What is so great about our Vatelien Success Stories is that we’re able to realize how much Vatel alumni love their jobs and are able to convey this passion.
For example, in this Success Story, where Florie Lechapt, a Vatel Paris 2009 alumnus tells us her story and presents her job as the Training and Recruitment Manager in the Parisian Palace, Le Meurice.
What made you want to attend Vatel and what are some things you remember about Vatel?
After a two-year vocational degree in a completely different field, I decided to go to London to improve my English. I had planned on staying for three or four months, but I discovered a new passion over there. It just took me a few days to get a job in a fantastic Iberian restaurant, Eyre Brothers. I really loved learning about table arts and waiting on customers. I stayed a bit over a year in England and came back to France ready to go back to school for a degree in hotel and tourism management.
What Vatel had to offer was really interesting. If you do the Foundation Year, you can validate your knowledge in order to continue with a two year Master’s Degree. This was exactly what I had been looking for and so I applied immediately. And that’s where it all began.
When I started Vatel, I quickly realized that the field I had chosen was completely different from anything else I knew about. You learn how to work properly, with self-discipline and courses are totally in line with the hospitality market demand.
What internships did you do in school? In which departments?
For my Foundation year, our first internship had to be abroad. I wanted to experience a new culture, so I went to Ireland in a five-star hotel, Adare Manor: a magnificent Golf Resort near Limerick. It was an internship in the restaurant, very physically and mentally trying. Working conditions were difficult. We were asked to do a lot. But this experience allowed me to better apprehend the reality of our field, and helped me mature.
For the first year of my Master’s degree, I decided to go to a totally different kind of hotel; the Hotel du Golf, a three-star hotel in Lacanau-Ocean, in France, and work at the Front Desk. I learned about the accommodations department, but what was the most interesting for me, is that we had to have many different skills because the hotel was a small one, with only 50 rooms. I loved doing so many different things.
And in my second year Master’s Degree internship, we had to specialize, and of course do an internship that corresponded to this. I decided to work in Human Resources. I was attracted by everything concerning catering, but I thought that a more ‘functional’ internship would really give my resume an added value; that it would add administrative skills to an operational function. And I did this internship in a Parisian Palace: The Meurice.
And you haven’t left the hotel since then?
Not exactly. I learned a lot from this internship and decided to keep on working in this field that I really liked. After my internship I started to look for on opportunity to work as the HR Assistant in a hotel. Right after I had finished my internship, I was hired as the Recruitment and Internal/External Communication Assistant for two four-start Resort Hotels in Marne-la-Vallée.
The Meurice still remained really important for me and I always thought I would go back there one day, when I had more experience. Almost two years after I had finished my internship, I was contacted for a new opportunity by the HR Coordinator with whom I had previously worked. A job had just been created, quite a specialized one in fact: Kitchen and Pastry Human Resources, concerning about 80 employees.
So today what does your job consist in?
I’ve been the Training and Recruitment Manager for over a year now. My daily work is divided into two categories: internal for The Meurice and external with Dorchester Collection.
- I’m in charge of increasing the skills our employees have (Training Program, French DIF and CIF individual training, etc.). I’m also responsible for making sure that everyone’s needs are perfectly in line with the quality level we want to meet in our hotel. I research training organizations, manage the budget, take care of all administrative logistics and do some internal training myself, etc.
- I’m in charge of Recruitment for the Kitchen and Pastry and I help our HR Manager in his functions: participating in trade fairs, putting job vacancies on line and interviewing for jobs.
- I’m also responsible for School Relationships for The Meurice: presentations and recruitment, visiting schools and designing communication tools.
- Last but not least, I’m in charge of internal communication focused on values our Collection embodies, and consequently create monthly events with the restaurant for our personnel.
- I help write the training programs for the whole Dorchester Collection Academy, and then I’m the trainer at the hotel (over 15 modules).
- I represent Parisian hotels for the Collection when we visit foreign hotel management schools.
What differentiates the Meurice from other Palaces?
The Meurice is a unique hotel where cultural diversity, an artistic environment and fashion are intertwined. Our location is our added value; we have an exceptional 180° view over Paris. Located in the middle of a neighborhood that is full of cultural and artistic activity, with the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume Museum, the Garnier Opera, etc., the Meurice is a discrete Palace for the entire family. What is really unbelievable is that our employees have these personality traits too, and you can really notice this.
What do you think the future holds for you, Florie?
Right now, I’m rolling out everything I drew up in 2013. Then, I’ll continue learning, thanks to everyone I work with. What I’d like to do? So many things! But life is always full of surprises. What I’m sure of though, is that I’ll keep on loving working in the HR department.