A snapshot of tomorrow’s hospitality industry today
To discover more about the various programs and degrees offered by hotel chains and hospitality schools, HN spoke to several key players whose efforts are growing the industry of tomorrow ANDRÉ COINTREAU’S SCHOOL OF LIFE
President and CEO of Le Cordon Bleu, descendant of the founding family of the Cointreau liqueur and Rémy Martin Cognac,
André J. Cointreau shares his thoughts on the challenges faced by culinary institutes and tells HN why he believes that remaining true to what matters most is key for any future endeavor.
What sets Le Cordon Bleu apart from other schools?
We are the number one worldwide based on network size, which allows us to better understand diversity, especially when it comes to the culinary arts, given that we are present in more than 25 countries with over 30 institutes and partnerships with 18 different universities. This allows us to heavily invest in our academic materials, which we provide to 40+ different schools in both print and digital formats. It therefore comes as no surprise that Le Cordon Bleu recently received the Gourmand Award 2016 for having sold more than 10 million books.
What is the secret ingredient to this kind of success?
We invest a lot of time in understanding the culture, history, politics and economy of the markets we operate in. This allows us to provide our students with the most suitable learning vehicle. Keep in mind that the French were the first to design a system ‘codifying’ the culinary experience. Before its introduction, chefs would follow a recipe aimed at performing a function without lending the actual process much thought. Today however, that ‘codex’ can be used as a guideline to add value to any meal, irrespective of cuisine. Evidence to that effect is that we have been approached by government representatives of various countries asking if we could help them codify their national cuisine.
How has the role of teacher changed?
Being an efficient teacher today means having the ability to leverage a faceto-face, in-class experience with a remote one via screen. In that sense, I foresee that 10 – 15 percent of the educational curriculum will become digital and we are preparing our students for that. In parallel, the teacher will become the entertainer who motivates various types of interactions. Our chefs are fantastic technical guys who are craftsmen with a wealth of knowledge in vocational training of the technical arts programs on offer.
How do you accelerate the careers of your graduate chefs?
The candidate(s) must first master the arts and techniques of the profession, which includes the fields of nutri t i on, hygiene, s ani t at i on, technology, physics and chemistry. Today’s students are also expected to be organizers, team leaders, maestros, even chefs d’orchestre. Lastly, because they will be running restaurants, they should know finance, marketing and accounting, be front of house entertainers and back of house technicians. Most importantly, and because time is rarely on our side, we are trying to give our students as much as possibl e i n as l i t t l e t i me, which, to my knowledge, no other existing school does. cordonbleu.edu
Why was Lebanon chosen as the site of the first Le Cordon Bleu in the Arab world?
In 2000 we expanded the network globally, yet were not present in the Middle East. In 2002, we were invited by PM Hariri to establish LCB in Lebanon. We then partnered with USEK to deliver our BA in Hospitality, which now we prepare students for at our state of the art culinary institute at BURJ on BAY Hotel in Kfaryassine, which will officially open May 31, 2018.
We invest a lot of time in understanding the culture, history, politics and economy of the markets we operate in