Karim Issartel, director of Waiki Beach: “It’s a job we do with passion”
Interview by Florence Colombo
The Waiki Beach is on the list of the must-see establishments in the naturist village of Cap d’Agde.
Located in the heart of Port Nature V, emblematic and recognized for the quality of its services, the Waiki beach is distinguished by its outdoor bar called “the perch”, its upscale restaurant as well as its large swimming pool and its “Pool party” which enchanted the village last season.
While waiting for the Opening on May 19, 2021, Karim Issartel, director of the establishment, opened the place to us for an interview.
Hello Karim. Thank you for welcoming me today at Waiki Beach. How would you describe this establishment, what is the state of mind, the quintessence of this place?
Karim Issartel: I would say that Waiki Beach is a beautiful tool that has been able to adapt to the needs and desires of its customers over the years. Although it is a large company for Cap d’Agde, we have kept a family spirit, whether in the team or in the relationship with the client.
How do you feel about your job as manager of Waiki Beach?
In terms of my career, it’s a logical continuation, an obvious choice. I am the person, I think, who knows this establishment best. I started here 11 years ago as a dishwasher, and I’ve worked in almost every position. The position of manager is a position that I have earned, that I have earned. It’s a place where I enjoy working. It’s a job you do with passion, there’s a lot of personal investment.
On the restaurant side, tell me about the head chef and the inspiration for the menu he has created for this season?
The head chef, Frédéric Thiong Toye, only works with fresh, seasonal products. In the restaurant this year there will be two trends, a traditional part and a bistro part. We wanted to follow the customers’ constructive remarks that they had given us before. We have therefore created two different menus, one “Cuisine du moment” and one “Bistro”, so that everyone can come and eat at Waiki Beach, whatever their budget, whatever their frequency, so that everyone can enjoy the setting and the service of Waiki Beach, so that it is really accessible to everyone.
So these two menus are exclusively based on fresh products, but what style of cuisine is offered?
Yes, it’s all fresh, local produce. Everything is home-made. This year, it will be specified on the menu, all the charcuterie and cheeses are exclusively from the region. We are by the sea, so the chef also works with whole fish. We keep this spirit of a Mediterranean restaurant.
On the beach side, is there any programming planned this year? Will we have the chance to attend some pool partys?
I can’t announce anything officially at the moment. We hope that the situation will improve as the season progresses and that the restrictions will be relaxed. We hope that we will at least have the possibility to do a Closing. If in the meantime we get permission to do events, one, two or three events in the season for fun, we’ll do it as a party like we did last year. But that’s not the guideline for this year. The guideline for this season is very much focused on catering. We’re even going back to the pool side with a non-stop restaurant service from the opening of the establishment until 1am.
People will be able to come and eat a large part of the menu at any time of the day.
We’ll also be proposing offers so that customers who come to eat here at lunchtime will have advantageous rates for mattress hire, deckchairs and pool access. We have prepared a lot of little things so that even if the party as we knew it before is not there, everybody can have a good time and spend a complete and pleasant day at Waiki Beach.
I know that cocktails are your specialty, is there a new cocktail menu this year? Do you have any surprises in store for us?
I have quite a few surprises in store that I will be incorporating into the menu little by little, from the opening on May 19th at 11am until the beginning of July. This will allow me to get feedback from customers on the cocktails, which ones they like, which ones they like less, the aim being to always adapt to the taste of the customers. We are here above all to satisfy them. Are cocktails my speciality? Yes and no, it’s mainly the Waiki that has an identity and is a real cocktail bar. People come because we work well on that and we have to maintain a certain regularity and rigour in this area.
And if you were a cocktail, what would you be?
I would be a complicated cocktail because I adapt. It’s very particular, a bit like music. Everything about the taste will depend on the time of day, on a state of mind, on the sun, on a lot of things. I like what can be strong as much as what can be sweet, fruity. My desires are not the same at every moment.
This establishment holds an important place within the naturist village, what is your vision of the whole village?
I think people come to the naturist village because it has everything. I wouldn’t like it if we said “people have to come to Wiki Beach because …”, but “people have to come to the naturist village because …”. It’s a joint effort between all the shopkeepers, restaurateurs and boutiques. We all have to work together because the strength of this village is that it has everything. If we were alone, people wouldn’t be here.
You have accepted our request by agreeing to a partnership with Rent4natu, and our whole team thanks you, what will this partnership be about?
The travellers who will be welcomed in the naturist village by Rent4natu, on presentation of their reservation, will be offered a digestif from our entire collection when they have taken a meal in our restaurant. This offer will be valid for their entire stay.
We look forward to welcoming them.
Contact the Waiki Beach :