Monday, 28 October 2019

Hotel Updates: Kempinski Seychelles Resort

Kempinski Seychelles Resort hosts Creole Cultural Exchange, together with Pristine Seychelles

 Last Saturday, Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare, together with Pristine Seychelles – a campaign to promote and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Seychelles – co-hosted their first-ever Creole cultural exchange workshop to coincide with celebrations taking place in Seychelles, for the 2019 Kreol Festival. This one-of-a-kind event invited both hotel guests and members of the community to attend a morning of interactive workshops, designed to impart authentic Creole traditions around cooking and handicrafts to workshop participants.

Pristine Seychelles invited a trio of local artisans to teach participants how to create traditional toys and household utensils, using coconut leaves and recycled materials. They explained the significance of natural materials in Seychellois households and encouraged guests to draw inspiration from the unique biodiversity seen beside the luxury hotel’s private lagoon, where the workshops took place.

Attendees included a group of children, aged 10 to 14 years old, from a local children’s home and their teachers. “It was wonderful to attend an event geared towards the older children,” said Janine Lawen, one of the teachers from the children’s home. “We receive a lot of support and engagement from the community, but so often it is directed at our youngest residents. We really appreciate that something special has been arranged for our older children, to remind them that they are also a part of the community and should feel proud of their Seychellois heritage.” The children interacted with hotel guests from across the globe and got to share their experiences with people they might otherwise never have spoken with.

Following the arts and crafts lessons, the attendees were divided into three sub-groups for a Creole cooking lesson, led by Kempinski’s top chefs in the hotel kitchen. Each group was kitted out in full chef’s attire and tasked with preparing a starter (snake gourd salad), main course (fish curry) and dessert (coconut ice-cream) using local ingredients and time-honoured recipes. The group then reunited to share the meal they had prepared, at a friendly, family-style lunch.

“Creole cuisine is a vibrant combination of cultural influences from all over the world – which is very much the embodiment of the spirit we hoped to achieve with this cross-cultural event,” said Kempinski Seychelles Resort’s executive chef, Hamzeh Abu El-Foul. “As a chef, it is always rewarding to see how food has a way of bringing people together across cultures and nationalities.”

“Since our beginnings in 1897, Kempinski have used our curious nature to develop an understanding of the locations in which we operate and embrace their unique customs. We call this ‘Cultural Empathy’,” said the luxury hotel’s general manager, Kees Heuveling. “It has been a real pleasure to share this notion of cultural empathy with our guests today, and I am sure their holidays have been enriched by this unique experience.”

Representatives from Pristine Seychelles thanked the hotel for being so receptive to the concept of a cultural exchange and for helping them to bring their vision to life. “This morning’s workshops have been a brilliant celebration of Seychellois culture, and I think both our local participants and hotel guests learned a lot about our islands’ traditions!” said Victoria Alis from Pristine Seychelles.