Dishes such as octopus curry on saffron rice; curry goat; and an exotic fish fillet with sautéed peppers, Kreol sauce, and saffron rice, are enough to make any homesick Seychellois’ mouth water in anticipation. But they are equally popular with British clientele, too, as the stall pops up in the most unlikely places from Notting Hill Carnival and trendy King’s Cross to the wilds of Wales.
British journalist, Stephen Spark, recently visited the Mauritian Festival in London and contacted Minister Alain St.Ange, the Tourism and Culture Minister of the Seychelles, to say that the flavor of the islands was very much present in London. Minister St.Ange used the opportunity to request pictures and an article on the presence of Seychelles at this UK event. The British journalist writes: The setting was unmistakably English, the music was distinctively Mauritian, and the flavors were undeniably Seychellois. The enticing aromas of Seychelles specialities at the Mauritius Open Air Festival in Gunnersbury Park came as quite a surprise. As around 10,000 people enjoyed the Indian Ocean ambience of the annual Mauritian festival, Vinn Goute’s bright yellow stall, with its tempting display of aromatic, spicy food, brought warm smiles and Seychelles sunshine to wet and windy west London.
Its website says that the concept of London’s only authentic Seychelles street food kitchen emerged from “our family, our food, and our country.” The name was a phrase that the founder’s grandmother used “when she had combined a wealth of different ingredients grown locally in her garden at Anse Boileau on Mahé.”
The business brains behind Vinn Goute belong to Kristofer Adelaide, who somehow finds time away from his main job as an architect to help out when his aunt Maria’s stall goes touring – which it does quite often. Kristofer explained that Vinn Goute is a movable feast that travels to festivals around the UK during the summer and is part of a street-food network called KERB.
“Last year we did a pub takeover, and we may do supper clubs in the future,” Kristofer said, adding that they also cater for weddings and parties. “I think the best part of doing it, is people remembering us from previous events. British people are very interested and intrigued, and often come back day after day at a four-day festival.”
Vinn Goute took off in 2012, when the family did a very successful pop-up (temporary) café on a barge, and until now they have continued this nomadic style of catering. But why not have something more permanent?
Kristofer answered: “A lot of people ask us ‘Where’s your restaurant?’ and we have to say ‘There isn’t one!’ We are looking for somewhere a bit more settled in the future. It’s got to be in the right place, to be sustainable, and work financially, too.”
In the meantime, anyone wanting a taste of Seychelles in Britain just has to keep an eye on Vinn Goute’s Facebook page and see where they are heading in the coming weeks.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, on his part said that it is pleasing to see the Seychellois flying their flag whenever possible.
For more information on Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, click here.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .