Claire, please tell us, first of all, why you decided to go to Vatel?
More than anything else, because of the school's fine reputation in the hotel and restaurant business. But I was also attracted by the idea of obtaining an MBA and then going on to find a good job with management responsibilities in a field that interests me very much.
Why did you choose Vatel Bordeaux?
Well, there was a question of proximity, since I am from La Rochelle. However, I also find Bordeaux a great city and a nice place for students.
When you went to see Madame Courtonne for your placement, did you already have a good idea of what you wanted to do and where you wanted to go?
I absolutely wanted to have at least two weeks of practical experience at the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux. Madame Courtonne told me that they would only accept me if I agreed to do all my practical work experiences there. Of course, I agreed, and this was a fine opportunity.
What are your responsibilities at the present time at the Grand Hôtel?
The managers trust me, and give me more things to do as time goes on. I work in the restaurant. According to the number of reservations, I am either a commis waiter or station head waiter. I have worked at all three meals. The customers are different for each of these, as is the atmosphere. You really need to adapt. My duties include taking orders, serving meals, offering advice about which wine to choose, etc. All of these help me to be effective in many areas.
Is the internship up to your expectations?
Yes, completely. The hotel has a worldwide reputation. This is a great opportunity for me to work with fine food and sophisticated, well-heeled customers. All this motivates me to find a job in just this type of establishment once I finish my studies.
Would you recommend this internship to other students?
Yes, because the Grand Hôtel truly helps interns to learn the ropes and to feel at ease. Of course, you must not be afraid to work hard! Seeing as the hotel is very demanding, training here is conducive to true excellence.
Any stories to tell since you started your internship?
Yes, there is an anecdote… My meeting with a legendary cinema star, Alain Delon. He has an incredible presence. I was delighted that he trusted me, because I was the only person who waited on his table. My proudest achievement was when he came over to me at the end of the meal to say that he had had "a very pleasant time".
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