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Home – La Gourmandista

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Categoría: Home

Love Pizza? Here one that is Delicious and Effortless

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t suddenly crave pizza as soon as you know there’s a BOGO deal out there, or on Friday evening, or on Saturday, or even on Sunday? I mean, we could all order a pizza delivery or carryout form our preferred chain, or if we are plenty lucky, the neighborhood pizzeria serving it from a wood-fired oven and with our ingredients of choice. In reality, it’s not always what we’re craving. We sometimes want to prepare them ourselves at home, and why not, include everyone in the family in the feat.

Now, this pizza dough recipe requires very little. However, there are a couple VERY important requirements I will insist on: TIME and a SCALE. And even when you could prepare the dough using measuring cups and spoons, I will totally insist on using the scale as this will help you obtain the best result possible.

Pizza Dough

Having this recipe at hand requiring so little effort will make everyone help out to prepare delicious homemade pizzas.

  • Medium bowls
  • Silicone spatula or wooden spoon
  • pizza stone
  • Pizza Peel
  • 115 g. all-purpose flour
  • 1 g. instant yeast
  • 5 g. sugar
  • 5 g. salt
  • 2.5 ml. olive oil
  • 80 g. water at room temperature (25°C or 70°F approximately)
  • olive oil or cooking spray for the bowl
  1. Prepare this dough before shaping. For better flavor development, rest for 12 to 24 hours.

  2. In a medium bowl mix the flour, instant yeast, sugar, and salt. Form a well and in the middle hole add the water and olive oil. With a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon, incorporate the flour into the liquids little by little to hydrate the dry ingredients and form a dough. This will take about 20 seconds. It should come off from the bowl, but still be a little sticky. It won't be silky smooth, though. The texture will still be a little rough and that's fine.

  3. Knead with your hands for about 3 to 4 minutes to integrate the lot and make it a homogeneous dough.

  4. Let the dough grow. Smear a little oil to a second bowl (you may spray it with some cooking spray if you'd rather) and place the dough ball in. Toss the ball around the bowl to cover all its surface with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest on top of the kitchen counter for at least 1 hour and up to 24. It should at least double it size.

  5. For better flavor development, prepare the dough at least 12 hours prior to its use. I like resting my dough for 24 hours in the refrigerator, and later on I let it soften and come to temperature on the counter for 1 hour.

  6. While the dough is resting, prepare the tomato sauce, if you're using, as well as the toppings you'll be dressing your pizza with. Remember that you should cook all toppings ahead, as the time the pizza will be in the oven won't be enough for them to be cooked through.

  7. Preheat your oven at 260 °C (500 °F) one hour before you want to put your pizza in. Place an oven rack at the highest position possible and then place a pizza stone or a baking sheet upside down if you don't have a stone or a baking steel.

  8. Dust your working surface with a little flour and take the dough out of the bowl. Lightly punch the gas out and form a disk with the dough. If you'd rather use a rolling pin, you may do so as well. Extend the dough as thin as you wish. If the dough bounces back or it's difficult to work with, let it rest for a few more minutes. Use additional flour, as need there'd be, to avoid the dough from sticking to the table.

  9. Dust a pizza peel or a second upside-down baking sheet with some cornmeal and place the dough disk on top. Smear a little olive oil on the dough, add the tomato sauce and whatever toppings you've chosen, and finish off with some cheese. Cautiously shake the pizza peel or the baking sheet -whatever you're using- to be sure the pizza is not sticking to the surface and you can slide it into the oven.

  10. Deslice suavemente la pizza sobre la piedra para hornear caliente y hornee durante unos 5 minutos o hasta que el queso se derrita y la corteza esté bien dorada.

You may use different kinds of flour, such as 00, all-purpose, or bread. A good recommendation to begin variations in the pizza texture is to use 50/50 ratio of 00 and bread flour. 

Main Course
Italian
pizza, pizza dough

A Chipotle Shrimp or Lobster Roll?

This Summer I have been revisiting the classics. I think that my Cooking Me is evolving and is now appropriating recipes I hadn’t had the courage to modify before. And in the same way as we’ve been doing at home for the last couple of years the tuna tostadas arrive to the table just as the Summer begins all the way to the last rays of sun in the Fall, the last couple of months I have been in a seafood salad mode. It’s all been about the ceviches, the tiraditos, and the seafood salads. Therefore, today I want to share the last version of the shrimp roll I prepared that tweaks the one I ate in the New England coast a long time ago and which had been made with lobster. I must confess, however, that finding lobster tails was impossible for some strange reason, so I decided to make them with shrimp. It seems everyone in the neighborhood had the same wicked lobster craving I had, so, I decided to change it up a bit more.

