madagascar a cocktail party in tana with chef lalaina

Madagascar: a cocktail party in Tana with chef Lalaina

In the gardens adjoining the exhibition rooms, where Madame Zo’s works are on display, guests from Madagascar and all over the world are crowding in. A few minutes later – the time it takes to inform the team at work – Chef Lalaina answers questions with a smile and enthusiasm, while toasting a cigarette. The solemnity of the cocktail party and the stress of the organisation seem to have no hold on him.

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“When we were little, my two sisters and my brother and I had to take turns preparing breakfast every day. .


“I had to hide it from my parents”.

The profession of cook was not considered at the time,” he says. I did odd jobs to earn money and then I did an apprenticeship in a hotel-restaurant.

Caviar, vanilla and cocoa

In 2017, Lalaina met Delphyne and Christophe Dabezies, a couple of French entrepreneurs who, with Alexandre Guerrier, run the Akanjo fashion house and are developing caviar production in Madagascar. With the financial help of the French, Le Marais will open in May 2019.


“We’ve been there all the time, we’ve never put anyone out of work”, says the chef, who now employs around thirty people, with a capacity of 40 to 50 covers, from Tuesday to Saturday. Most of them are new to the business. “For 80% of them, these are their first experiences, young people who haven’t yet picked up any bad habits,” explains the chef sympathetically. Proud to say that today “many young people dream of being a chef thanks to”, Lalaina intends to pass on his knowledge to Madagascar.

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Zebu with shellfish, citrus fruit and caviar

The main course could be zebu fillet with coffee, manioc and black pepper, quail with bacon, flageolet beans and black olives, variations on foie gras, octopus with aubergine, leek and vanilla, or zebu with shellfish, citrus fruit and caviar, which is a little more expensive.

400 recipes

The father of four children, Chef Lalaina has not seen the first two grow up, but he intends to make the most of the two youngest. – And, no doubt, the technical data sheets he has accumulated will serve him well in the near future when he compiles a book of 400 recipes. “My job is an eternal apprenticeship, and my only competitor is myself.