September 2019 - To become a Chef, talent, creativity and, above all, hard work are key. At Le Cordon Bleu institute, our Cuisine, Pastry and Boulangerie Diploma students learn numerous techniques thanks to demonstrations, practical classes and training. Some of our students arrive with an entrepreneurial project already in mind, such as opening a restaurant in their home country. The profession, in such cases, is complementary to that of being a Chef and requires other skills: those of a business manager. We caught up with Guillaume Siegler, Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, who previously owned his own restaurant in Japan, to discuss this dual role and get some sound advice.
You owned your own restaurant in Japan in a very short space of time. How did this experience differ from your previous ones as a Chef?
To open a restaurant, skills way beyond the technical ones of a Chef are essential. Being a good Chef doesn’t automatically make you a good entrepreneur! On the contrary, I think that it is vital to learn entrepreneurial skills before launching a new business and then develop a concept which reflects your personality.
What are these skills?
Firstly, it is important to understand the range of fields involved in opening a restaurant: financial management, cost control, and marketing, which today is fundamental for attracting customers. In my opinion, you need to be fairly open-minded in order to listen to your team, being a good manager is essential. You mustn’t be afraid of hard work and carry it out with discipline, audacity and passion!
Le Cordon Bleu Paris is launching a Diploma in Culinary Management in October, aimed precisely at training students who are keen to launch their own business. Could you tell us about the programme?
Being a business manager is synonymous with being a decision-maker. You need to be capable of communicating with the wide range of individuals with whom you will come into contact and understand them. This 250 hour training programme includes modules in finance, management, marketing, but also hygiene, and students will have the possibility of being mentored for their professional project. Open to students who have already graduated with a Diploma, it includes culinary workshops which are complementary to their original training programme. Whether from a cuisine, pastry or boulangerie programme, discovering new disciplines, such as fermentation in boulangerie, sous-vide in cuisine or techniques for preserving foods in pastry, will be extremely interesting. Using the techniques found in other fields will stimulate creative flair and provide inspiration for creating new recipes.
The Diploma in Culinary Management is open to Le Cordon Bleu Paris culinary arts graduates and professionals who can demonstrate that they have significant experience in cuisine, pastry or boulangerie. Intakes will take place in January, April, June and October.