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Meet Anastasia and Valentin

Anastasia Samogulova and Valentin Trebaol met whilst studying at Le Cordon Bleu Paris Institute. Following graduation, they continued their journey together, working on the development of Le Café Le Cordon Bleu before getting married and opening their own restaurant, L’Echalote, in the Paris region. They talked to us about their backgrounds and their project in life


Could you tell us a little about yourselves?

Anastasia: I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where I studied business management and have always been keen to open my own business. I visited France for the first time when I was 7 years old and dreamt of living there, that is why I decided to study French. Passionate about French gastronomy, especially pastry, I had the courage to follow my dreams. I studied pastry at the internationally renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute. After graduating with my Diplôme de Pâtisserie in November 2016, I spent 3 years working as a Chefs’ assistant before carrying out a 6-month internship at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, where I was offered a permanent job. Two years later, I returned to the institute as head of pastry production for Le Café Le Cordon Bleu, and events, under the supervision of Chef Alexandra Didier and Chef Eric Briffard. I then became Pastry Chef at Les Fables de la Fontaine restaurant and took part in opening a second restaurant.

Valentin: my name is Valentin and I am a trained chef. I began my career at the Automobile Club de France, before joining the teams at The Peninsula Paris hotel. From September 2016 to October 2019, I worked on opening and developing Le Café Le Cordon Bleu, and the institute’s events, under the supervision of Chef Alexandra Didier and Chef Eric Briffard. After leaving the institute, I joined the team at the Au Père Lapin restaurant in Suresnes.


You then went on to open your own restaurant, L’Echalote, in Etampes?

Valentin: that is correct, we opened our own restaurant to share our vision of French gastronomy with a contemporary twist. Following several months of hard work, we finally opened the doors of our restaurant, L’Echalote, last June. Just a stone’s throw from Étampes town hall, our restaurant is warm and friendly, and we are committed to giving our customers a memorable experience.


What is your restaurant’s approach?

Anastasia: our approach is local, working with quality products and producers. We buy our ingredients locally and visit our market gardeners, cheese producers and brewery etc. We showcase products from the terroir and French expertise, and we respect seasonality by working with organic and seasonal vegetables. This work ethos is extremely important. We are fully aware of environmental issues and are committed to making a difference by choosing where our ingredients come from, and how they have been produced. Chef Eric Briffard instilled us with this philosophy during the time we spent together.


Valentin: our approach also includes the amount of care taken to recycle our waste. We limit the use of plastic and packaging; compost all organic waste from the restaurant and use returnable glass. To provide customers with a full range of products, we work directly with various estates, winegrowers, local artisan breweries, fledgling distilleries, and French family institutions.


How did Le Cordon Bleu Paris help you to create your restaurant?

Anastasia: my studies gave me solid management skills, which were then reinforced via practical experience at the institute. We had the opportunity to work with leading Chefs and learnt a great deal in terms of administration, management, and expertise. The different events in which we took part, managing students, and the responsibilities we were given, were extremely beneficial.


What is your best memory from your time at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?

Anastasia: when I worked as a Chefs’ assistant during my studies, I would spend the whole day at the institute. For the first three months, I worked on the old campus and then the institute moved to new premises alongside the river Seine. The inauguration, the opening of Le Café, and numerous events marked this period.  


What advice would you give to future students?

Anastasia: when I arrived at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute, I had no knowledge whatsoever of cuisine and pastry. Following graduation, the level I had reached enabled me to secure a job as a pastry commis at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. The institute gives you the keys to success, but you must know how to use them. 


Which 3 words would best describe your experience at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?

Anastasia: development, passion, perfection. 

Valentin: excellence, transmission, prestige.