ONE EYE IS LAUGHING THE OTHER IS WEEPING
After winning the Erasmus+ scholarship, the day of packing has quickly arrived.
While trying to squeeze all of my stuff into my giant suitcase, I was ambivalent. I was very excited about my newest 4 months adventure, however, I felt blue to leave my loved ones.
Arriving to Lyon and heading to Écully, Institut Paul Bocuse should have been an awaited moment, expect the fact that Lufthansa has lost my luggage somewhere.
My very first and best impression during this semester was the warm welcome at the student residence (Le Clipper), which is all professionally managed by the second year students from the Institut. I had a busy but fun week ahead, due to my integration days with the first year students so I went to my room and finally had a rest after this eventful day.
Well, I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to the next semester with a huge load of curiosity and excitement.
USED TO BE A DREAM
Paul Bocuse was one of the most defining artists of the culinary industry, also my role model and inspiration for some of my creations that is why it is an honour to study at his institute.
Arriving at the Institut Paul Bocuse was a breath-taking moment for me because I faced to my two passion of my life and also the two most important department of this school: International Hotel & Restauration Management and Culinary Arts.
I have to admit I was really excited before arriving on the first day, but when I felt the atmosphere of the Campus I realized I had nothing to worry about.
During the integration days, everyone was really friendly and they made me feel that I am a part of this big family. It was a mixture of curiosity, excitement and a little bit of fear, which made it all interesting. The first thing I have realized is the diversity amongst the student body, which is really positive to me because it gives me the opportunity of understanding foreign cultures and make international friendships.
One of the most memorable events of these days was the „Banquet Bocusien” where we could enjoy an excellent lunch at The Abbaye de Collongues, sitting and talking with brilliant chefs and the Bocuse family.
INSIDE THE WALLS
In my previous post, you might saw the breath-taking building of the institute, so this time I’m telling you about what is happening inside the walls.
The language of the classes is a mixture of French and English so I was a little bit worried about how I will understand the classes such as Statistics or Managerial Hospitality Accounting. However, the professors are understanding and helpful with me as being an Erasmus student, they give me help if necessary.
While studying F&B management, HR, Marketing management and Public speaking I also have a chance to learn Spanish and Arabic language, which is quite challenging.
Finally, I cannot forget one of the best parts of the day: the lunch or the dinner, which is prepared by the students attending the culinary arts courses so I would say it is a different kind of canteen. This is a win-win situation, for them, it is a part of the work experience and for us delicious meals.
But why this institute is so outstanding?
To be continued...
Now you may ask what 360° education system is supposed to mean, so let me introduce it to you.
Thanks to the two co-founders of this institute, Paul Bocuse, the chef of the century, and Gérard Pélisson, co-founder of the Accor Group this school gives the students a full understanding of the hospitality industry.
One month at Institut Paul Bocuse was already enough to understand their very dedicated mission and vision, which is nothing less than pure professionalism. Not only inside but outside the walls we represent the school by proudly wearing the uniform.
In one hand, I am learning the managerial part of this industry, on the other hand, I also get basic but overall knowledge about the wine industry, food preparation, and food service as well.
So, when I will start to work or possibly running my own business I will have a 360-degree understanding of the entire hospitality.
Additionally, the school provides several interesting activities such as wine and cheese tasting, sports (tennis, cross fit or yoga), social events and games because they believe that the entertainment and relaxation are also two important parts of our lives.
On top of that, I have the opportunity to go on field trips in order to see, feel and experience the complexity and the beauty of this profession.
For example, at the biggest wine theme park in Europe, Hameau Duboeufand at one of the best universities of the wines: Université du vin- Suze la Rousse.
As I already mentioned in my previous post, the practice represents a significant part of our education.
Therefore, recently I was given an unexpected challenge by the institute. I had a chance to try myself out as a waitress at one of the restaurants of Institut Paul Bocuse. I was quite afraid, even though I’ve already known how the kitchen work at the restaurants, but I had no idea how many things I’ll have to deal with as a waitress. Before I started my practice, I was sitting home translating and memorizing the whole menu (in French) and trying to find out how will I tell stories about the way of preparation of the meals. I didn’t have such experiences before but I wanted to do it as perfectly as I could.
In a few days, I started to feel more comfortable, moreover, I started to enjoy what I was doing. I also had wine ateliers with the maître d’hôtel to get to know better the restaurant’s wines and to learn the wine pairing recommended to the menu.
The practice was physically demanding because I usually arrived home around 1 a.m. but at the same time, it was one of the most interesting experiences of my professional life.
In a short time, I learned a lot about the coulisses, the operation and the personnel of the restaurant. Also, I could significantly improve my communication and customer service skills. Besides these, I learned a lot about myself.
