Human resources

Interviews

Frédéric GUERIF / Management Controller

How did you become part of the Ladurée team? 
I joined the Ladurée Champs-Elysées team in March 2008 as a bursar. Within that role I initiated the commissary service, which hadn’t previously existed. One year later I was promoted to Head of Commissary. On top of my day-to-day responsibilities, I was in charge of planning client deliveries. In January 2013, I had the chance to change roles and manage the Lincoln Bar on the Champs-Elysées for a year. Then in May 2014 I joined the Management Control team. 

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as Management Controller? 
At the moment I’m managing all of our business figures in France and Monaco. I work in collaboration with Operations Management in devising budgets and ensuring that they are adhered to. When needed, we analyse the budgets and help Operations Management find ways to improve upon them. 
Another one of my roles is to develop useful tools – for both budgeting and “inventory” – another project I’m piloting. These developments aim to make operational tasks much more efficient.

How did you get this role? Did you have any specific training? 
During my yearly evaluation I put across the idea that I would be interested in changing roles and moving to operational support. 
I took Excel and Business Object courses both internally and externally. In my previous role I had obviously worked with numbers and certain functions, but these training courses were essential for moving into Management Control. 
My excellent knowledge of the Ladurée business worked in my favour, as did my HND in Hotel Catering and Institutional Management. Also, my love of numbers. 

You have played various roles over the course of your time with us: what is it that has made you stay with Ladurée? 
Ladurée is a business that has let me grow professionally, so I’d like to keep growing with them.

Benjamin AUBRY / Assistant Operations Manager, Ladurée Roissy

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
I joined the Ladurée Champs-Elysées team in November 2009 as Maître d’hôtel. In May 2011 I decided I wanted to learn more about the unique world of the Champs-Elysées bar, where I worked as Bar Manager for a year. 
In April 2012 I had the chance to change roles. I moved to Ladurée Printemps Haussmann where I worked as a Store Manager. Then, in May 2013 I joined Ladurée Roissy (a multi-site venue with 13 stores and one restaurant) as Store Director. After spending 3 years in this role, I was finally promoted in May 2016 to Assistant Operations Manager for Ladurée Roissy. 

What qualities do you think are necessary to be Assistant Operations Manager? 
The most important thing is to have a global vision for Ladurée and its many different services. You need to have strong operational skills and an excellent knowledge of Ladurée’s products and overall structure. 
As far as the airports are concerned (Roissy-Orly), there is a very different skillset needed to managing a Paris branch – it’s imperative that you can oversee different sites at once. 
The Assistant Operations Manager needs to be good at listening to employees. You also need to know when to take a step back and look at yourself. Overseeing a team requires strong managerial skills. 
Fairness is imperative, as is appreciating a challenge. Personally, I always strive towards excellence, and have a strong passion for the Ladurée brand. 
Being Assistant Operations Manager is essentially all about sharing your specific skills and knowledge with your team.

What are your main responsibilities and how many employees do you manage? 
As Assistant Operations Manager I am in charge of managing the finances and Human Resources of the Roissy Charles de Gaulle site. 
Ladurée Roissy is made of 13 stores and one restaurant, so I have around a hundred employees to manage and I direct the teams on-site. 
One of my responsibilities which I particularly enjoy is structural innovation, which I began when I arrived at the Ladurée Roissy Management team in 2013: 
1. Training and working with partners 
2. Identifying and securing sites and stock 
3. Optimising strategies in line with airport throughput 
4. Personnel growth 

In 5 years, Ladurée Roissy has seen considerable growth. I personally have contributed to 3 pop-ups, 2 of our carriage stands, and 1 Les Marquis store. There’s a real sense of pride when you see a store or restaurant welcoming its first customers after you’ve spent months working on it. My role also includes organising events (hosted in our carriages) in the Maison et Objets Show, which is held twice a year, as well as the Gucci Master and Bourget shows. 

What training is necessary to be an Assistant Operations Manager? 
In a job like this, you need to have both financial and commercial knowledge. I took part in a management training course which was extremely enriching and totally invaluable for a job like mine. 

Do you see yourself working abroad, and what do you think of the mobility opportunities at Ladurée? 
I’m keeping my ear to the ground for any international opportunities Ladurée could offer me. I have had the chance to be a part of store and restaurant openings in Bangkok (Thailand), Baku (Azerbaijan), Manilla (the Philippines) and Panama City (Panama), which has been amazing and incredibly fulfilling.

David THUAL / Executive Savoury Chef, New York

How did you become part of the Ladurée team? 
I joined the Ladurée team in October 2012 as an Assistant Kitchen Manager in the Ladurée Champs-Elysées branch. I was primarily charged with looking after the kitchen in the Lincoln bar, on the Champs-Elysées. 
In September 2013 I was promoted to Assistant Kitchen Manager of both French and international kitchens. I was in charge of creating savoury menus, carrying out kitchen audits, and working on international kitchen/restaurant openings. I had the chance to move abroad while each new kitchen was opening, which was a fantastic experience. 
Then, in October 2014 I moved to New York to become the brand’s Executive Savoury Chef, and in January 2016 I was promoted to the Ladurée Executive Chef for all American territories, as we are currently in the process of launching new restaurants with savoury menus across the country. 

You have been working in New York for some time now – what was the procedure behind taking up an international post? 
The first thing I had to do was discuss things with my boss in France, to let him know that I wanted to travel abroad, particularly to New York. 
My request was accepted by the New York executives. 
After that, Ladurée’s US lawyer took care of everything. Once all the paperwork was completed, I had to have an interview at the American Embassy in Paris. I found the relocation process was generally very smooth.

What do you think of Ladurée’s growth potential, both nationally and internationally? 
I think there is fantastic potential because Ladurée really know how to capitalise on their French savoir-faire. 

How did you prepare for this new post? 
Because my previous job had an international component, I had had the chance to spend a few months in America beforehand, so I knew a little about the job that Ladurée were offering on top of what I knew about the company already. 

You wanted to move abroad while still staying tied to Ladurée – what is it about the brand that you find so compelling? 
Cooking is a difficult job, and it’s often done under very poor conditions. Ladurée has allowed me to work in excellent conditions and under a strong business structure. Ladurée trusted me to take up important jobs. Working with Ladurée is a real honour – wherever you go in the world, people are always impressed when you tell them you work for Ladurée.

Jane BARTHELEMY FAURE MATEO / Store Manager, New York

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
I started working for Ladurée in France in March 2014, as a Shop Assistant in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés rue Bonaparte store. I have always loved this boutique in particular; it has loads of charm, a fantastic team, and we offer a very personal service to our regular customers. I spent a year and a half in this beautiful place, during which time I did placements at the rue Royale store, the Carrousel du Louvre, the Champs-Elysées, Printemps, and Versailles. 

How did you come to move to New York? What was the process behind it? 
I applied to work in Ladurée in America because there were lots of job opportunities there. Ladurée is a developing company, and I find that very exciting. I ended up meeting the CEO of Ladurée USA, Pierre-Antoine Raberin, during a macaron-sourcing trip to Ladurée New York, and he gave me his business card! I have a masters in Hotel Catering Management, which I have supplemented with work experience in luxury hotels. Before moving to Ladurée USA, I trained with several different Ladurée operations within France. All of these factors enabled me to make the move to the States.

It was a long process and I needed a lot of help from an immigration lawyer. Good preparation is essential, as you need to present a dossier and then pass an interview at the American Embassy in order to get a visa. Ladurée took care of everything in that respect. Then, I was handed some information on my new American bosses, and after I got my visa I was ready to leave Paris and hit the Big Apple! 

What have you brought from your sales experience in France to your new role in New York? 
My work experiences in France taught me a lot about Ladurée – both in terms of its products and its procedures. I gained this experience in France, but it helps me a lot in my job as Store Manager in New York. I have a lot of knowledge I can pass on to my team (both French and American employees), and I always endeavour to instil the spirit of the Ladurée brand in them. That’s the most important thing to American customers. 

How are you getting used to American culture? 
Before I moved here I had visited the States several times, as well as undertaking work experience in a hotel in Manhattan. So when I came to New York – first to the Soho branch of Ladurée, then to Madison Avenue – it wasn’t too much of a culture shock. I was already used to the American way of life.

Julien CHRISTOPHE / Head of Chocolate Production, Enney

How did you become part of the Ladurée team? 
I joined the Chocolate Lab in February 2002. At that time, it was situated at the 16 rue Royale flagship. 
In 2003 I was promoted to Assistant Head of the Chocolate Laboratory, managing the team of 12 people who made and packaged our chocolates. 
The Head of the Laboratory moved onto another project in 2005, so they suggested I take his post. As Head of the Chocolate Lab, I was in charge of the production of our chocolates. 
In 2007, the Laboratory moved to Morangis (91), and we moved from a 45m² work space to 80m². 
In 2012 (so five years later) the Chocolate Lab and its teams began working from Enney in Switzerland. We now operate out of a 400m² Laboratory. We have invested in various machines to aid production, but our chocolates still retain the artisanal streak that they’re renowned for. 

How did you progress to your current role? 
My career progression has been very organic – I have an excellent knowledge of the brand and its products, and this has given me a lot of credibility within the company. 
I didn’t run into any particular difficulties when moving up the career ladder. They gave me opportunities, and I took them. I was given management training to help me oversee my team. During my time here I have worked under very strong management from the Head Pastry Chef, which has been very helpful.

You joined the Ladurée team in 2002 as a chocolate maker – what are your opinions on the development of the chocolate range over the past few years? 
Over the last few years, the chocolate range has expanded significantly. These days, we are able to offer clients a huge selection of chocolates. The range is classic but ethereal, very much like Ladurée itself. Today we operate two chocolate ranges - Ladurée’s own brand and Les Marquis – a separate chocolate line founded in 2012. They are two very distinct entities. 
As a result of Ladurée’s international development, we are now exporting chocolates all over the world. We have had to change certain production methods to adapt to different countries. It has been very exciting to be a part of the development of our chocolate range. 

What do you think of Ladurée’s growth potential, both nationally and internationally? 
When you work for Ladurée, you have lots of potential for growth and progression. If an employee feels that they’re doing a great job, there is nothing to stop them from taking up international jobs where available. When an employee is given the chance to work abroad, it’s a real seal of approval from the managers. It’s a kind of promotion, really.

Aissata TRAORE / Assistant Take-Away Manager, Roissy

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
I began working for the company in 2010 as a Take-Away Assistant in the Ladurée Champs-Elysées boutique. A few months later, I was promoted to First Store Assistant. This was an enriching experience that really helped me integrate into my operational role at Roissy Charles de Gaulle, a multi-site post. In September 2013, I was put forward for a new post, Assistant Take-Away Manager in Roissy Charles de Gaulle. 

How did you go about adapting to your new job? 
I’m not going to lie and tell you that moving to Roissy Charles de Gaulle was easy – compared to Parisian operations, the multi-site airport set-up has many constraints that make adapting to your role a longer process than normal. 
Nevertheless, I immediately got on well with my team (around 70 employees). Today, there are around 100 of us. Roissy has grown a lot in the past few years, which is giving me a lot more responsibility in my role. 
Once everything was settled, I was very present on the ground (and still am!), surveying the Roissy Charles de Gaulle site and all of its ins and outs.