Chipotle Shrimp Roll

With shrimp, lobster, or whatever you have at hand, but this roll is one you must try.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Pairing knife
  • Peeler
  • Medium Pot
  • Immersion blender with its glass
  • Medium bowl
  • Salad serving utensils
  • 500 g. jumbo shrimp (peeled, cooked, and diced)
  • 2 sticks celery (peeled and finely diced)
  • ¼ cup fennel (peeled and finely diced)
  • ¼ cup radishes (finely diced)
  • parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 piece lime (the juice)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 piece chipotle chili in adobo
  • 4 pieces hot dog buns (New England style)
  1. In the glass of a food processor or an immersion blender (being the latter my personal choice), add the mayonnaise and the chipotle chili in adobo. Pulse until both ingredients blend and incorporate fully. If you'd rather, you may do the mayonnaise from scratch, but it isn't necessary if you don't want to.

  2. Add the cooked shrimp and the vegetables to a medium bowl and bind everything with the mayonnaise and lime juice. Season with a little salt and enjoy in a bun, but… among us friends, you should know that you can also put the salad on some crunchy corn tostadas and it will work perfectly.

  3. By the way, if you'd rather make them with lobster, I suggest using between 3 and 4 lobster tails for this recipe, depending on the size.

Sandwich
American
lobster roll, my recipes, New England, shrimp roll, summer

On the Original Caesar’s Salad, Homemade

As a child, I used to when the Maître D’ would to come to our table and do something. I didn’t mind if he prepared a salad, a flambéed dessert, or if he only came to cut the piece of meat my parents had had asked for and would share. My curiosity was enormous, and I must say I thought it was delightful. Of course, at each restaurant I would have my own personal favorite. There was the place where I liked to ask for strawberries jubilée. Somewhere else, my choice would always be a zabaglione. Nonetheless, the Caesar’s Salad might have been the ultimate favorite. It was something we never prepared at home. It was something simple, yet for me it was a show in itself. As a matter of fact, I remember my father once told me it wasn’t but lettuce with cheese and a few slices of bread.

It called my attention that I could find it here and there nation-wide, as well as abroad. Nevertheless, there was something inside me that complained, for it was never prepared just as we did it back home. Someone -which might have been my mother- told me it had been invented in Mexico.

In time, I was able to confirm the information, and even learned that it wasn’t just Mexican, but from Tijuana. As I had never been there before, I hadn’t been able to taste the original version. Now, last Spring, I was able to go there to visit my stepdaughter. She made it our first stop in the trip. It was like traveling in time.

Once you get there, the charriot in charge of traveling from one table to the next is right in front of you, and it’s loaded up with ingredients to prepare the famous salad. Here, the main difference with my experience as a child is that everyone at the restaurant knows how to prepare it as per the house’s recipe. Evidently, I asked for mine. I confirmed that my ingredient list is correct. I noted some slight differences. For example: I don’t add garlic to mine. I always put yellow mustard instead of Dijon. I use the whole egg, whereas at the restaurant they only use the yolk. I do add an anchovy filet and I asked why they don’t. I was reassured that the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce has anchovy and therefore it isn’t necessary. I admit that the result is quite similar, but I guess that if I want to imitate the original dish, I must slightly modify my recipe. Among us friends, I will change the type of mustard immediately, for I like more the French rather than the English sauce.

Once we were served our salads, I asked the garçon which of all legends regarding the creation of the salad was the one considered as the real one by the organization. He honestly didn’t give me a straight answer. However, he did confirm though the “official legends”. But before I go into the nitty gritty of the gossip, let me tell you a bit about the history of the man who allegedly created it, and obviously, the gossip.

The Caesar’s restaurant is located on Avenida Revolución, in downtown Tijuana, Baja California. It’s actually no that far from the Mexico-United States international border. The place was founded by an Italian-born restaurateur named Cesare Cardini. He had originally migrated to California from Italy, but he then decided to press his luck in the Mexican border city as he was escaping from the alcohol prohibition in place in the United States in 1919 after the 18th Amendement made to the Constitution became effective. Said law prohibited all alcoholic beverages from being consumed, thus giving the city of Tijuana the chance to live years of glory and abundance. It also became a place that the American society cherished, as everyone started to cross the border to go party.

