Cirque to Soleil

Rob Horgan discovers how a British expat went from elephant trainer in the USA to chef at Manilva’s coolest chiringuito

LAST UPDATED: 18 Feb, 2016 @ 20:10
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Floria chef and elephant trainer Nigel Crumplin
Floria chef and elephant trainer Nigel Crumplin

FROM training elephants to topping pizzas, Floria chef Nigel Crumplin certainly has an interesting CV.

Arriving in Manilva five years ago, Brit Nigel swapped the circus for the kitchen when he teamed up with local Dutch restaurateur Peter Nette at Floria.

And while Nigel, 48, admits there are ‘little-to-no transferable skills’ between training circus animals and serving up tapas, his move from Circus Flora to Floria chiringuito ‘seems like fate’.

“The similarity in name is uncanny,” Nigel, originally from Wiltshire, says. “If you had told me all those years ago that I would be working at a beach bar named Floria I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Nigel spent four years touring the USA with the circus in the 1990s.

His main duty – and the one he enjoyed the most – was training with the star act, Flora the elephant.

“We had a great relationship,” Nigel says. “Our act was a theatrical circus, it was mainly comical stunts.”

Peter Nette and Nigel Crumplin at Floria chiringuito
Peter Nette and Nigel Crumplin at Floria chiringuito

“Flora could do all sorts of things, but her best trick was spraying a member of the audience with shaving foam and pretending to give them a shave.”

As well as training Flora, Nigel also worked with four horses, a goat and a piano-playing cockerel.

Nowadays, sporting an apron and chef’s hat, Nigel has trouble convincing Floria’s punters of his glamorous past.

“People see me in the kitchen now and assume that is what I’ve done my whole life,” he adds.

Floria chef and elephant trainer Nigel Crumplin
Floria chef and elephant trainer Nigel Crumplin

“I now don’t leave the house without taking the photo of me kissing Flora on her trunk.

“It certainly is a conversation starter.”

With a large decked area as well as musical performances, Floria can cater for kids’ parties and special occasions.

• For more information call 600 654 286



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