You worked in a Parisian branch before moving to the multi-site airport layout of Roissy Charles de Gaulle. What are the most notable differences, in your opinion (organisation, management…)? 
When you’re organising a site like Roissy, you need to be very proactive. Foresight really is the name of the game. 
In an airport, there are lots of things that can upheave your working day (an absent employee, incidents occurring in certain airport zones), so you need to be able to bounce back and find a solution to every problem. 
The multi-site layout is in no way comparable to Parisian sites, in terms of team management and scheduling. On a multi-site location, workers must be relatively independent at their particular sales point (managing the tills, restocking, waste), which isn’t the case in Parisian branches. The management must be able to adapt to this structure by being both flexible and rigorous. My management style is very human-focused and foregrounds my relationship with my workers – I like to show them how their work contributes to the success of the business on a larger scale. Good management is essential in motivating and mobilising your team. 
Recruitment and running your teams becomes more complicated in an airport set-up. This is because of the working hours (which are adapted to airport hours), as well as the distance you can walk in one day (it’s a great way to stay in shape – you run a mini-marathon every day!) Nevertheless, we work hard to recruit motivated employees who will contribute to the prestige of the brand. 
Organisation, management, and recruitment are effectively much more complicated on a multi-site like Roissy Charles de Gaulle, but the operational side of things is still very enriching and allows for terrific progression. 
The Roissy team is wonderfully unified, which makes my job much more pleasant.

Mathieu VIENNE / Pastry Chef Nyon

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
In March 2013, I joined the international team charged with making sweet products in the Laboratory in Morangis (91), taking up the role of Assistant International Sweet Chef. After spending 3 years in Morangis, I moved to the Nyon Laboratory in Switzerland in February 2016, where I was promoted to Pastry Chef. 
My experience as Assistant International Sweet Chef was essential in making the move to Switzerland. 

You were given the opportunity to be a big player in the opening of several new laboratories: tell us a little about that. 
I was given the chance to participate in the opening of several new Patisserie Laboratories across the world. 
I worked on the opening and/or reconfiguration of Laboratories in Qatar, Monaco, Thailand, Panama, and Canada. 
Working with so many different nationalities was an extremely enriching experience. Our partners are always very invested in and interested by the knowledge we’re giving them. It makes for a fascinating cultural experience. 
 In Qatar, we reorganised a pre-existing Laboratory as well as launching the patisserie range in Qatar Airlines First and Business Class. We went from making 150 cakes a day to 1800. 
I worked on opening a Ladurée terrace in Monaco – I was brought in to advise on placement of the viennoiseries range, and the ice creams – neither of which had been sold in Monaco before. There was already a Laboratory there, but it only made macarons and pastries. 
For the opening of our Corner+ in Thailand, I requested that I be accompanied by another pastry chef from the Morangis Laboratory – this gave him a fantastic opportunity to see all the ins and outs of an international launch.
All of our openings follow the same procedure: we make contact with the partners to discuss the reorganisation or structuring of the Laboratory. Then we decide what we need in terms of ingredients, materials, and personnel (recruitment and training). We source the ingredients either in France or in the country itself, and carry out lots of taste tests – we need to make sure that there is continuity in the quality of our products, using the Paris flagship model as a base. We work to ensure that we offer the same product to our clients all over the world. We have a set of house rules that we apply internationally, and we train our partners in Ladurée techniques. 
My biggest challenge so far was opening the Laboratory in Panama. At the time, I didn’t speak very good English. But as it was quite a hands-on job, I managed to get by and everything worked out well. 
I have been given the chance to do many placements all over the world to audit different Laboratories or to participate in special events such as weddings and VIP birthdays. 
Each experience has been very different, but all have been incredibly enriching. 

How do you transmit our French savoir-faire to international partners? 
Pastry-making is a manual job, and anyone doing it will have the same set of base skills that they learned in their initial training. 
French patisseries are the most famous in the world. Because of this, many international schools actually teach French techniques. 
Our partners often have a good base knowledge of French patisserie techniques, so our role is to refine these in line with Ladurée’s specific savoir-faire. 
Our recipes are all created by the research and development teams, so all that the pastry chefs need to do is apply their knowledge to making these products. 

What do you think of the opportunities we offer our partners in terms of national and international mobility? 
The more ambitious you are, the further you will go at Ladurée, be that nationally or internationally. There are no limits. 
We have branches on five continents, which allows for lots of wonderful opportunities and fantastic progression.