Evidently, then, just as now, festivities for the 4th of July are an opportunity for all Americans to celebrate, and obviously, crossing the border when not even a beer was allowed would be mandatory if one would want to party with the refreshing beverage in one’s hand. Therefore, Mr. Cardini, having his restaurant open and continuously full, started to run out of ingredients. Among one of the popular legends, it is said that a group of aviation officials arrived, and having nothing to offer them, Alex Cardini, brother of Cesare, and who was in charge of the kitchen the day in question, mixed the ingredients that today make up the famous salad and the rest is history.

Another legend says, that yes, there wasn’t much to offer guests, and the idea came from one of the servers, also from Italian origin, and whose mother used to prepare said recipe back home in Italy. As they saw everything was available in the pantry, the Cardini family prepared it, and then appropriated themselves with the recipe.

The last one of the stories was in fact the one our server told us. I honestly felt it was even more fascinating, as when I asked if the legend was true, he immediately started to narrate it and I didn’t stop him. We just listened and sat there with our mouths wide open. It is said that among the rich and famous who visited the Caesar’s restaurant there was a lady who always came by the restaurant and ordered it. She used to like it so much, she would go to different places around the World and ask for the dish to be reproduced. Her name: Wallis Simpson. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the same lady who was originally from Baltimore, Maryland and who turned upside down the English Crown… to the point that the new king, Charles III, sits at the throne because of the marriage of Mrs. Simpson and the king who abdicated the crown, Edward VIII, his great uncle.

See? I told you the gossip was good. Anyhow, God knows which one of them all is the true story of the Caesar Salad. Maybe in each one of them there is a little bit of truth. The best of it is that even when the place had fallen into ruins, Javier Plascencia, a chef originally from Tijuana and a great representative of the region and its cuisine, together with this family, who’s in charge of a restaurant group, decided to rescue the place that today vibrates with the rest of the city and carries on reminding us that THIS IS the place of birth of one of the most emblematic dishes of the Western Cuisines of the 20th Century.

Lastly, I read somewhere that the Cardini family, upon their return to the United States had sold the recipe to make a bottled version of the dressing. And yes, curiosity killed the cat and I looked for it at a local supermarket. I found it, we tested it, and the consensus at home was that we prefer the homemade version or that of the restaurant.

Here, I share with you the brief video I recorded that day. Then, you’ll find the recipe I usually make at home whenever I can’t go all the way to Tijuana.

The Recipe

Homey Caesar Salad

The classical dish served at the Caesar's Hotel in Tijuana in a version that my mind recreated from memories of my childhood and restaurants from the 80s in Mexico City.

  • small pot
  • small bowls
  • Salad bowl
  • Fork
  • Whisk
  • Kitchen Tongs
  • cheese grater
  • 2-3 leaves lettuce (romaine)
  • 1 filet anchovy
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ lime (the juice)
  • 3 TBSP. olive oil (extra virgin (approximately))
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano (finely grated)
  • 2-3 bread croutons
  1. In a small pot with water, add an egg and let it come to a boil. As soon as the boiling starts, leave for one minute and bring it out. Submerge the egg in iced water to stop the cooking. (By the way, you may also use the raw egg, but be careful. Also, if you don't like raw eggs, this is a good option to have it partially cooked).

  2. In a big bowl or a salad bowl, and with the help of a fork, mash up the anchovy filet.

  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the lime juice, the Dijon mustard, and a teaspoon cheese.

  4. Emulsify all ingredients with the whisk.

  5. Add the soft-boiled egg and then emulsify with the olive oil using the whisk by adding the oil as necessary. The recipe asks for three tablespoons, but you may use a little more if you'd rather. Verify seasoning with salt and pepper.

  6. Roll the lettuce leaves around the salad bowl to dress them well.

  7. Serve in a plate and finish with the amount of Parmigiano Reggiano you desire. Add a few croutons.

  8. If you want to prepare the croutons yourself, a very easy way I like is to cut a few slices of baguette, smear some butter and garlic salt, or some salted garlic paste, sprinkle some grated Parmigiano Reggiano and toast them a little in the toaster oven. They come out delicious and it takes 2 minutes.