Thanks to this great experience, I can’t wait to face new challenges!
BACK TO THE KITCHEN
Since I’ve arrived at Institut Paul Bocuse I was dreaming about cooking with the greatest chefs at the institute’s kitchen. However, I had to be patient and determined, but finally, this day has arrived.
I had a chance to learn from Chef Philippon and to help him and the students during one of his cooking courses. He was attentive and he taught me new technics. He is not just an excellent chef but also a great instructor. He also shared with me his perspective about today’s gastronomy which made me to think and to be inspired. I was already missing to be in the kitchen for a few months, so relieving its ambiance again gave me new strength to continue my way.
The dish that we were recreating is one of the three original recipes from Paul Bocuse, which was left after he passed away. Red mullet covered by potato rings and orange sauce with rosemary («Fillet de Rouget barbet en écailles de pomme de terre»).
It was an honour to cook this recipe and of course another unforgettable experience for me.
WINE & CHOCOLATE – THE ELEMENTS OF A PERFECT DAY
I’d like to invite you for a sneak-peak of my latest gastro-experiences in France.
We had a chance to visit one of the most popular wine yards in the Rhône valley Cave de Tain and having a tour in the wine cellar with an interesting tasting and later a charming pick-nick as well. To me, it was really interesting to learn about this region, its wines and about the variety of the soils.
After this tour, we headed to have a tasting of the top selections of Valhrona and also to learn new facts about the “bean-to-bar”. It was amazing to taste 16 types of chocolate (“Les Grands Crus”) with different flavours and characters. Of course, we spent some time (and money) at the Valhrona Shop as well. I’m being really passionate about to explore new ingredients and tastes, these places gave me unique experiences and I’m sure I’ll go back again.
EXAMS & PROJECTS
Arriving at the end of this adventurous semester we have to prepare for several exams and presenting our projects.
I already talked about this subject in my previous posts, how the Institut Paul Bocuse considers the practice indispensable, therefore we had to develop innovative and creative concepts in groups. For example, we designed hotel rooms, restaurants and conducted marketing research with the help of professionals. The most interesting project is the design and creation of a new restaurant within the institute. In this period, we work in groups of 12, combined with the Culinary Arts students. Our duty is to manage this restaurant from the first steps to the lasts. It means, our team will develop the concept, business plan, the design and marketing elements, and the financial part in cooperation with professionals and the partners. Also, we’ll create and design the appropriate menu for our concept. At the end of this project, we’ll receive and serve our guests, as students, professors, and our partners.
Last but not least, this week we had a chance to participate in a simulation, called Hospitality Business Game. In this project, we experience certain strategies and key performance indicators to efficiently manage a hotel. We make decisions about HR, investments, staffing, pricing, marketing and so on.
After finishing my exams here, finally, I’ll fly home for Christmas to my fully supportive family and friends. Also, I have to pass my exams at Budapest Metropolitan university as well. LOL
The show must go on, can’t wait to come back again.
TRYING PART OF ERASMUS
So far, I have only told you about the shiny and enjoyable parts of my Erasmus experience. However, it’s good to know, that this program is a lot more than just having fun and making great adventures in other countries.
In my case, it meant 18 exams in one semester, at two schools. Why? Because at METU I’m studying Tourism & Catering, while at the Institut Paul Bocuse I’m specialized for International Hotel & Restauration Management. So most of my courses here in France can’t be accepted at home. So, I had no other choice but to do the two semesters at the same time (I could choose to finish the university later but I wanted to go ahead), which was quite difficult regarding the fact that I couldn’t attend any of the lectures at METU. So, when I arrived home for the “Holidays”, I started to prepare myself for the exams, which I had to take in one and a half week because the next semester started the 7th of January at IPB. It was quite challenging to learn the materials for all the subjects in a few days, which were being delivered for 4 months. Fortunately, I tackled all of these challenges and I still think that this is my greatest experience and it motivates me to continue even if it’s hard.
Now I’m packing luggage to fly back to Lyon and I can’t wait to see my friends again at the institute, because I already miss them.
In the next post, I’ll introduce you the upcoming projects for the following semester.
BACK IN LYON
Finally, I arrived back to Lyon, which is almost like I’m arriving home. This semester I won’t live in the campus anymore because I found a nice apartment for myself. I’ll have significantly more space and the possibility to cook and to invite my friends over.
This semester seems to be quite challenging, however, the projects I have to execute seems very interesting and complex. First of all, I have the chance to participate at Sirha, not just as a visitor, but I’m serving the plates for the jury at Bocuse d’Or 2019 -prepared by the bests- which will be an amazing opportunity for me. Secondly, I’ll watch the Pastry World Cup, the Barista Championship and the other outstanding culinary contests.
