Fishing, Food and Fun:The Club Liberte Experience

Nurettin Fish
Chef Nurettin Aydoğan of the Club Liberté Casino

Now here is what you would call a “hands-on” chef! From the ocean to the plate in a matter of minutes, as Chef Nurettin Aydoğan of the Club Liberté Casino is an avid fisherman. As Nurettin says, “When you have been cooking fish all your professional life, you want to go out and catch them sometimes as well”. And what better place than the Seychelles? Prior to taking up his post at the Club Liberté, Nurettin was the head chef at a huge casino resort in Kazakhstan. And as you may be aware, there is not a lot of ocean surrounding Kazakhstan! In fact, the nearest ocean was several thousand kilometres distance. So here in the Seychelles he takes every opportunity away from his kitchens to get out on the ocean and bring in some of the bountiful harvest that is just waiting out there.

In the short time that Nurettin has been in the Seychelles, he has turned the food concept at the Club Liberté on its head. The overall philosophy of the “5 Spices” restaurant at the Club Liberté is to be a true expression of Seychellois “terroir”. Currently, the menu evolves on a daily basis as ingredients move in and out of season following their natural rhythms. If you don’t see what you want on the menu, then ask for it and you may be surprised by what they can do.

Central to Nurettin’s cooking are sustainable seafood, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, juices and infusions, from the Seychelles wherever possible. Richer items like butter and cream are used where necessary but not by default, and seasoning levels are judicious, ensuring a much lighter style of cooking that is in keeping with many people’s desire to eat more healthily. Nurettin’s aim is to treat all ingredients with the utmost respect and admiration by limiting waste with a strong nose to tail dining ethos.

Nurettin, Jerico and Trevor together in the kitchen love what they do and this is evident in every aspect of a visit to the “5 Spices” restaurant, from the winning seasonal food to the welcoming and knowledgeable service. Everything is done with care, thought and passion. Firm believers in using local seasonal produce, local growers and suppliers are supported, and menus presently change regularly, depending on what is fresh and seasonal and there is always an exciting new dish to try.

We had a few words with Nurettin about his philosophy of life and of food – difficult enough to catch him as he is either in the kitchen or fishing!

Was there ever a moment when you thought you had bitten off more than you could chew?

Yes and no! You always think you have bitten off more than you can chew on a day where you are challenged. But you never lose sight of your goal and I think that is important because it gives you the opportunity to reflect, realise how far you have come to get where you are, and that is key when it comes to development and achieving your dreams. You can’t let your challenges make you overlook the bigger picture.

And your work life balance?

I admit that my work life balance isn’t great but I am not complaining and it has always been the case. It is getting slightly better, I love the time that I get to spend outside in the Seychelles, and on occasion I might get to squeeze in some fishing to keep a healthy lifestyle, but hard work has always been a part of who I am and that is what it takes to achieve your goals.

Is sustainability important to you?

Yes sustainability is important and we see this in various ways. We aim to be sustainable financially, environmentally and use local produce to support the sustainability of the local economy. You can’t do one without the other so it is something we have at the forefront of our minds with everything we do at the Club Liberté.

What would you say is the single biggest USP you would want to create for the Club Liberté and the 5 Spices Restaurant?

Our location and sense of place, it is an incredible place and an incredible building and it gives our guests a different experience each time they return to us.

If you can change anything, what would that be?

I wouldn’t really change much, there are a few minor details. The physical concept of the new restaurant will be completed in a month or so and overall, I am very pleased with what we are creating.

If you had to rate your satisfaction on the Club Liberté so far what would it be?

100% satisfaction… But there is always the opportunity to improve.

There speaks a man who is happy with what he does!

The extract is taken from:

https://mailchi.mp/saintange/seychelles-tourism-report-edition-16?e=adbbb9976f

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The Hippodrome Casino & Club Liberte Casino: Marketing

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‘London’s Biggest Night Out’ in the heart of Leicester Square, the Hippodrome Casino – www.hippodromecasino.com – is a stylish, quirky and grand casino with something for everyone. Open 24/7 with free entry and the best steak restaurant in London, it’s not solely designed for gamblers. Whether visitors are looking to gamble, a cabaret show, live sports, cocktails, event space or the best dinner around at the best prices, they have it all! It is also London’s most popular entertainment venue and has welcomed over seven million visitors since opening in 2012.

Boasting six bars, 24 hour food service, private dining rooms, a two tier outdoor smoking terrace, cigar bar, and an intimate 180 seat Music & Cabaret Theatre, there really is a lot to do there. Central to the casino is the Heliot Cocktail Lounge, a glamorous bar serving some incredible cocktails.