Salad
of the World
Caesar, classic, Salad

Lastly, if you go to Tijuana, don’t miss the Caesar’s. Gon and enjoy a Caesar’s Salad. The map to get there is below. Save it!

Good Cooking is Also Homemade

All human beings have to eat, to feed ourselves, to survive, and yes, some of us also do it for mere pleasure. In fact, in today’s society, professional chefs have not only found a place of privilege and admiration, but even rock-n-roll kind of fame, which might make one think that the home kitchen has also earned a special place in the family. However, if we look under the microscope, it does not seem to be the norm.

If we look at the World’s greatest chefs, we can see many of the very famous ones, such as the English Gordon Ramsey, the Spanish Ferran Adriá or even the American Julia Child, who is constantly referred to as “the woman who presented French gastronomy to her compatriots” enjoy admiration and in some cases, one could even think they are idolized by their colleagues as well. In Mexico, a little over a decade ago, names such as Enrique Olvera began to resonate, as he dared to reinterpret traditional cuisine and modernize it enough to receive international accolades.

Anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and celebrations of all kinds are a good excuse to look for a reservation if not possible in one at the dining room of any of these ‘kitchen cracks’, somewhere better suited to each person’s budget. Just see how impossible it is to get a table for Christmas parties or Valentine’s Day in many of the big cities.

And it is no secret that COVID19 made us all put these gatherings on pause for God knows how long, and that with every truce the viral waves of contagion we get, we all go out like headless chicken to the first restaurant we can. And here is where things might come a bit confusing because, even when this same situation has made us all return to our cocoons and for months we have had to feed ourselves and not go out and het it, homemade food cannot find once more that special place it had when we were young. Remember the days when the family Sunday meal took place at the grandparents’ house. We didn’t feel forced, we would rather look forward to seeing what our Nana or Auntie prepared, the wine they would serve with the taco feast or the huge paella platter. We all brought something Mom had made and proudly shared it with the family. But the mothers of my generation seem to no longer be like that. Or maybe there are just a few of them out there.

Now, I wasn’t like that either. Cooking was a weekend recreational activity. From Monday to Friday, we had a quick breakfast at home, lunch was provided by the cafeteria service of the company where we worked, and for dinner there were options that included takeout, going out to a restaurant or making a sandwich or a couple quesadillas to eat quickly in front of the TV. And life went on like this week after week. Over time and after my interest in changing professions to become a cook, the dishes I serve have become more and more homemade. Everything I cook now is from scratch and from whole ingredients mainly sourced from agricultural sources. I try not to use ultra processed products that my grandmother would not have had in her cupboard, much less in her refrigerator.

I went back to work and it seemed that the menus at home would obviously suffer. Therefore, I decided to cook on Sundays and carry on without sacrificing the quality of our dishes; much less the opportunity to continue the adventure of trying new flavors and recipes that now, due to work, I would be able to prepare.

Friends and acquaintances everywhere think that although it is a luxury to eat homemade, for them it is not worth taking the time -because you have to look for it. One has always something else to spend time on. Others think that I surely do because of my work rather than for my interest in good cooking or the gastronomic hedonism I have spread my family with. Few are those who really understand it around me. On the contrary, most only want to obtain the finished product, saying they are willing to pay for the preparations.

I find that this situation is experienced by many who, like me, also work in some area of the culinary arts or whose families enjoy good food and in the desire to share such interest with others others, they also share their know-how and even build businesses upon that know-how. Like them, I also share what I have learned, I have small gatherings with friends who have become family, hoping their families enjoy that incomparable homey flavor which have built our life stories, and thus, perhaps, one day, they’ll also miss it and try to serve these week-end meals with their loved ones wherever they decide to set their roots.

Conchas: The Favorite Mexican Sugar Bun

As a child, one of the activities that we would always do on Sunday afternoon was to stop by the bakery and buy bread for the week. My mom was usually the one in charge of the tray and the tongs. The rest of the family would wander around the hallways to see what we would fancy. Sometimes we may influence on the selection, but this wasn’t possible. We would surely add to the tray some muffins and a few croissants for supper. Now I must say that back then, conchas were not my first choice. I preferred garibaldi bundt cake muffins. In time, this has changed.