At the institute, I’ll continue to learn Arabic and Spanish, managerial communication, hospitality management. However, to me the most exciting project is developing our own concept of a restaurant to the finest details within group work. I’ll tell you more about it later, now we’re creating the menu, the design and conducting the marketing plan while consulting with our partners.
In the next post, I’ll let you have a sneak-peak behind the scenes of Bocuse d’Or Finale.
Follow my experiences at www.abculnary.com or IG @bucsianna
First of all, just a quick reminder of what’s precisely the Bocuse d’Or. It’s the most prestigious culinary arts event, taking place biennially in the capital city of gastronomy, Lyon. It’s founded by Paul Bocuse, one of the most prominent chefs of this century, who was also the mentor of some of the most celebrated chefs alive.
Before being qualified for this contest, the participants have to compete for their place at primer selections, such as Bocuse d’Or Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America or Africa. The current Hungarian team is composed by Adam Pohner, Richard Csillag (Adam’s commis) and Viktor Segal, as the team’s coach.
The teams are training for years to be one of 24 candidates in this competition. The jury is tasting for two days, however, each team has only 5 hours and 35 minutes to prepare and present their dishes. This year, for the tribute of Paul Bocuse and Joël Robuchon (first and latest Honorary President of the
Bocuse d’Or) who passed away this year, the main theme was the famous French dish: “Chartreuse” which had to contain vegetables and shellfish. Besides that, they had to present the rack of suckling veal with five prime chops on a platter.
During this contest, the participants had to use pre-assessed ingredients and the kitchens were examined by the kitchen jury to avoid any kind of cheating such as preparations in advance. The limited time factor (5 hours and 35 minutes) is also one of the challenges presented to the
People were traveling from all over the world to see the amazing dishes, the exciting competition and who wins the Bocuse d’Or. The fans came to Sirha to see outstanding culinary stands to represent their countries and to encourage their teams.
In the next post, I invite you to read about my experiences at Bocuse d’Or as an insider.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF BOCUSE D’OR
A few months ago, when I won the scholarship at the Institut Paul Bocuse, I was wondering if I could come back to Lyon after I finish the semester to watch the Bocuse d’Or Finale. I’ve never taught that I’ll be one of the lucky ones, who will serve the plates -prepared by the bests-for the jury.
I think it was a big responsibility to fulfill this role, I had to concentrate and highly attentive, which sometimes was difficult because I had to wake up at 4 am. to go to the Eurexpo and have the briefing and the preparation for the service. Besides that, I had the chance to see and talk with the international jury at the backstage. They came from all around the world to taste and evaluate the dishes, which maybe seems to be an easy task, but as they said it’s quite challenging and tiring to stay focused and fair during the tasting and giving the points. While the jury was evaluating the dishes, another committee was checking the work in the kitchens as well. There were a lot of conditions to respect, such as cleaning and food wasting.
I was getting ready for the service when I got the unexpected news that Tamas Szell, former Hungarian Bocuse d’Or contestant, will sit in the grand jury. To me, serving and seeing these beautiful plates was a unique experience. When I was serving the Hungarian team’s dish, my heart was beating faster, I was proud of the guys. It was impressive how many Hungarian supporters were there at the grandstand supporting our team. They were shouting, singing and applauding during the competition. It had an encouraging atmosphere, however, for the participants, it must have been hard to concentrate and to exclude the noises. For them, every second counted, so their coach was responsible for the timing to make sure, that everything is going by the plans.
In the end, the young and enthusiast Hungarian team, who was preparing for this contest every day for months, performed very well. Being the 12th in the world is a great result at this prestigious contest, and I think the next time if they come back to the final, they’ll be even better and more
After the final, we went to celebrate the hard work with the guys and all of the people who were helping their preparation for months. During the competition they didn’t have too much time to eat or relax, so it was good to sit down and to talk about their experiences.
Follow my next adventures at abculinary.com or IG: bucsianna
WHEN OUR CONCEPT COMES TRUE
I’ve already mentioned the most exciting project in the previous posts, which was the development of a temporary restaurant within the institute. I mean, we literally had to create a restaurant from an empty space, including the concept of our idea, arrangement of sponsors and numerous other
elements until we had a working project restaurant. We’ve been working together in groups of 12 with the Culinary Arts students. We started to develop the concept in December and actualize the plan in February.
I think it was a very complex project because we had to deal with the design, the marketing elements, the financial part and find sponsoring partners for our restaurant to be able to make it happen. We also had to create our menu and matching cocktails, which all together fit together with the design concept and vibe.