The Hippodrome is also bursting at the corset strings with burlesque, cabaret and live music performances in their Music & Cabaret Theatre. They are also a top destination for live sports in London with screenings of major sporting events. And if all that’s not enough, Lola’s Underground Casino in the basement is the first of its kind in the UK with live dancers in the centre of the gaming action, offering a true Las Vegas style experience. A fun, versatile and distinguished casino, one can never pass a dull moment at The Hippodrome.

What has this got to do with the Seychelles one might ask? Well, the Club Liberté Casino, the Seychelles’ premiere entertainment venue, has recently completed a mutual marketing agreement with the Hippodrome Group, designed to encourage their players to visit the Seychelles. The Hippodrome people want to look after their players, even when they are not in London, and even when they are on vacation. So they wanted a partner casino whereby their top players who wish to take a vacation where there will be a casino, could have the opportunity of coming to the Seychelles, where they would be received and looked after in the same manner as they would be in London.

The Hippodrome has similar agreements with several other major international casinos – in Las Vegas, in Morocco, on cruise lines, etc. and the Club Liberté Casino was very fortunate to be able to join with this exclusive group of casino operators.

Several weeks ago the Hippodrome held a presentation over two nights in London to which their major VIP players were invited. At this presentation, the partner casinos presented their product and showed why their destination should be considered by these gambler players. If some of these players can be persuaded to come to the Seychelles to visit the Club Liberté, they will not only play in the casino but will spend on other items – air fares, hotels, restaurants, local tourism, deep sea fishing, golf, etc. The possibilities are infinite as these are high wealth individuals who like to spend on quality. Of course, if they then visit the Seychelles and are satisfied, they will then spread the word to others. The Club Liberté management was personally at the presentations to discuss with the potential visitor players and to give a sell to the complete Seychelles product.

The Club Liberté was aided considerably by the Seychelles Tourism Board at this event, whose London office provided the necessary marketing collateral and whose London ladies were present each evening to spread the word about the Seychelles to these players. From the Seychelles, the Hilton Double Tree resort, the Four Seasons Resort, PADI Diving, the Seychelles Golf Club and Takamaka Distilleries also participated wholeheartedly, with marketing collateral and amazing draw prize offers for the players. The Hippodrome was so impressed with the Takamaka St. André Rum that was on offer to the players at the presentation that they wanted to feature, in the future, Takamaka rum in one of their top bar outlets.

This partnership is considered by the Club Liberté as an incredible opportunity to break into the UK market. This is not just to promote the casino but to promote the Seychelles as well. The feedback after the event was excellent from these VIP players and the Hippodrome wants to bring down a group of their VIP players at the end of May to the Seychelles and host them at the Club Liberté for a week. This is a great start to a fruitful relationship.

Extract is taken from Saint Ange Tourism Report- https://mailchi.mp/saintange/saint-ange-tourism-report-13-of-2nd-april-2018?e=adbbb9976f

Seychellois Trevor Philoe is Commis Chef at the Club Liberté Casino

Club Liberte Casino restaurant team

Ambition is the driving force for the young man from Baie Lazare, Mahe – an opportunity to see how far he can go, coming from his relatively humble beginnings. Trevor Philoe is his name and he is the commis chef at the Club Liberté Casino.

Trevor started with the Club Liberté Casino from the opening in 2016 and was initially preparing the meals for the casino staff. However, his passion for food showed through and this potential was soon picked up by the casino management. Last year in August he took it upon himself to participate in the social media photo contest organized by the Seychelles Tourist Board. Although he did not win, some of his local-based dishes were added to the menu at the casino restaurant for the dining pleasure of the local and international guests.

At this stage he was pretty much self-taught, with only the experience that he had picked up on the way to help him. So the casino management proposed to Trevor that he should enrol at the Seychelles Tourism Academy for a STA Certificate in Food Production. This course can lead to Trevor taking his City & Guilds Exam – optional in the 2nd year. This 2-year apprenticeship certificate course in Food Production provides students like Trevor with a basic introductory insight into the operational and skilled areas of the catering industry. Trevor now attends the Academy for 2 days each week and for the rest of the week he is back hard at work in the Club Liberté kitchens.

