A great experience
French connection goes from strength to strength
Students from Forth Valley College were treated to a taste of French hospitality when they visited Lycée François Rabelais Catering High School in Caen, Normandy, recently.
A total of six students and two lecturers from FVC’s Hospitality and Salon Services Department embarked on the 10-day trip on Tuesday 3 October and returned on Friday 13 October – completing the second leg of a joint collaboration which saw 10 Rabelais Catering School students visit the Stirling campus in May 2017.
The visit was funded and organised by the Charles de Gaulle Trust which was set up to enable groups of young people aged 17 to 19 from the UK and France to work together on joint projects. The Charles de Gaulle Trust supports collaboration between the UK and France through education partnerships that offer young people an international and intercultural experience.
The trip was a mixture of the practical and theoretical activities including baking classes and restaurant service in the kitchen as well as front of house. A trip was also organised to the Calvados distillery in Normandy where students learnt about how unique and special this product is for the region. The FVC delegation also visited the Normandy D-Day landing beaches and visited the World War II Museum. They also took the opportunity to visit Mont St Michele and learn about its unique history.
During their stay they were invited to have lunch with Denis Rolland who is one of the heads of French College Education in this field.
FVC lecturers Michal Tomaszewski and Martin Rodgers accompanied the students travelling to France and they included: Rosemary Lindsay, HND Hospitality Management Year 2, Robyn McKnight HNC Professional Cookery, Jack Lumsden HNC Professional Cookery, Erin Drummond HND Hospitality Management Year 2, Erin Hutchison HND Hospitality Management Year 2 and Princess Chiferere HND Hospitality Management Year 1.
Student Rosemary Lindsay (19) from Alloa, said: “I think the trip was great and an excellent experience for everyone who went to see what it was like to work in the hospitality industry in France. I think it has been beneficial for me and I hope to use a lot of the things I have learned going forward. For instance, I hope to incorporate some of the styles of service I have picked up into an upcoming exercise which will be taking place at college soon.
“It was also great to experience their culture and visit places such as Mont St Michele and the war memorials. It was emotional and quite sad, but I am so glad to experience it all. I would recommend that students should go on trips like these in the future. I hope they can manage to do it every year.”
FVC Hospitality Lecturer Michal Tomaszewski, said: “I was very impressed with the high standards of training at the Lycée François Rabelais College in Caen, Normandy. From the arrival to the last day students were involved in a variety of practical, theoretical and cultural activities. It was one of a kind experiences for student and lecturers. Students were given an excellent opportunity to develop their front of house and culinary skills which will most definitely benefit them in the future when they enter the ‘world of work’.”
Chef Lecturer Martin Rodgers, said: “The highlights of the trip were many. The hospitality we were shown and the welcome from our guests was first class. The session in the patisserie was excellent and educational and our students showed a great amount of skill carrying out the tasks they were asked to do…Croissants, Pan au chocolate and Brioche Octopuses. On a personal note, I had the chance to work with one of the finest bakers in France and view their entry for the world patisserie finals - which I was not allowed to photograph and was dismantled straight after. The two chef students more than held their own in the commercial kitchen and on the day we made the formal lunch for the headmaster and education minister. Robyn one of our students ran the pass, which was a great testament to her ability.”