetables and 80% fruit. With or without pesticides? Agréa’s production manager talks about sustainable agriculture, while evoking the common concerns of farmers around the world about their lettuce woes.
And revised imports
Once Mauritius’ products had found their place, it was necessary to determine the destination of imports. Thus, Wagyu beef from Australia will be replaced by its cousin from South Africa, resulting from a reasoned breeding. Mussels from Mauritius will replace those from New Zealand, tuna will replace salmon, ombrina will ask the untraceable dolphin from Asia to get out of there so it can start, crab will come from Mozambique and lobster too, wild, instead of the one from Gulf farms. Vanilla and chocolate will come from Madagascar. And Reunion? In addition to tourists, we do not see well. Perhaps know-how, like what Julien Leveneur, our talented pastry chef Péi, French dessert champion 2022, will provide at Telfair next Sunday.
Waste and recycling
In terms of surplus and waste management, Heritage also shows some results. Axelle Mazery connects the numbers. “We aim to recycle 75% of our waste by the end of the year”… tomorrow, so to speak. “We intend to develop an applied approach to reduce food waste in hotels, while engaging in a pilot project in collaboration with “The Pledge of food waste” label, emphasizing in the process that hotels have been certified as a “green key”. The levers: serve the right amount of food, work on compost and collaborate with Foodwise to give surplus to those in need. Axelle Mazery admits that these compromises “are not easy, especially in a complicated economic context”. When the Middle Kingdom goes to Taiwan to see if it’s there and fights with Uncle Sam, it’s not going to get better.
So far, the general approval in the room that doesn’t say a word. But when the “head of communication” says that Heritage Resorts bottles its water (with recyclable containers) which helps to avoid 30 tons of plastic since the beginning of the project, it’s only if the assistance doesn’t share the hello! And we with. Room hygiene products are not forgotten: 95% are made with natural substances.
Clifford Pierre-Louis, manager of the Heritage Awali hotel, next door to Telfair, gives a brief history of the event, thanking in passing the Escoffier Institute of Mauritius who put their two cents into the specifications, and provided the necessary training to understand what sustainable gastronomy was. . A “core team” of all the estate’s chefs and directors was created. The menus were revised to be designed locally and regionally, the recipes revisited, always with the aim of satisfying the customer. Customer who also needs to be educated on the… flexitarian diet.
Does that word mean anything to you? Basically, it is about diversifying the diet, favoring plants and limiting fish and meat. Ask your (great) grandmother who struggled post-war, she was unconsciously flexitarian at best, unconsciously vegan more often.
“Sustainable cuisine is innovative, fresh, controlled, instinctive, professional, respectful of the traditions of the countries, in connection with local productions, intelligent and without barriers, responsible and corresponds to the right nutritional needs of people” concludes Clifford Pierre-Louis in a lyrical flight. Speaking of nutritional needs, by the way, we have the meter in reserve. Let’s talk tonight at Le Palmier, one of Telfair’s restaurants.
Here is what temporarily piques the beaks of skeptics and suspects about the real commitment of the Rogers Group and its Heritage and Agréa entities to leading the fight for “sustainable gastronomy”. All these people seemed to us sincere and involved, they could serve as an example for some of us, despite the progress still to be made. It’s just the first year. Time will tell if the momentum continues. So, it seems to us, it would be interesting to include, in one way or another, in this week that is certainly already busy, children and adolescents from neighboring districts, who represent the future and are, as such, the priority receptacles of lessons on sustainable development, the culture of taste, cooking with fresh and healthy products, etc. Sustainable gastronomy starts in the canteen. So live this event, definitely.