This is a story of passions; passion for cooking, passion for traveling, and a passion for teaching. I was ten years old when I decided to become a Chef. As soon as I could (6 years later), I started my culinary apprenticeship in Pau, France.
My early experiences took me to various ski and seaside resorts in Europe (Corsica, Geneva, French Riviera, French Alps, and Luxembourg). However, military service was compulsory in France at the time so in 1990, I travelled to Paris to enter the private service of 5 Star General Lanata, French Air Forces Staff Chief. Over the years I honed my skills and gained experience, carefully choosing my places of work.
I was just 23 years old when I became Executive Chef in small (28 rooms) exclusive luxury hotel on the French Riviera, Le Cap Estel. I managed a team of 14 and delivered high quality food to wealthy and famous customers. I had the opportunity to cook for the Principal Family of Monaco as well as various pop stars, and presidents.
After three years, I felt that I needed a greater challenge and decided to travel overseas to Canada. I arrived in Montreal in 1993 and lived there for two and a half years. While there, I held various positions in renowned restaurants, including Relais et Châteaux Les Trois Tilleuls. While I enjoyed my time in Montreal, I felt that my destiny lay somewhere else, but where?
Vancouver was the answer to my question. I crossed the country and arrived in May 1996. But life in Vancouver was not so easy for someone who hardly spoke any English! My first job in the city was at the best French restaurant in town, Le Crocodile. I worked there for one and a half years as second sous-Chef, cooking and improving my communication skills on the side through participation in English classes.
In 1997, I started to work at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA), which is where I discovered my passion for teaching. There is nothing I enjoy more than catching up with former students who are now well-known chefs all over the world.
In 2001, I went back to school to prepare my BC Instructor Diploma. I now possessed the necessary credentials to teach at Vancouver Community College for a few months before deciding to start my own business. During 2001, I also created the first version of 911cheferic.com, sharing recipes with the rest of the world as the Internet was just starting to become a household fixture. My website was featured in the New York Times in 2003 amongst the top sites for learning how to cook.
Since that time, I have been quite busy with various services, all related to food. For example, I have been teaching culinary arts to avid amateurs at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as an independent contractor. I also offer private cooking classes, team building cooking classes, consulting for food industry leaders, and commercial recipe development. More recently, I have begun to specialize in chef coaching, combining experience, culinary expertise and coaching techniques to support passionate chefs in reaching their goals. Once again, I went back to school and obtained my Leadership Coaching Certificate.
Because I strongly believe in the power of education, I give cooking classes on my YouTube Channel. The videos are subtitled in various languages. My goal is to make culinary education accessible to as many people as possible all over the world. My dream is to inspire people to become chefs. I am also the Treasurer of the BC Chefs’ Association, and one of our mandates is to award scholarships to aspiring chefs.
According to my students, besides learning new techniques and eating great food, the reason why they enjoy my classes is due to my storytelling. They even pressured me into writing a book! In 2012, I published my first book in the series A gourmand in training, in which I narrate how I first became a food lover as a kid while cooking with my grandmother. I am currently working on the 2nd book of the series, where I share my experiences as an apprentice.
I could have started this account with "Once upon a time", as even to me my story is somewhat incredible. What were the chances that a boy, born and raised in a small provincial French city, in a blue-collar family, would become who I am now? That he would go on to promote the art of French cuisine in a major North American city and, indeed, all over the world through his YouTube Channel? I still remember the English teacher who told me that I would never be able to speak English! Oh really? Not only do I speak English, but I also teach and do business in English. My conclusion: never let someone else tell you that you cannot do something. Just do it and see where it takes you.