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HEC Paris gets cooking… What’s on the menu?

Named after the school’s founder, Gustave Emmanuel Roy, HEC’s newest culinary offering provides a multi-purpose space to collaborate, celebrate, work, relax and, of course, eat. It is the perfect space for practical experience, designed for students enrolled in the new CAP certificate, an elective module for HEC’s Master in Management students. We look back at its first few months.

 
HEC Paris et L'atelier des Chefs

Gustave officially opened in September, at a special commemorative event bringing together staff and other members of the HEC community to get a glimpse of what services the restaurant is offering. The event was a great success and presented an opportunity to see the space in action – as well as to admire the chic interior and architectural pieces inside. A focal feature is the custom-made shelving, designed on-site, subtly spelling out Gustave – as well as stripped back industrial fixtures – giving the space a cool, cosmopolitan vibe, bringing something fresh to the campus. Members of the HEC community contributed to the décor, including the team from the Library, who donated more than 2,700 documents from their archives to create a collage for a feature wall and objects to fill the shelving space. Guests had the opportunity to try canapés à la Gustave, which is open for such festive occasions, as well as at normal meal times and for coffee. Just adjacent to the University Restaurant, it is designed to host 200 students, teachers and staff for lunch and dinner. It offers a menu of healthy and eco-friendly dishes, using fresh seasonal produce.

Among the attendees was HEC graduate and Founder of Atelier des Chefs, Nicolas Bergerault who has worked with the school to develop a new elective course for Master in Management students in cookery. “An old dream is coming true for me today,” he explained, “I would have loved to have had this opportunity when I was studying! Today’s digital transformation has opened the field of possibilities.” The new course resonates with the rise in gastronomic entrepreneurs amongst HEC’s alumni, notably Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, co-founders of popular Italian chain Big Mamma. “It reflects a general tendency,” Vincent Muraire told Le Monde. Muraire graduated from HEC in 2015, going on to co-found Le Chocolat des Français. “Even if we studied in traditional faculties, we want to work on tangible products.”

 

Restaurant Gustave - HEC Paris

 

Cooking on gas

The online course allows students access to 186 hours of cooking and 154 hours of baking classes, while Gustave provides a practical space to hone their skills by cooking for other students and staff.

One of the course’s participants is Thomas Lacassin, a third year strategic management major, who has been cooking up a storm since he started the course in September. “I didn’t expect to progress so quickly and to learn so many different techniques,” he explains, “The fact that the course is online is a real plus for me – It allows me to be completely flexible and to go at my own pace. I am a third year student here and my timetable is pretty irregular, so I would never have been able to do this course if it was at fixed times.” Indeed, the course allows students to come and go at their leisure, delivering lessons in two halves – the first explaining how to use proper tools and ingredients and the second actually cooking with the help of a demonstrative video with an online chef.

Eloïc Peyrache, Dean of Programs, highlighted HEC’s desire to evolve with the changing business landscape, “HEC is both an invitation to explore and a fierce determination to allow each student to live their dream, whatever it may be.” Whether students take the opportunity to build on a previous passion or to learn an entirely new skill, HEC hopes that the new course will respond to the increase in interest in the food industry. It is something that Thomas believes it does very well: “I am very interested in the gastronomic industry and I think that the new certificate is a major asset for working in the sector (including in the business side of the sector). It’s important to be aware of the reality in the kitchen, and to have some practical knowledge in order to better understand the business, in terms of supply and stock management and preparation time, for example.” Both new ventures, Gustave and the new cooking module, have gotten off to a promising start – with Gustave now open throughout the week, and more recently offering a special student menu to those on campus at weekends. Having had a taste of what is to come, the HEC community looks forward to seeing the venue become an institution on campus.