Nowadays, baking bread is something I enjoy immensely. And even when we try to not eat a lot of it in order to look after our carb and added sugars intake, conchas are an Achiles’ Heel. So, we allow ourselves to bake a batch or two throughout the year.

Conchas

The most delicious enriched bun… Well, I think that, haha!

  • Scale
  • Stand mixer
  • Hook attachment for the stand mixer
  • Plastic dough scraper
  • Big Bowl
  • Medium bowl
  • Silicone spatula
  • Pastry brush
  • Concha cutter
  • Baking sheets
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clean and dry tea towels
  • 500 g bread flour
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 9 g dry active yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ml vanilla extract
  • 200 ml whole milk
  • 8 g salt

For the sugar crust:

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 15 g cocoa powder (* optional if you want to do chocolate crusted conchas )
  • 10 g matcha green tea (* optional if you want to do matcha green tea conchas )
  • 30 ml whole milk

Prepare the dough:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine bread flour, eggs, vanilla, sugar, active dry yeast and half the amount of milk. Once everything is hydrated and integrated, add the butter, and finally add the salt.

  2. If necessary, add the rest of the milk little by little. If not, continue kneading the dough to develop the gluten until you get an elastic window pane.

First fermentation:

  1. When ready, pour into a large bowl previously greased with a little vegetable oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it slowly proof in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Second fermentation:

  1. The next day, portion the dough into balls of approximately 60 to 80 grams and cover with clean tea towels.

  2. Let them proof for an additional hour on the kitchen counter or 45 minutes in the fermentation chamber.

Prepare the sugar crust:

  1. In a bowl, mix the butter, powdered sugar, and all-purpose flour. Add a little the milk only if it's necessary.

  2. If you are going to prepare crusts with chocolate and/or matcha green tea, divide into two or three parts and add the cocoa and/or matcha green tea and a dash of milk if necessary, mixing well to make a hydrated paste that isn't either sticky or chewy.

  3. Divide the crust into enough portions to cover the buns and flatten with your hands or with a rolling pin. I regularly refrigerate the crust, in order for it to harden a little and then I flatten it with the help of the rolling pin, in between two sheets of parchment paper. (Watch from minute 20 of the video for further reference)

Finish the conchas:

  1. Brush some egg wash on top of the buns, paste the sugar crust, mark with the shell stamp if you have it on hand and dust with a little flour and sugar.

  2. Bake at 170 °C or 325 °F for approximately 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 170 °C / 325 °F

Bread Baking
Mexican
bread baking, Mexican bread baking

Below, you can watch my last batch of conchas. These are vanilla flavor and the décor I made since I have no concha stamp was with some cherry blossoms. Very adequate for the springtime.

A small difference you’ll see is that for this batch I prepared a sponge pre-ferment. In the end, there’s no difference, but you’ll have an additional approach to the recipe.

The video is in Spanish, but I have made sure to add the subtitles in English. So, activate them and enjoy.

Frankly…Pizza! Frankly conquering us all

Finding one’s favorite places to do groceries, go fill a prescription, etc. when getting settled in a new neighborhood is difficult. Fortunately, new friends begin to recommend a bit of everything and of course, local restaurants also begin to resonate, especially when people know one can be a hearty eater. We therefore set out to try the neighborhood pizzeria on a Saturday afternoon when we didn’t have many plans. As usual, we were eager to find a place that we could put on the “must see” list in our vicinity.

The restaurant is simple and unpretentious, but with a myriad of details that ought to be emphasized. At the entrance we are greeted by a lady who must not be more than 35 years old. Well, that’s what I think, but I’m not very good at calculating ages. However, I see her young. In fact, the team in general is young. It even seems that several of them might be related. Maybe. All, very happily, run with drinks, salads, pizzas and desserts to deliver to the tables they’re in charge of. The dining room’s is nonstop. Everyone, employees and guests are having a good time. A mom fights with her little angel as they don’t want to sit down and eat. She makes it happen, nonetheless. The atmosphere is quite pleasant Families are enjoying themselves.

To our surprise, sodas and iced tea like most of the casual restaurants around here are not the only kinds of beverages offered in the menu. They also have a good selection of wines, craft beers from the region, and even sodas made in-house. I notice there’s root beer, ginger beer, black cherry and even lemon sodas—all homemade. This starts off good, I thought.

