Winning the Mauritius achievers award
We’re happy to report that Selina Periampillai of Taste Mauritius – and regular contributor to the Air Mauritius blog – was a recent winner at the Mauritian Achievers Awards in the UK. Here Selina tells us more about her work and what it meant to her to be nominated…
I recently received an email entitled ‘MAA Nominee’ and was ecstatic to read I’d been nominated for the Mauritian Achievers Award 2015, for Outstanding Achievement in the Restaurant/Caterers category. I felt honoured and genuinely humbled to be recognised in the Mauritian community for the work I’ve done to help put Mauritian cuisine on the map in London.
For me it all started four years ago, after years of watching my mum and dad cook at home in the kitchen. This food is amazing, I thought to myself; these childhood dishes of curries, rougailles, pudine mais, dhal and gateaux piment to name a few. It made me realise there was nowhere in London you could get really fresh, home cooked Mauritius cuisine as though you were eating at a family home – nowhere you could find a truly authentic taste of the island. This is what I wanted to offer people and what drove me to start up my Taste Mauritius (previously known as Yummy Choo) journey.
Mauritian banquets, London style
At about the same time, a handful of supperclubs (social dining in people’s homes) had begun to emerge on the London scene – now there are so many I can’t keep up! But I decided to launch a Mauritian supperclub in my house, feeding up to 12 diners, designed to be a family-style banquet of Mauritian dishes for guests to try.
Obviously I was very nervous to begin with, particularly about having strangers in my house, being an entertaining host and making sure the food was spot on. For honest feedback, I trial-tested a few nights on family and friends first, and then a whole dinner for bloggers I’d met since I started blogging about recipes.
I’ve now hosted supperclubs at my home in Croydon, London for over three years, which led to doing pop-ups in restaurants, cafés and well-known establishments like The National Café and Traders Vic on Park Lane, where I also arranged live sega dancing performances to heighten the cultural experience for guests. All this experience helped to expand my social and foodie contacts into a network of people I enjoy working with, and led to collaborations with other chefs. I also tried my hand at Mauritan-style street food and market stalls.
I’ve been teaching Mauritian street food and home cooking classes in central London for over a year now. I continue to blog for magazines, online publications and my own website, and I’m creating a box of treasured recipes inspired by generations of family dishes with my own unique twist on Mauritian flavours.
It’s important to keep progressing and adapting with trends and change in the food world. I don’t think I’ll ever stop cooking up dishes in my kitchen, meeting fellow food lovers and continuing to get out the message about Mauritian cuisine and culture. It’s my driving passion!
Read more from Selina on the Air Mauritius blog, including her take on fusion cuisine, a recipe for Mauritian goat curry and an exploration of the cuisine of Réunion.
If you’re inspired to book your own food-focused visit to Mauritius, head to Air Mauritius Holidays for a tailor-made trip. And don’t forget to keep in touch with us via Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and deals.