His mentors in the Club Liberté are Nurettin Aydoğan, the new international superstar Turkish Head Chef, who is currently putting together the new food concept in the casino, the exotic “5 Spices” restaurant, and his associate in the kitchens, Chef “Itamae” Jerico, the Sushi chef. They have taken Trevor under their wing, so to speak, as they can see that he has the possibility to go as far as he wants. For him now, the opportunities are limitless if he has the willingness to take them. He is very fortunate to have the opportunity to study and work at the same time, as he has chance to practice more often than his co-students.

Nurettin notes, “I am very pleased with Trevor, he is a friendly young man who has shown great strength and determination turning his life around, he is focussed on becoming a fully qualified chef. When I first met him he was unsure that he could work in a team, and how he would cope in the hard practical work environment. Importantly, he showed strong interests in sustainability, the environment and producing good food from fresh local produce”.

The future of the hospitality industry in Seychelles is in the hands of young people like this, for whom there is a responsibility to ensure they have everything they need to keep it going, to train them and develop them.

Trevor says, “Having found my passion is something which is important for me. Now I can say that I can push myself to succeed in this industry, just to see how far I can take it. I never really want to settle for just getting by, it’s not me, and for me nothing compares to this. There’s just nothing like it”.

What excites Trevor now is the opportunity to tackle new challenges and to continue refining his craft. As Nurettin explains, “It’s about technical ability, because at the end of the day, all that a chef has, really, are his hands. People talk about it as an art. It can be artistic but I see it more as a craft. It’s not something you’re born with – you get better as you put in the time and you build experience.”

And so it is that we can expect much more still to come from this dynamic young Seychellois apprentice chef, Trevor Philoe.

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A new menu for a new authentic taste at the casino has been introduced with the arrival of Nurettin Aydoğan. He is Turkish and has been working at the top end of his profession in casino resorts in Central Asia for a number of years. He has been running some big operations in the last few years but felt that he was getting away from his roots, that of actually cooking! Now he wants to get involved in the Club Liberté Casino and get “hands-on” again.

Exttract is taken from Saint Ange Tourism Report 

Club Liberte Casino – New chef, new culinary delights

To kick start the new food concept, the casino has scored a coup in the chef department. As the food on offer in the casino was just not up to the standard, it was decided that the best thing would be to source a new and upmarket chef and build a whole new restaurant concept around him. Now you may think that chefs are easy to find, and so they are if you just want someone who can cook. But to find a superstar chef who can cater to the notoriously fickle and difficult demands of international casino players and who can also cater to the needs of the regular public, now that is something different.

The Club Liberté put out a search through contacts and one name came up several times – Nurettin Aydoğan. Nurettin is Turkish and has been working at the top end of his profession in casino resorts in Central Asia for a number of years. It was difficult to prise him away from there, but the persuasion of an exotic tropical island did the trick. He has been running some big operations in the last few years but felt that he was getting away from his roots, that of actually cooking! Now he wants to get involved in the Club Liberté Casino and get “hands-on” again.

Nurettin, says that his approach to food is to showcase fresh local produce, and often simple preparations to bring out the quality of the ingredients he uses. The new menu he is devising bears that out. Nurettin knows exactly what he is doing. The snapper can be slowly cooked in olive oil, then marinated and grilled until it is full of deep-sea flavour with accents of lemon, oregano, and shallots. The grouper filet is wrapped in delicate slices of zucchini with a creamy and elegant sauce and is superb on a bed of herby basmati rice. As for the seafood pasta, this is just killer good — chunks of the best seafood served with artisanal pasta, simple but bursting in the mouth flavour. And of course you can expect specialities from his native Turkey. For those of you whose sole exposure to Turkish cooking is a takeaway kebab, then be prepared for an amazing surprise when you encounter five star Turkish cuisine for the first time, all prepared with his own special spices.

And that of course brings up the name of the new food concept and restaurant in the Club Liberté Casino. It is “5 Spices”, evoking the Orient, the Middle East and all of the tropical charms of the Seychelles. The new restaurant itself as a specific area in the casino will be ready in a couple of months, but in the meantime, before the crowds get there, this is the time to try out Nurettin and his delights. He could just very well be the best chef in the Seychelles right now.

The new Club Liberté Casino food concept can now serve cocktails to match the best of the food on offer. Burak, the new cocktail barman, has an updated cocktail list that makes use of some of the same flavours as the menu and that will astonish you with their variety.

So, if you think you know the Club Liberté Casino, think again. You have a treat in store.

Extract taken from: https://mailchi.mp/saintange/saint-ange-tourism-report-edition-4-of-2018

Classy, but unpretentious and very good…

“The Club Liberté’s Sushi Bar has the best of sushi” writes a repeat visitor to Seychelles”

“Perfection, they say, is in the detail and perfection is difficult to attain. However, I would mark out the Club Liberté’s Sushi Bar as close to perfection as will be found on Mahe” a repeat visitor took the trouble to write.

