Stéphane Lecenes followed the 2013-2014 session Wine and Management Programme and came 3rd in his class. He shares his experiences at the School, his background and his professional goals with us.
Could you tell us what you did prior to studying at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?
I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 25 years. I am a qualified accountant and was an IT Project Coordinator.
Why did you choose our School?
I have been passionate about wine for many years and wanted to work in the industry in a professional capacity. I was lucky enough to be able to benefit from the support measures that exist as part of professional retraining. I already had a very clear project in mind: Opening a wine store. All that remained was for me to gain the necessary knowledge and key skills to turn my project into a reality. I searched the internet and was immediately struck by the Wine and Management Programme. The training programme seemed to be extremely rich, thorough and vocation-oriented, and included a great deal of investment of personal time, which was in line with what I was looking for.
What can you tell us about your time at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?
I was not disappointed by the training programme! The lessons were fascinating with excellent teachers and consultants. In the space of 9 months, our whole way of looking at wine changed completely and we learnt how to taste wine correctly. Throughout the year, we had numerous opportunities to put what we had learnt into practice, enabling us to progress at lightning speed. Equally, the two compulsory internships, one in vinification and the other in an establishment with a direct link to our career plans, helped us to gain a better understanding of the world of wine and the different trades within the industry. We also had the opportunity to take part in a number of prestigious wine events, such as “Le Grand Tasting”, FICOFI and the “Gala de l’Association des Sommeliers de Paris”, which gave us the chance to meet people and create a network. The vineyard visits are also unforgettable, opening up a whole new world of discovery and culinary delights. It is also important to note that, for 9 months, students are surrounded by other students from many different countries and this is extremely culturally enriching.
What were your professional goals following graduation?
I knew that I wanted to open a wine store long before embarking on the training programme. Following graduation in June 2014, I immediately began my new venture. The lease has been signed and the wine store, in the Paris area, is due to open at the beginning of 2015.
Did Le Cordon Bleu Paris help you to achieve your professional goal? And if so, in what way?
The Wine and Management Programme gave me the key knowledge and skills to enable me to open a wine store. The food and wine pairing module was, for me, essential in achieving my professional goal and I now feel ready, and at ease, to answer any questions my future customers may have.