Joris THEYSSET / Apprenti pâtissier Morangis

What made you want to work at Ladurée? 
First of all, I made an open application to the Morangis Laboratory. I was then contacted by the HR department. The luxe image and prestige of the Ladurée name is known across the world, which is what made me want to work for them. I already knew a lot about their products, having tasted them many times in Ladurée stores. 

Why did you want to do an apprenticeship as part of your studies? 
I thought it would be interesting to study via an apprenticeship because it would teach me the practical techniques of pastry-making. Getting to see the everyday responsibilities of the job was important in my progression, and it made my studies seem much more concrete. I don’t think you can study a manual trade without putting it into practice. I have a real need to move when I work. I have always been passionate about patisseries, so it was an obvious choice for me to come and work in a laboratory. 

How was your apprenticeship with Ladurée? 
My apprenticeship was excellent. At the start I was a little shy, but I quickly grew more confident in myself and my work. I grew a lot over the course of my apprenticeship, which really stands to me now – I overcame my shyness. Over the year, I had the chance to work at every station – the oven, the workstation, desserts, decoration, ice cream, adding finishing touches (both day and night). 
I spent one month at each post, which was very interesting. I think the “oven” station was my favourite, as we did a lot of poaching. 
Working with Ladurée has given me the chance to work with some really exceptional products. When you are dealing with this kind of material, you become very focused and meticulous. I thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship year – the Laboratory has a wonderfully warm atmosphere and is a pleasure to work in.

What did you gain from working under a mentor this year? 
My mentor, Mr Bertrand Bernier, Head of the Laboratory, was always very encouraging. It really is thanks to him that I was able to grow so much. To congratulate me on my work, he has offered me two internships at Belloeur (one under Guillaume Mabilleau, MOF pastry chef, and the other in the Chocolate department). 
Any time I had questions about my technical training or supervised activity, my mentor always gave me good advice, which put me in a strong position to deal with the challenges I faced in the Laboratory. 

You were chosen as the “Best Pastry Apprentice 2016”. What were Ladurée looking for when they were making their decision? 
They took into account your grades, level of work, attitude, diligence, and teamwork. 

To what extent will your apprenticeship help you when you move into a permanent job? 
It has allowed me to prove myself in the Laboratory environment and to prove what I’m capable of. 
I plan on continuing my career progression with Ladurée, as they have just offered me a contract. I’m over the moon!

Raphael TRONCIN / Assistant Operations Manager, Ladurée Luxembourg

You joined the Ladurée team as an intern, and now you’re Assistant Operations Manager for all of Luxembourg – what a journey! Can you tell us a little more about it? 
My Ladurée adventure began when I interned in the Printemps Haussmann restaurant. At the end of my apprenticeship, they offered me the job of Assistant Maître d’hôtel, which I immediately accepted. I was moved from the Printemps branch to a larger post as Maître d’hôtel in the Champs-Elysées branch, where I stayed for one year. Then, at the start of 2016, my boss offered me the chance to transfer to Luxembourg (to help another employee with their operations) before offering me the job of Assistant Operations Manager. 

What did you need to do to take up an international post? 
I didn’t actually follow a specific path in order to move abroad. The year that I spent as Maître d’hôtel on the Champs-Elysées gave me the chance to oversee all the external services carried out in Paris. That then led to the opportunity to work on a big external services project in a castle in Germany. After that, I was asked to transfer to Luxembourg for a few weeks, which resulted in my being given the role of Assistant Operations Manager.

What do you think of Ladurée’s growth potential, both nationally and internationally? 
I think that national and international growth routes at Ladurée are very interesting. Given the extensive development that the brand has enjoyed all over the world, and the innumerable branches open in France and abroad, mobility is definitely available to motivated employees, if you ask for it. 

How did you prepare for your new role? 
I didn’t really have much time to prepare for the role. I arrived in Luxembourg on the 28th April 2016, and I was named Assistant Operations Manager on the 1st June 2016. Nevertheless, during this time I was able to put to good use all that I had learnt during my apprenticeship at Ladurée. I was given training by my boss, who talked me through my goals and explained what the essential components of good operations are.

