Could you tell us about yourself?
Reda Ben Hammida is cuisine sous-chef at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée and has worked in numerous leading establishments where he put everything he learnt during his Diplome de Cuisine into practice. He shares his experiences from his time as a student and tells us about a typical working day in one of Paris’s finest luxury hotels.
My name is Reda Ben Hammida, I am 33 years old and originally from Morocco. I am cuisine sous-chef at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée under executive chef Jocelyn Herland.
What are your memories from your time at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?I
I have many memories, but those firmly imprinted in my mind are when I worked as a volunteer in the production kitchen. Another important one, after I graduated, is when I was asked to be a guest chef at the ambassadors’ evening. Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Mr. André J. Cointreau, President of Le Cordon Bleu, were both present.
What is one of the most important things you learnt during your studies?
Respecting and appreciating products and producers.
Could you tell us briefly about your career path?
After graduating with a Cuisine Diploma, I carried out a 3-month internship as a Chef’s assistant at Le Cordon Bleu institute. I then embarked on a second 6-month internship at luxury hotel Le Meurice, under three Michelin-starred executive chef Jocelyn Herland, with whom I worked for 3 years. I spent two and a half wonderful years in Monaco with two Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin at the Monte Carlo Bay hotel.
Upon returning to Paris, I had a great experience alongside chef Stéphane Gaborieau, One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France - MOF) and Michelin-starred. I went on to work for the Hilton International group for the opening of the first Canopy by Hilton, Paris Trocadéro, in France, as chef de partie. This year I returned to executive chef Jocelyn Herland’s kitchen brigade at the Plaza Athénée, as cuisine sous-chef.
What does your job involve?
My job involves making dishes and compiling recipe data sheets, training young chefs and passing on the key values of our profession, being a good teacher, managing stress levels at highly pressurised times during service, and handling the storage of goods.
What advice would you give to somebody planning a career in the culinary field?
Believe in your dreams, get the most out of everyone you meet, be curious.
How would you describe your experience at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?
A high-level training programme which honours the reputation of French cuisine.