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Face to Face With
Mougam Pareatumbee (Mootoosamy)
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Home town, country: couvent lorette street, curepipe, Mauritius
Current position: Managing Director/ Chef, Hotel catering Training centre Ltd
Q1.Give us a brief history of your career and what made you choose to be a chef.
Started as Dishwasher at Saint Geran Hotel 31st dec 1977- culinary course at Kenya Utalii College - exec chef at Sun International Galawa Beach - Comores - open my training institution to look after academically weak students where I trained 100s to join hotel industry around the world.One of the founder member of Mauritius chefs association and Secretary from 1999 to 2009.Started weekly TV cooking shows and participate fully in all culinary happenings to make each of them covered by press Now everyweek there is some chefs in the press.
Organised various national culinary competitions and chef parade in Mauritius and participated in international judging of culinary competitions in Thailand, Singapore -India , and Srilanka etc .
Disciple of Escoffier , member of club Toques blanches international, honorary member Indian federation of culinary Associations and South African Chefs Association.
Still running the training school for underpriviledged children. Opened a restaurant 70 seats in central flacq , Mauritius to upgrade standards. Brought in the island Asian chefs from India, Thailand , Singapore to introduce asian cuisine and provided chefs , ingredients and training in many hotels . Started Ayurvedic cuisine and Now Opening a 30 seats restaurant to cater for speciality cuisine including ayurveda with an in house ayurvedic doctor.Planning to open Karma management centre with food , Ayurveda and clearing of past frustrations within the mind body and cultivating harmony . In short need to create and develop spiritual cuisine is my objective now.
Q2.Who was the person that was most influential in your career?
Bill Gallagher- and Edwin Brown
Bill Gallagher - when I was 16 yrs old starting my career brought in a lot of fine culinary works or exhibition from S . Africa to Mauritius for a national culinary competition. He made me love the culinary art without knowing.
Edwin Brown was the one writing to me when i wanted to join culinary school in USA but never made it - he sent me all documents which I went through but could not afford the price. I managed with the blessings of all my trainers colleagues and chefs to stay in the profession until I met Edwin Brown -(Father) in 2002 for the first time during WACS congress. I thank also Chef Murday Gopalsamy from Mauritius , Barry Andrews and Paul Jones for supporting and guiding me accordingly but firmly.Real life situations and tough challenges .
Q3.What is your culinary philosophy and has it changed throughout your career and why?
Yes the basis is love in what i do and do what I love - and do it 100% Cooking needs to have an effect on mind -instinctive - intellectual and superconscious- Effect of what we eat is not only proteins- and nutrition but also the level of thoughts - origin of thoughts from lower to higher consciousness. Clearing of the habits which have proved to be those we have but we are not very happy with - we need to cook to be efficient on the nervous system vibration before it becomes a thought positive or negative. Sattvic foods need to be developped.
Q4.In your opinion, what are the qualities that make a successful chef?
Hard work , Planning perseverance and good examplary leaders who can be models for youngsters not only by words but by examples.Examples like Bill Gallagher- Edwin Brown and many more whom we need to pay respect.Proud ones discourage youths and end up wasting a lot of investment because of many youths leave the profession cause of bad examples.
Q5.The eternal question: apprenticeship vs schooling. Your take on that and why?
The syllabus - copying from all other countries like Usa - Swiss to superpose in countries like Mauritius and any other developing country is a headache- we need to keep the basic technics and adapt according to each country's cultures . Not everything done in the successful developed countries are the best for our countries. The price of the ingredients along with foreign currency exchange is a killer. Ingredients and spices and even technics are yet to be researched and developed for future chefs. Example are Indian Cuisine and Asian cuisine which are far more difficult with so many ingredients .For my school I had the permission from Mr Pakirsingh in Singapore - Utalii in Kenya established by Lausanne and French classical cuisine - I worked all and created my own recipes using the existing technics - each country is different - and the education level - cultures and habits daily activities need to be considered on a one to one basis .I believe in taking challenges to start something that no one dares to touch and I will go through and make it work even if the whole world against it I will make it happen when I take it. This is What happened with my small school in Mauritius .
Q6.What was the moment you are most proud of in your career?
When, all the academically weak children graduated from my small school ,who were always neglected by all and the parents were striving to teach them a career and not to get into alcohol and drugs, The children graduated in the presence of all professionals , press , four ministers and most important their parents .The second time when MCA( mauritius chefs Association) organised a culinary competition with the Indian high commissioner to celebrate international chefs day - I complained that the politicians and the govt were never present. This time the high commissioner along with the Prime minister and all the govt and opposition of the island visited our chefs hard work - we were all proud as the prime minister was very happy and asked many questions beause he was amazed to see what was done by our chefs.
Q7.What is your weakness that proved to be your strength in the course of your career?
a blend of spiritual will from spiritual life, my family and my Guru along with my non accepting excuses of why objectives and standard cannot be reached - I do not accept excuses however i will not do anything whatever it costs if someone's feelings is hurt on the way .Everything must be done in harmony .
Q8.What would you like to be remembered for?
Not necessary for me but as for my school everyone thought I was dreaming - yes it was a dream i had to do for others what my trainers and teachers did for me - always thinking what i can do for others to make their life easier and soften their troubles so they can have a harmonious family like mine.
Q9.Is there anything you would not eat or try?
Im vegetarian as a hindu who accepts and respects all other religion and everyone as they are and who can eat what they like.
Q10.What are you dreams and goals that are yet to be accomplished?
Karma management centre - develop spiritual cuisine with love and establish family home evening in each family around good food cooked with love . I have a lot to share but not given opportunity yet so i stay quiet and share it with my family and staffs.
Q11.What is the question you would like to add to this interview and why? And what is your answer to that question?
In whatever organisations we always discuss and find all strategies and mission statements etc ,Wacs and its directors are doing a wonderful job - others need to be responsive supportive and show appreciations . While setting up all main objectives lets check how many percentage is really touching the maximum people on daily life base level for each of us to put into practice - only then we can change in the right direction.The only part that will benefit each and everyone of us in any organisation is the part that we can put into practice - the rest is just simply in the forgotten basket . lets touch lives of those who really need help this will make a difference even if they do not appreciate at least they will join and stay in the profession as they have no other ropes to earn them a living .Chefs profession must be rethought and updated. God bless you all We can make it .
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