The long list of pizza choices plays with the ingredients that they explain are either homemade or locally sourced. Their supplies come from the region and everything is of short supply chain. To the proposed combinations additions and eliminations to one’s choice can be make given that all pies are made to order right in front of guests, given the wood oven is there, at the end of the dining room, separating the bar from the access to the kitchen. The pizzaiolo works nonstop. The menu is full of seasonal sides and desserts, but I didn’t get to the latter. I ate too much.

In time, we have become regulars of the place. Even when on our first visit I told the owner that although I had liked her pizzas, I would have appreciated a little more oregano in the sauce. She thanked me for the comment and told me that the recipe was her mother-in-law’s. The flavor, little by little, grew on me and conquered my heart and in total honesty, I have accepted I no longer need that extra oregano that my taste buds used to ask for. That first time I noticed that some people would come in and pick up the pizzas to take home. I eventually might have done it as well and waited for them while I enjoying a glass of wine at the bar. The small restaurant was always crowded and wait times would easily be close to 45 minutes to get a table. In those pre-COVID times, they didn’t take reservations and people would patiently wait with a drink, even in Winter.

With COVID everything changed and they obviously had to close overnight. However, the harvest of years of hard work and effort by Frank Linn, his wife and the kitchen and dining room team were immediately rewarded by the community. We all started ordering online as soon as they set it up on their website. We all followed the rules put in place to maintain social distancing and everyone’s safety and well-being. The pizzas sold out in minutes, so in the midst of the madness, the uncertainty and the situation which has had us all on or toes already for almost two years, Frankly… Pizza! not only reinvented itself. They even managed to expand by taking over the adjoining store to cater exclusively to customers with takeout orders. And if there is something they have chosen not to do, it is to use home delivery services such as UberEats, Doordash and Grubhub; the most popular in the United States. In this new location, they installed a second oven which allowed them as well to double their production and thus guaranteeing not only their survival, but also the jobs of their team. The challenges have been many and nonstop. However, before the eyes of customers, they have all been overcome with intelligence and great skill. I long for the arrival of a new viral truce -but if the problem is over, even better- to go back to greet everyone in the restaurant in person and enjoy my favorites… seasonal salad, white mushroom pizza and black cherry soda. Regarding dessert, I’m sorry, but I never get to it.

Website: www.franklypizza.com

Talent Developer: The Industry-School Link You Always Dreamt About… In Paris

HR recruiters in all industries around the world often complain that school programs don’t always match what the world of work and industries require. For Talent Developer, an agency that is at the service of the professional development of students who want to enter the workplace, speaking with the HR departments is key to the professional success of young graduates in their first professional experience, which in this case , it is often outside of their country of origin.

Estrella Maillet, Founder, and Philippine Freiman, Director of Operations of the firm, are open to have a remote conversation with me from Paris, to explain what Talent Developer is and how they serve the gastronomy and luxury hotel industries, mainly. Between the two, they have more than 35 years of experience in the profession and particularly in accompanying students to liaise the teaching classroom with their first job. They assure that the key to the success of their offer, as well as that of the apprentices who frequently come to request their support to find not only an internship, but the most suitable one to be successful and build a promising future in the demanding world of luxury lies in the kind of accompaniment they provide.

What is Talent Developer?
Talent Developer is the first coaching and employment placement agency for both internships and apprenticeships in all areas of gastronomy, the restaurant industry and the hospitality industry in France, and more specifically in Paris.

Is there any other agency similar to Talent Developer around the World?

There are others who might be considered our competition around world. Nonetheless, they are not specialized agencies in our domain, meaning in helping students gain professional skills. The objective others have is, as far as we can see, more aligned with the student having the experience of working abroad that may or may not be related to their studies.

How is Talent Developer different when compared with the competition?
What sets us apart from the competition is that we place talent where we are sure they will gain the skills they require for the industry in which they want to pursue their career.

It is no secret that gastronomy in France is a reference, but is doing an internship or an apprenticeship useful for foreigners?

Yes. Having professional experience in the gastronomy or hospitality industries in France, given that there is a particular level of excellence well known in the world, allows recent graduates to become quite professional, even when they stay for a short-term. They learn and take what all this savoir-faire to their countries or even to other countries and the industry appreciates it. They recognize the French level of excellence.

¿Qué hace particular el trabajo que Ustedes hacen para que los candidatos sean exitosos en estas primeras experiencias laborales?
Professions around gastronomy are of passion. It is imperative that the young graduates find even more passion to grow into their new profession, develop skills as much as possible and thus manage to live off their passion. Our mission is to find both the right company and the right tutor for each apprentice.

