Switzer­land’s old­est hos­pi­tal­ity in­sti­tute comes to Pune. By Aditi Pai

India Today - - CAMPUS BUZZ -

The glass should al­ways be placed three inches from the edge of the ta­ble. Shoes should be pol­ished to shine like a mir­ror. It’s this at­ten­tion to de­tail that makes Ecole Hote­liere Lavasa stand apart from most other hos­pi­tal­ity in­sti­tutes. The 67,000 sq feet cam­pus nes­tled in the lush hill city of Lavasa is the In­dian net­work school of the fa­mous hospi­tal in­sti­tute Ecole hôtelière de Lau­sanne of Switzer­land. So, the course cur­ricu­lum, teach­ing styles and as­sess­ments fol­low the rules laid down by the flag­ship in­sti­tute.

As you en­ter the in­sti­tute, you are struck by the state-of-the-art in­fra­struc­ture-multi-me­dia class­rooms, wine test­ing lab, au­di­to­ri­ums, a cy­ber ho­tel, house­keep­ing lab train­ing and dis­play kitchens and mock guest rooms to give stu­dents an all­round hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. “We fo­cus on the four pil­lars of hos­pi­tal­ity — food pro­duc­tion, house- keep­ing, Food and Bev­er­age ser­vice and front of­fice op­er­a­tions,” says Rony Kurien, Dean, Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The study rooms have the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment to en­hance the learn­ing process. The main demo sta­tion is fit­ted with ev­ery­thing from an in­duc­tion plate and a wok to a tep­pa­nyaki grill for the in­struc­tors to demon­strate ev­ery pos­si­ble cui­sine at one counter. Two cam­eras con­stantly fo­cus on the chef ’s hands and the im­ages are pro­jected onto a large screen to en­sure that stu­dents don’t miss a sin­gle stir of the spoon or flip of the pan.

The in­sti­tute of­fers a four- year Un­der­grad­u­ate Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment Pro­gramme that lays equal em­pha­sis on aca­demic learn­ing and hands-on train­ing. The class­room ses­sions don’t fol­low the con­ven­tional dis­course method. The teach­ers, who are called ‘fa­cil­i­ta­tors’, pro­vide stu­dents a Pre-course Guided Mod­ule that

pre­pares them for dis­cus­sions and de­bates dur­ing classes. The fac­ulty mem­bers are trained at the main in­sti­tute in Switzer­land to fol­low the same teach­ing prac­tices and ethos. Dur­ing the four-year pro­gramme, stu­dents cover an ar­ray of sub­jects from food and bev­er­ages — which is the fo­cus — to rev­enue man­age­ment, hu­man re­source man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing and law and ethics. In the third and sixth se­mes­ter, stu­dents must com­plete in­tern­ships in dif­fer­ent de­part­ments of ho­tels that pro­vides them a closer look at the in­dus­try. The eval­u­a­tion isn’t exam-heavy here and stu­dents are as­sessed through­out terms on the ba­sis of as­sign­ments, in-class quizzes and prac­ti­cal ses­sions.

With an em­pha­sis on prac­ti­cal and real world learn­ing, the in­sti­tute has four restaurants that are run by the stu­dents. At De France, stu­dents put up a theme lunch— and are re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­thing right from the menu de­sign and uni­forms to the ta­ble dé­cor and mu­sic. So, be it an Ira­nian lunch or a French seven-course meal, the stu­dents man­age all de­part­ments from in­ven­tory man­age­ment to cook­ing and ser­vice. Be­sides mock rooms to learn house­keep­ing ser­vices, stu­dents hone their skills at the Mer­cure and other ho­tels within Lavasa to get a feel of how ho­tels in the real world func­tion on a day-to-day ba­sis.

A walk around the sun­light bathed cor­ri­dors pro­vides one a peek into the sta­teof-the-art in­fra­struc­ture that the in­sti­tute pro­vides. From walk-in chillers and floorto-ceil­ing multi-pur­pose ovens to cook­ing uten­sils and grills for al­most ev­ery type of global cui­sine, it’s all there. “What uten­sil or pan you use plays an im­por­tant role in how the food will turn out. Ev­ery cui­sine de­mands a cer­tain cook­ing method,” ex­plains Leevin John­son, a renowned chef and man­ager of op­er­a­tions at the Ecole Hote­liere Lavasa.

With strict kitchen eti­quette and hy­giene prac­tices, the stu­dents are taught to fol­low the high­est qual­ity con­trols. There’s a bak­ery and con­fec­tionary depart­ment with a va­ri­ety of dough knead­ers, whip­pers and sheet mak­ers; the butch­ery has an in­fra- red sani­tiser to dis­in­fect knives, a vac­u­umiser to store meats prop­erly and a strict pro­to­col on seg­re­gat­ing chop­ping boards for ev­ery type of meat. To teach stu­dents the im­por­tance of hy­giene, the in­sti­tute even has a garbage room where waste mat­ter is stored at un­der 5 de­grees Cel­sius to pre­vent it from de­cay and con­tam­i­na­tion be­fore it is dis­posed. There's also a re­ceiv­ing area where veg­eta­bles are washed and seg­re­gated and the meat is tested in a mi­cro lab be­fore it makes its way to the re­frig­er­a­tors.

At the end of the course, stu­dents get a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from Lau­sanne and Lavasa and stu­dents are al­lowed to shift to the other Ecole Hote­liere cam­puses across the world af­ter com­plet­ing the first two years.

Ex­tend­ing its reper­toire of cour­ses to suit the en­tire hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, the Ecole Hote­liere Lavasa plans to launch a num­ber of short term cour­ses such as cruise liner man­age­ment, spa and well­ness and bak­ery cer­tifi­cates from the next aca­demic year. As the stu­dents smartly dressed in crisp black busi­ness suits quickly slip into their kitchen uni­forms to learn the nu­ances of Caribbean cui­sine, they high­light the motto of the Ecole Hote­liere Lavasa — com­bin­ing the dis­ci­pline of sci­ence with the cre­ativ­ity of the arts.

Pho­to­graphs by AB­HI­JIT PATIL

From walk-in chillers and floor-to- ceil­ing multi-pur­pose ovens to cook­ing uten­sils and grills for al­most ev­ery type of global cui­sine, it’s all there at the Ecole Hote­liere Lavasa

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