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 realised 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 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 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 the 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, 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 memorising 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 ambience 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 the I’ll go back again.
EXAMS & PROJECTS
Arriving to 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 a 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 to 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.