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Meet Elsa Layen - Wine and Management Programme 2016

alumna Elsa Layen

After realizing her studies in the field of wine, Elsa Layen decided to follow the Wine and Management Programme and becomes, at the end of her training, sommelier at Pierre Gagnaire.

Interview with Elsa Layen

What did you do before integrate the Wine and Management Programme?

Before starting the Wine and Management Programme, I took a Technical/Sales BTS in Wines and Spirits at the Viticultural College in Beaune (2011-2013), then a Vins de Terroirs International Marketing and Sales degree at the ESA (institute of higher education for life sciences) in Angers (2013-2014). I had already decided to follow the Programme at Le Cordon Bleu, but I wanted to work for a year. I therefore carried out a six month work placement at the Revue du Vin de France internet site which led to a 3 month temporary contract as editorial assistant. I then worked at Lavinia restaurant, one of Paris’s major wine shops, for 4 months.

What made you want to study in the wine field?

My parents are viticulturists in Champagne and I was immersed in wine, or rather vines, from a very young age. After my baccalaureate, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to study wine but it is such a fascinating world and there is always something new to learn so it didn’t take me long to make up my mind! After three years studying wine marketing and sales and a number of consultancy positions (wine fairs, Saint-Vincent Tournante des Climats, Hospices de Beaune and Nuits-Saint-Georges, etc.), I realised that it was this aspect of the business that I enjoyed the most and this made me decide to focus on sommellerie.

What is your favourite memory from your adventure at Le Cordon Bleu Institute in Paris?

That is a difficult question… I have excellent memories of my whole year at Le Cordon Bleu. Perhaps the memory that will leave a lasting impression is the vineyard visits where we met exceptional winegrowers and visited prestigious estates.

You are working at Pierre Gagnaire as a sommelier, when and how this adventure began?

I carried out a 6 week work placement (January - February) in sommellerie with Pierre Gagnaire. It turned out they were looking for a commis sommelier and they were really happy with the way I worked; you could say I got a lucky break! They offered me the job and agreed to wait until I finished training in May. I started my job on 1st June.

What advice would you give to future Wine and Management students?

Make the most of every single moment as the year passes by in a flash.

What are your plans for the future?

To work in sommellerie and continue learning new things!

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