Amandine FEVRE / Station Chef, Royale

What made you want to work at Ladurée? 
Since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated by the world of restaurants – each family meal out was a wonderful experience, but also a learning curve. One particular luncheon at Ladurée Champs-Elysées stuck in my mind – the cuisine was young and playful, and formed a perfect symbiosis with the old, luxurious architecture of the boutique itself. I felt like I was travelling through time and space. 
After I got my Bac, I didn’t hesitate in applying to this internationally renowned institution, to a post in the mother store on the rue Royale. 

Tell us about your journey, beginning with your apprenticeship. 
After my second year of high school, I didn’t see the point in continuing with my general studies – my passion for cooking was too strong! So I got behind the stove and built upon my natural fervour before deciding to refine my technical skills. I enrolled in a professional school, where I followed a two-year course. After getting my qualification, my application to Ladurée rue Royale was accepted. I started as a commis chef, which enabled me to get my foot on the ladder and to gain confidence in myself and my work. It was a tiring apprenticeship and a real learning experience. Our Chef instilled a true team spirit in us every day. This training and my own skills gave me the necessary tools to climb the Ladurée career ladder. I can only be thankful of every experience I have had, because being a Station Chef at 22 is an incredibly satisfying position to be in.

What do you enjoy in your role as Station Chef at Ladurée? 
I love how varied the job is. Over the years I have become very versatile, and I now have the opportunity to work on all of the Ladurée menus at whatever station I choose, there’s no set routine, every day is different, and each task you are faced with teaches you something new. I had the honour of devising an environmentally friendly menu that doesn’t skimp on produce and, importantly, changes each season. Being able to work with independent suppliers has shown me how we can reduce the number of steps between producer and consumer. This has furthered my love of food and of great raw produce. 

Do you see yourself working abroad, and what do you think of the mobility opportunities at Ladurée? 
International mobility is certainly something I have thought about – I think it’s important to take new experiences as they can only help you grow and give you the chance to experience new things. I think that mobility within Ladurée is very interesting; being able to share your experience with other Ladurée teams around the world is beneficial to us all.

Eva PETEUIL / Store Manager, Orly

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
I joined Ladurée in 2008 as a salesperson in the Champs-Elysées store. 
The next year I joined the order service team during the end-of-year holidays, before becoming Chief Salesperson and Order Service Coordinator. 
 Then I was promoted to Store Assistant in the Champs-Elysées store, where they offered me the chance to manage the Ladurée sales point at the Carrousel du Louvre for a year. 
When I came back from maternity leave, they offered me the post of Store Manager at Orly, which I immediately accepted. 

What skills do you think you need to be Store Manager in an airport? 
You need to be able to consider the scale of the sales points you’ll be dealing with – currently 6 at Orly, but I hope there will be more soon. We work for “the Orly branch” of Ladurée, so sometimes we have certain obligations to Parisian stores. 
You must be pragmatic; knowing when to anticipate certain events is important. Versatility is essential. I would also say that it’s incredibly important to listen to your team and practice a participatory management style.

Was your Parisian experience essential? 
My Parisian experiences have been very useful in terms of bringing the knowledge I gained there to my sales teams and managers here. 

Do you see yourself working abroad, and what do you think of the mobility opportunities at Ladurée? 
Working abroad? 
Why not! Why would I limit myself when I’m on a good career track? 
Having both airport and Paris branch experience makes you very versatile – you can deal with different problems and know how to react quickly. 
The Ladurée group is always growing, and I think that recruiting personnel trained in Paris sites or French airports could be very beneficial for our international branches.

Sarah LALOUM / Assistant Maître d’hôtel, Printemps

Tell us about your Ladurée journey. 
I was recruited by Ladurée Champs-Elysées in February 2015 as a Welcome Hostess. 
In May of the same year I was promoted to Assistant Welcome Manager, where I oversaw a team of 7 hostesses. 
I was given the chance to move to Ladurée Printemps Haussmann, where I worked as Welcome Manager, then as Assistant Maître d’hôtel. 
Now, I’m back working at the Champs-Elysées as Maître d’hôtel. 

