In Les Jardins, a flower from the islands unlike the others
A pretty flower among the plants: it is Maria Nigote, from the island of Ouvea, who is not in her first post in catering. There was a time when certain commercial names of the Baie des Citrons had no more secrets for her. It is now in Les Jardins that you will find her, the midday’s leafy restaurant of the Hôtel du Centre.
It was after her friend Lucienne, restaurant room Manager at the La Pergola restaurant, had told her about the Hôtel du Centre and the pleasant atmosphere in it, that Maria wished to go there to introduce herself.
Given her autonomy and experience, the Les Jardins restaurant was immediately offered her a position as a Head waitress. A chance for the charming New Caledonian who takes real pleasure in maintaining the flora of the place every day.
"I’m happy to be able to take care of gardening. I water, prune and replant the shoots I bring. I love when "my" garden is beautiful and healthy… It’s not everywhere you can be a waitress and a gardener at the same time!"
In parallel, alongside Hélène, her assistant, Maria is in charge of setting up the restaurant and cleaning it, welcoming customers, taking orders, and keeping the cash register.
Making a point of ensuring the well-being of her clients, she wants them to be happy to be there, to enjoy themselves and to leave with a smile.
And when she is no longer in Les Jardins, she sometimes serves at La Pergola in the evening; a change of scenery, different atmosphere and other practices…
More than just customers
With a temperament that would seem discreet, Maria is actually jovial and sociable. Her curiosity about discovering people and getting to know them explains why she enjoys contact with others so much.
An ease that we find in her taste for sales and her way of serving her patrons, since she has at heart to know that they are satisfied, to see them come back, to get news…
A nod to the small group of four very dedicated customers who will undoubtedly recognise each other and with whom she often jokes.
"With time, it became so cordial that they now call me "the Virgin" in reference to the Virgin Mary and my first name Maria. This is our private joke!"
- If you were a dish on the menu of Les Jardins? The Chef’s tuna tartare; it’s first-class and well seasoned! I love it…
- If you were one day of the week at Les Jardins? Thursday because we’re booked out, so there are a lot of customers and I like when it boosts!
- If you were one of the plants of Les Jardins? It would be the Greater Galangal for its beautiful pink color.
- 3 things you have always with you at the restaurant? My bible, my tiger eye stone bracelet – which protects me and brings me luck, and… my smile!
- The person, famous or not, who inspires you? Helen, our Manager: she’s always in a good mood and well dressed, she never screams, she brings us positive energy.
- If you were not Head waitress? I would have taken care of old people; I have a deep respect for our old people who have a lot to teach us. Or else, I would have done needlework; it relaxes me to create.
- Your best quality and your main imperfection? I’m involved in my work. But sometimes I can be bossy and I don’t always realise it.
Fully satisfied with her job
What motivates her in her assignments? Everything! What does she find compelling? Nothing!
A caring and optimistic woman, Maria is unhappy if she is prevented from going to work – in the case of general confinement, for example. She likes her job and needs it to feel good.
Catering trading hours are not a problem, she is used to it. She and her colleagues are in a good mood: with Karl and Chef Patrick, they understand each other quickly, are efficient together and never argue.
As for confidences, it is also in Les Jardins that Maria met her companion. She did not expect that this regular client would become the man of her life…
Is there really no complexity in everyday life, even a small one? "Ah yes, maybe only the dust because of the wind, which requires a lot of cleaning of the tables…" answers the Head waitress. "But again, it’s a matter of habit!" she adds with a smile.