Home' Travel News : October-November 2015 Contents 46 travel news october november 2015
october november 2015 travel news 47
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, not forgetting your father Chris
the erstwhile founder of the Tamarind Group?
What can I say about myself? It’s a long story but I’ll try to be brief. I was born in 1973
in Mombasa; my mum is Britt-Marie Seex and dad Christopher Seex. I am married to
Nadege Dubois-Seex, we have three children who were all born in Kenya. Mum was
born in Sweden and met dad in the Bahamas in the late 60s at Montagu Beach Hotel,
where they were both working.
Dad was born in Kenya in the 40s, and went to Pembroke House from the age of seven
followed by boarding school in the UK. He then went into mechanical engineering but
for some reason ended up at the Glion Hotel School in Switzerland, situated in the
mountains above Montreux. He fell in love with the hotel industry and followed his
passion to the end.
Following the Bahamas they both moved to Kenya where their first job was managing
Tsavo Inn for a few years, followed by Whispering Palms in Kikambala until dad got fed
up working for other people, so they decided to start their own restaurant.
With help from my grandparents and with whatever savings they had, they managed
to buy a piece of land on Tudor Creek where they opened the Tamarind Mombasa in
1972. From what I gather it was a very hard and testing time for both of them, with
never enough money.
I remember a story my dad told me once explaining that if someone wanted a double
shot of Cognac VSOP or an expensive spirit, he had to drive to the Bahari Club and
borrow the shot, drive it back in his car, serve the guest then go back to pay for it.
The Tamarind Group
In the very early days, mum would spend her time in the kitchen developing recipes,
(some of which we still have on our menu), and cook the food on domestic gas cookers
with domestic fridges in the back kitchen while dad was in the front schmoozing the
In 1974 when I was only 6-months old they separated and I moved to Nairobi with mum
and my sister Joanna. Dad stayed in Mombasa running the Tamarind and soon after
married Jane Seex, who stayed with him until he died in 1999 after 15-years of being
in a wheelchair after brain surgery following a severe brain tumour.
I am told that the day we left for Sweden was the same day the Tamarind Nairobi
opened its doors. We were at the opening party before going to the airport for our flight
to Sweden. Nostalgically I was at the Tamarind Nairobi the last evening of operations
37 years later, when it closed its door to move to Karen, where it does very well today.
As mentioned earlier dad was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1984 just after we had
all spent two weeks in France on the Loire. I was 10 years old and it was the first time
I had actually spent time with dad. The following year he lost control of his left side and
became wheelchair bound. I remember that his mental state kept deteriorating each
year until he passed away in 1999. Jane was his absolute rock during those difficult
years as he was 100% reliant on her.
Today almost everyone I meet who knew my dad well tells me, that he was great,
amazing, genius kind of guy, very generous, driven, creative and very much liked. I
am also told that after his cancer he became a different person, almost the opposite of
what he had been before. It’s a pity I never got to meet this person that everyone liked
so much. If I learned anything from dad it was to never give up and to never feel sorry
During the 15-years he struggled with his cancer his spirits never failed and he firmly
believed and worked towards getting better and out of the wheel chair. I think the focus
and commitment to get better kept him alive as long as it did.
After high school at the age of 19 I went into the Swedish Navy to spend 12-months
doing my military service. I considered myself very lucky as I had the opportunity to
train as a chef in the Navy instead of wasting my time running around shooting at an
imaginary enemy. This too became a very good professional experience having to feed
100 people 3-times a day on a ship with the challenges that comes with limited space
Following my military service I spent sometime in Kenya learning how to scuba dive,
again I became very focused on this and took it to as many levels they could teach me
here in Kenya. I then went back to Sweden and worked as a Dive Master at a diving
school. This was until I decided to follow my dad’s footsteps and go the Glion Hotel
School in Switzerland.
I met my wife Nadege the first year in this hotel school and we have been together
since, which will be 20 years this November.
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