It is terrible when students go back in time and tell us they left the profession because their experiences were bad.

Estrella, how did the idea of creating an agency like Talent Developer come about?

Philippine and I used to work together at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. I was the coordinator of the Bachelor’s program. As a matter of fact, It was I who created the program. Philippine was in charge of finding internships for students and dealing with alumni. The idea, back then, was to visit the tutors to follow up. To our surprise, a tutor showered our student with praise. Now this was not the best in the class, however, it was the most suitable for the company and vice versa. The tutor did not stop flattering his practitioner saying that he was the best he had ever had in his life. Unfortunately, doing this type of placement is not always possible for different reasons for both, the school and the restaurant business environment. However, at that time it became clear to us that making it personalized and with a case-by-case analysis guaranteed success and growth for everyone, especially for the students.

Must students have certain characteristics to get positions as interns or trainees?

No. Our job is to fight against the stereotypes of age, of nationality, of what is linear. We like to work with the open spirits of foreign students and what they bring. Fortunately, both the restaurant and hotel industries today are tremendously versatile and allow us to find places for all styles.

Gastronomy, Sommelier or Wine-Pairing, Hospitality, but what other careers can get internships or apprenticeships through Talent Developer?

It is true that most of our students belong to gastronomy and hospitality careers, but in reality any profession that we find in the sector can. Thus, we find positions for finance, marketing, communications, sales, human resources, and obviously, all profiles of hospitality.

How are the internships offered? Are they paid, short term?

As you know, the law in France states that professional internships will last for a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 6 for each school year. We abide by this law, regardless of where the student comes from.

Of course, our advice is that internships should ideally last from 4 to 6 months. This is because in order to understand, learn and develop the necessary skills, tutors require time. Of course, sometimes students can’t stay for many months and so we find short 2-month internships for them. However, companies prefer 6-month internships because the law requires they pay interns when the contract exceeds 2 months. Therefore, a 3-month candidate who must receive payment and who they know from the beginning won’t have the time to learn and develop enough for him to evolve and take on responsibilities isn’t as attractive.

Are all the options you offer in downtown Paris?

Most of our network is around Paris. Given that we are downtown, this allows us to visit and be in touch with employees and employers at all times. However, Estrella constantly works to develop agreements both in the region as well as nation-wide so that there are options that include free accommodation for our students as well. It is no secret that Paris is an expensive city and the 600 Euros per month pay is not enough for an apartment in the city.

How much should each student invest to be able to afford the accompanying services of Talent Developer?

It’s very attractive to come to Paris and have professional experience. And that is precisely why we work with our partners so that everyone can come and pay for it, because we know that this is an important investment.

We have packages for foreign students starting at 900 Euros. This package includes a free online interview to present the offer. If the student accepts, they will have our personal accompaniment for 10 hours in-person, including access to someone from the team who is at their disposal at any time by phone whenever they require it. We accompany them before, during and after their experience with different procedures. Also, we set up follow-up and feedback interviews at the end of the internship.

Additionally, we have created packages that provide other services for those who require them. For example, for those who need to improve their level of French, we have an agreement with the Alliance Française with a two-week immersion program in language and culture. Similarly, we have a package for those who need help with finding housing or opening a bank account with our business partners. It is real personal accompaniment for the students in order for them to have a unique and positive experience. We hope, obviously, that anyone who wants it can afford it without forgetting that the budget to currently live in the French capital is around 1500 Euros per month. Again, if this figure is unattainable, we do our best to support students and help them find something that is convenient and doable.

How can students get in touch with You?

It’s very easy. Download our app at https://app.talent-developer.com/ and create an account and profile of the person interested in our services. We need contact information and a little about the professional and personal project of the candidate. By email, they will receive an link to request an appointment for an interview. Our agendas are shared on the site, so it is a matter of finding the time slot that suits the student, as well as the language in which they prefer the interview (French, English or Spanish – these are the languages we can offer at the moment). From there, we do the interview and assess whether or not we can help the candidate and their project. We cannot assume that we have something for everyone, but we do seek to have options for everyone.

Talent Developer’s offices are on 36, rue du Mont Thabor, 75001, Paris and their contact email address is contact@talent-developer.com

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