“It is all detail. It is the pointillism of food; the effect achieved through the accretion of tiny individual gestures. It’s good, it’s very good. If my intention were solely to make sure the place was full, this is maybe overkill.  I could probably fill it by knocking on the doors of my neighbours and telling them the good news, as the sushi bar is small. Inside the Club Liberté Casino, there is a dedicated section of the bar that seats seven, spaces which can be booked. Plus there are several tables for two or more.”

“A plate is laid before you. A mound of pickled ginger and wasabi is placed to one side. The fun may now begin. Of course, sitting at the bar is more than just theatre. Sushi is best consumed seconds after it’s prepared, with the barely cool or room temperature fish being gently heated by the warm, vinegared rice. Federico may admonish diners who snap phone pics of the prepared sushi; there’s no photography ban here, he just wants you enjoy the fish, while it is perfect.

While items can be ordered individually, there are also set menus or omakase, priced very reasonably. What’s in them is decided by the chef, depending on what’s good. We asked for octopus. He told me he had some, but we couldn’t have it. “I tasted it,” he said. “It’s not good enough.” Okay then. He said this without being condescending or grand. Indeed, there is nothing self-regarding or intimidating about the sushi chef. Watching the chef working is a joy, but he’s also good company.

A mid-ranged sashimi selection brought glistening pieces of snapper, bonito, tuna, salmon and the sweetest of sweet prawns. The nearest thing to adornment was the citrus juice, brushed lightly across pieces of snapper. The nigiri here is the whole package, which is to say the rice is exactly how you always wish it might be and so rarely is. It is the right side of just warm.

The vinegared edge is there without being overstated. The grains cling to each other without being needy. On to these pillows, formed by hand in front of you, go snapper, or strips of salmon, or a piece of octopus which has been so finely sliced half the way through by his knife as to look like bleached-out marquetry. There is a delicate brush with soy. A strip of toasted seaweed is used to form a collar to hold back a cluster of orange roe. Marinated octopus, laid with a blob of sauce, disintegrates in your mouth to release its oils.

I was once told that telling properly good sushi from the rest was a tricky business; the food was so very simple that difference could be measured in tiny points. I understood what they meant. Making it is a job for obsessives and so is eating it. So when the good sushi comes your way, you just know it. There are cheaper places to eat sushi on Mahe, and there may be hipper places too. But right now I honestly don’t believe there is any better place than Federico’s at the Club Liberté” the visitor went on to say. 

Congratulations to Club Liberté. Word of mouth is what gives a property the edge.

The Sushi Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday18h00 to 02h00.”

 

Source:

Saint Ange Tourism Report

12th November 2017 : http://mailchi.mp/9ea46e4655e2/saint-ange-tourism-report-23rd-edition?e=7c399d3555.

Creole Food & the Creole Festival

www.casino-liberté.com

Creole octopus salad

“Did you know that the Club Liberté Casino at Petit Anse offers possibly the best sushi in the Seychelles?

Well it does, but unfortunately Sushi Chef Federico is going on vacation soon and the Club Liberté will not be serving sushi during his absence. However, the two regular chefs at the Club Liberté – Deon from South Africa and Trevor from the Seychelles – want to take up the challenge and serve something special during the absence of the sushi menu to maintain the standard of the Club Liberté’s food offer and to satisfy the casino’s regular customers and the new visitors.

We spoke to Trevor at the casino who told us about his idea designed to coincide with the forthcoming Creole Festival and his desire to participle fully in this important showcase for Creole culture and the Creole lifestyle. He and Deon will be preparing, during the period of…

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Set adjacent to the superlative Four Seasons Resort at Petite Anse, Seychelles.

With a combination of contemporary and tropical influences, the “Plantation House” spirit is developed as soon as the door opens into the luxurious gaming area. The main casino gaming floor has four roulettes, two poker and three blackjack tables, plus a unique and exclusive VIP gaming room offering roulette, blackjack and punto banco or poker. Thirty one of the latest electronic gaming machines will be available and will include the most popular reel and video slots, all linked to a loyalty card system. Club Liberté is not just gaming, and proposes a glamorous cocktail bar, a sushi bar – “food as entertainment”, and a quality restaurant offer. Live music and other entertainment presentes for the casino guests while they relaxing and enjoying their visit to the Club Liberté.