We decided to merge the different forms of art into our “gallery” — the art of serving, cooking, painting, and entertainment. Therefore, we worked together with a young and talented artist, Tom Quickot, who makes unique paintings in the style of street art.
Finally, the most exciting part of the work had arrived when we brought the idea to life, and we served our guests; students, professors, sponsors and the Mayor of Écully town.
I was amazed to see how the individual elements came together, completed each other creating a flawless operation, in which I enjoyed to participate. At the end of the project, we made a small auction and sold our table, painted by Tom, besides some of his paintings. I think it was mutually beneficial and enjoyable for all of us to work together.
Even though working in a group with different characters and nationalities was quite challenging and required a lot of attention and tolerance, I think we learned a lot from this experience. Luckily, I had the chance to visit restaurants designed by other groups, and each of them was creative, innovative and very enjoyable. It was fascinating how many different ideas we had and how many different ways we dealt with this mission.
Follow my next adventures at abculinary.com or IG: bucsianna
FOLLOWING MY PASSION
When we finished our project restaurant, I had a chance to follow my passion for pastry, besides studying hotel management. I spent one week in one of the restaurants of Institut Paul Bocuse learning new amazing recipes and techniques while creating great desserts.
I think it’s inspiring to work at such a dynamic place, even though I have to admit, it was quite trying sometimes.
Let’s see how’s an average day in a kitchen!
I arrive at 8 am. to the restaurant and start to make the “mise en place”, which means to set up the kitchen and prepare the ingredients for the service. Then I have a quick lunch at 11:30-11:45 and get back to work. The lunchtime starts at 12 o’ clock, and the orders start to run. I think the service is one of the best parts of the day as it’s full of adrenalin.
Personally, to me, seeing the elements coming together on the plate is impressive. Besides that, we have to pay attention to the timing, allergies, and particular demands as well. After the cleaning, I have a break from 3 to 5 pm then going back to the restaurant to do the second “mise en place” for dinner. Before the second service, I have a quick meal as well, which gives the energy to work all night.
In this restaurant, the kitchens are open, which means the guests can see us working. It’s interesting for both of us, as we can see their faces and reactions while tasting the dishes. During the service, it’s essential to communicate with the colleagues and the servers and to pay attention to every little detail: temperatures, textures, and right plating. Afterward, we clean the whole kitchen and go home around 23 pm to get some rest.
I was working from Tuesday to Saturday (not to mention, I got sick and temporary lost my hearing for my left ear, which made it a little more challenging). Although it was tiring, there is something (maybe called passion?) which was pushing me to continue and to wake up early in the morning and go back to work with dedication.
Follow my next adventures at abculinary.com or IG: bucsianna
TO BE CONTINUED
Arriving at the end of this unbelievable journey I’ve just one crucial thing to say. I want to express how grateful I am, for having the chance to spend an academic year at the Institut Paul Bocuse, which is one of the international elites in hospitality management and culinary arts. It was an intense and emotionally challenging program, and I genuinely believe that I could overcome some of my fears, and I was able to develop my personality both professionally and personally. This adventure allowed me to gain worldwide hospitality and culinary arts experience and to try myself out in various difficult and exciting situations.
First of all, I want to thank my home institute, Budapest Metropolitan University for offering me the opportunity to apply to the Institut Paul Bocuse. Many thanks for the Erasmus+ program, which allowed me to study here, even without paying the tuition fee (17.000 €/ year) and also offered me a scholarship, which contributed through some of the expenses of my staying in Lyon.
Secondly, special thanks to the Institut Paul Bocuse for hosting me with special care and treating me as their own students. The Institut was committed to integrating me in their big IPB family and provided me an outstanding level of education, including hands-on academic and professional experience. In my opinion, the key success factors of IPB is the culture of generously sharing knowledge and expertise amongst the students, as well as the strong bond formed by the fellow student, tutors, chefs, which creates a special atmosphere including individuals from more than 50 different nationalities.
Furthermore, I am deeply thankful to my mentor and friend, Agnes Herczeg, who pushed me over the obstacles and showed me a new approach when needed. She helped me to find the smartest choice, which had the most positive impact on my future.
Above all, I can’t thank enough to my incredibly supportive family, especially to my mom and grandmother for encouraging me even though they knew, they won’t see me for a long time. I’m also thankful to my big brother, to whom I could always talk to and who gave me his sincerest opinion in any situations.
Last but not least, thanks to Lucy, my best friend for holding my back and not to let our friendship suffer from the long-distance.
Not to forget all of you, reading about my experiences and supporting me from several countries. I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
“Home may still be the same, but I most certainly am not.”