A cooking teacher in the spotlight publié le 11/11/2022
A life experience at the service of our students
A few words of presentation :
« After my initial training in Saint Étienne in 1986, I spent a year working in a prestigeous 5-star hotel in Geneva. The following year I went to work in Scotland and progressed to the position of Executive Chef in a deluxe 4-star hotel and timeshare resort in the Highlands. I had the pleasure of organizing events for the Royal family in the nearby Balmoral Castle on several occasions. My participation for the first time in a culinary competition in Glasgow gave me the inspiration and motivation to continue creating original menus, using the finest of local ingredients.
In the mid-nineties I moved to Ireland when I was recruited for the opening of a 4-star hotel and golf resort in Dublin, rising to the challenge of participating in the conception of the operation right through to its successful opening. This led to other opportunities and I was involved in setting up and managing the opening of three other 4-star establishments in Ireland and won a gold medal award for « Best Restaurant of Ireland » in fine dining.
During this period I was approached by the catering college in Dublin to teach young chefs on a part-time basis. It was my first experience in the field of education and it gave me great satisfaction. On my return to France in 2008, I decided to train as a trainer, qualifying after a one year course. I was encouraged to further my traning and become a teacher. Then, I passed the entrance exam and went on to achieve my Master Degree in Education in 2014. Since then, I have been teaching at the vocational high school in La Rochelle and have had great pleasure in passing on my knowledge and skills to the students. I have a particular interest and responsibility for the « European » classes and am involved in organizing their work placements in Ireland where I continue to maintain several partnerships. »
His testimony about…
Ah, the culinary competition ! Many young catering students dream of competing and the “Young Escoffier Talent” competition is one that brings great satisfaction and pride, when you take into account the important place that Auguste Escoffier represents in the world of catering and his contribution to the French culinary heritage.
Getting involved as a candidate requires great motivation and perseverance because the preparation work is in addition to the student’s course time. As a coach it is a great pleasure to see a young person grow in confidence and develop her/his technical skills.
Throughout the training phase, it is necessary to review, confirm, encourage, accompany the young person in her/his preparation. The whole experience begins at this early stage and it is vital for the student to enjoy it. On the day of the competition, the stress is at maximum level and independently of the result, during the award ceremony, it is necessary to be there to reassure and help them appreciate the experience of having participated in this competition and having given the best of themselves.
A huge committment is required on behalf of the student and the coach in order to achieve this great professional life experience and it generates a certain bind between these two people. This collusion which develops between the candidate and her/his coach makes for a strong team and is necessary to help overcome doubts and constraints as well as in dealing with an unsuccessful result.
The Young Escoffier Talent competition consists of several stages. The team is made up of a pair of kitchen and dining room students. First, there is the regional selection, followed by the national one and then, the international selection. It is a competition that can last up to a year and a half if the selection process allows you to reach the big international final !
The subjects of the tests are known by the candidates two to three months prior to the competition. From then on, all the planning begins, including the training sessions, the organisation of the trip, the equipment etc. Candidates are provided with the instructions to follow certain recipes including some from the Escoffier guide, "The Bible". In advance of the practical part, it is necessary to anticipate and produce administrative and culinary documents such as spec sheets, explanations about the choice of ingredients as well as photos to illustrate culinary preparations and services. Competing at this level requires stamina, rigor and self-discipline as well as a great amount of mental preparation.
Taking part in such a competition gives real meaning to the transmission of knowledge and support, the objective being to provide a professional experience to the candidate who only wants to flourish. The student’s success will bring us great pride and, in case of failure, we analyse and ask ourselves many questions. Anyhow, it makes for a very interesting experience and allows us at the same time to take a step back and then move forward and evolve further.
It is a great personal investment to build a project from start to finish, knowing that there will be good and bad days along the way. But, in the end, seeing a young person with stars in their eyes is a unique reward !