Tourism invitation with Island Spirit
“Despite my success and rich background of varied experiences, I always dreamed of opening my own restaurant. Mingling with tourists visiting Seychelles had shown me the kind of experiences they were seeking and in my next career move, I set about supplying exactly that.”
My story, the story of Jean Baptiste Hortere, is popularly known in Seychelles as Batista a young boy from a small village in Mahé, Seychelles’ principal island, who made good. I, Jean Baptiste Hortere, was born in 1953 and I started from humble beginnings in the small village of Takamaka in the rural south of Mahé, where I grew up in a family of four sisters and three brothers and where my parents worked on a coconut plantation.
I consider myself as someone who is in touch with the spirit of tourism, and with the kind of experience we should be offering our tourists. Perhaps it is because of my simple upbringing and the fact that I have had to work hard to achieve what I have, that for me there is no need to embellish the Seychelles experience. We are blessed with such natural beauty and wonderful and unique attributes that, in my opinion our tourism offerings need to flow from those things in the most direct and genuine way possible.
That was the inspiration behind my decision to start small – grilling fish caught in my own fish traps for tourists in true Seychellois island-style. First, I would bring the fish to shore and clean them on the nearby granite rocks adorning this magnificent strand before serving them to my clients in banana leaves with a side-salad of palmist, the heart of the coconut palm, and a serving of coconut water.
As for the future? I hope to be able to carry on providing a soulful service which introduces my clients to the very best that our islands have to offer: fine Seychellois Creole cuisine served against a backdrop of awesome natural beauty and genuine hospitality. My dream continues to come true and I hope I can keep living it for a long time to come.
Jean Baptiste Hortere, Seychelles