You have worked in several services and operations over the course of your time here – what makes you want to stay with Ladurée? 
It has been very interesting to discover different operations. I had the chance to work in the mammoth Champs-Elysées store, then in Printemps-Haussmann, which is more human-sized! The Printemps store had a regular clientele, which was nice. We were very close with our customers and grew to understand their needs and wants. The team was small, which meant you all got to know each other better. The team was always very supportive of each other.
Working at Printemps gave me the chance to develop my technical skills as well as my management style. 
I was pleasantly surprised by my Printemps experience. I became very attached to our customers, and the team I worked with. I am very proud of the products we offer our clients. 
I was lucky enough to work under bosses who were very keen to share their knowledge and advice. 
In my journey from Welcome Hostess to Maître d’hôtel, I gained a new global vision of many different services, and how they link together. Each service has a role to play in ensuring our customers have the best experience. 

What skills are needed to provide a quality service to clients? 
The most important thing is to listen to the needs of the client. 
Then, you need to know how to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Wanting to make them happy necessarily leads to a higher quality of service. 
It’s the little details that allow us to provide a quality service. 
Personally, I love seeing customers who are delighted with the service they have received.

Lucie LEROY / Pastry Chef, Morangis

What made you want to work with Ladurée? 
I had just arrived in Paris after working in a Michelin 3-star restaurant. I wanted to learn more about “boutique” patisseries, which are very different than what I had worked on before. I quickly found that the most important thing in my job was to be versatile. Claire Heitzler, Head of Patisserie Creation at Ladurée, was looking for collaborators for her R&D (Research and Development) tem. The chance to work for a luxury pastry chef grabbed me immediately. Every day I aim to make my creations as beautiful as possible. That’s what I love about my job. 

How did you settle in? 
For one week I was in “cross training”, which meant working at different posts in the Pastry Laboratory and seeing how they all work together, which was very enriching. After that, I found settling into the team relatively easy.

Tell us a little about the products you work with on a day-to-day basis. 
What I love about R&D is that there is no routine. Every day is a new task, a new challenge, a new recipe to research, a new technique to learn. And once you think you’ve found what you’re looking for, you need to ask “Can we make this in large quantities?”, “How will we make it?”. In my eyes, the most important thing about this job is to exchange ideas with the rest of the team to maximise the product’s potential. We’ve just finished designing our pastries and macarons for St Valentine’s Day. Now, on to Easter!

Elisa DARMON / Administrative Apprentice, Champs-Elysées

What made you want to work with Ladurée? 
The level of prestige, renown, and reputation were exactly what I was looking for. 

Why did you want to do an apprenticeship as part of your studies? 
While doing my Hotel Catering training, I realised that internships were the way to bring my skills into the real world. It seemed sensible to finish my business school training with a vocational course. Vocational training links your studies with the reality of the working world. These days, that kind of training gives you an edge with recruiters.

You have been an apprentice for two years now – after one year in the commissary, you joined the administrative services on the Champs-Elysées. Tell us about these two experiences. 
My first year in the commissary was very enriching because it taught me a trade that I had never done before but that was nevertheless essential business knowledge. Working early mornings (6-6.30am starts) with diverse internal and external contractors was extremely good training. 
The commissary taught me the importance of being rigorous across many different domains. This year, in my administrative role, I’m seeing a different side of the business (cash flows and human resources). It’s an all-reaching job that allows me to be in contact with many operational services as well as the employees in the Champs-Elysées branch. 

To what extent will your apprenticeship help you when you move into a permanent job? 
My apprenticeship has gotten me noticed as a fully-fledged member of the team. I will leave my internship with 3 years of brand experience and insider knowledge of the company’s ins and outs. I have been trained in line with Ladurée’s specific qualities and values, and have been consistently evaluated by them on the basis of my vocational skills. 
Having experience of several services will hopefully allow me to move into a new role in the business, should the opportunity present itself.