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Registration is now open for the 5th edition of the award, so highly acclaimed by the profession.


Registration is now open for the 5th edition of the award, so highly acclaimed by the profession.

Category: Europe - France - Industry economy - Careers - Exclusive experiences - Recruitment / Job / Training Associations and Unions Calendar
Article written by Sylvie Leroy on 2024-04-23

launch of the 5th Trophée du Maître d'Hôtel

The 5th Trophée du Maître d'Hôtel was launched on Monday 22 April in the Haute Couture lounge of the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris.
Photo credit © Sylvie Leroy / Journal des Palaces

At the press conference to launch the 5th Trophée du Maître d'Hôtel, held this Monday morning, 22 April, in the Salon Haute Couture of the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris, the five founders outlined the three objectives of the biennial competition, organised to promote the value of the restaurant service professions: transmission, innovation and excellence.

This mission is essential to defend and give recognition to the professions of service and to show their importance in a restaurant. Front-of-house staff bring their expertise to the table to not only showcase the work of the kitchens, but also boost sales and build customer loyalty.

Created in 2015 by five enthusiasts, Denis Férault, MOF Maître d'hôtel and headmaster of the Lycée Paul Augier in Nice, Patrick Chauvin, MOF Maître d'hôtel, teacher, Lycée hôtelier Sainte-Anne, Saint-Nazaire, Denis Courtiade, restaurant manager, Plaza Athénée, Paris, Hervé Parmentier, Restaurant Manager, Pierre Gagnaire Paris, and Stéphane Trapier, Restaurant Manager, La Tour d'Argent Paris, the professional association Service à la Française invites all professional maîtres d'hôtel, chefs de rang, sommeliers... to register today to take part in the 5th Trophée du Maître d'Hôtel.

The central role of the maître d'hôtel

The dynamic organisers are emphasising the importance of mastering the highly technical aspects of fine service, a service that is once again taking pride of place in restaurants. Indeed, the central role of the maître d', whatever the category of restaurant, is increasingly mentioned in the media during interviews or reports. This is something the association would like to see more of, to promote the value of these professions.

The Trophée's philosophy is to show that, given a perfectly written subject and a framework given to the participants, and with all the tools at their disposal, they can sublimate a technical gesture and service, always with a touch of personality

André Terrail, owner and CEO of La Tour d'Argent, is the illustrious patron of this year's event. He shares his definition of room service: "We are the relays of emotion between our craftsmen and our customers. Service and its ceremonial, from the simplest hospitality to the most sophisticated service, contribute to the renown of French gastronomy. It's a rich, living heritage, and it's up to us to keep it alive."

The 2025 edition underlines the objective of transmission with a great new feature: the creation of the Espoir & Transmission Trophy, reserved for apprentices aged 16 to 20 (apprentices, school pupils, students). Each team will be made up of a young person, their teacher, and a mentor. This new trophy will be launched at the start of the new school year in September, with the aim of inspiring new vocations.

A show-stopping final

To share the best the profession has to offer, the Trophée du Maître d'Hôtel is the only competition dedicated to service professions with a final open to the public. The partnership with GL Events provides a great showcase for these professions at the SIRAH in Lyon, with 300 people able to attend the four-hour event and support the finalists.

To take the experience of sharing even further, the public can take part in their own way: while the candidates work on the written test, spectators can watch the same questions being asked and win prizes if they answer correctly.

The jury is made up of around thirty seasoned professionals from the industry: chefs de rang, maîtres d'hôtel, restaurant managers, etc. Interviewed by the Journal des Palaces after the press conference, Denis Courtiade stressed the importance, to enhance the value of the competition, of the juries having sufficient experience and expertise, as well as being well-known personalities. Candidates are proud to have recognised professionals in front of them. Of course, being in the non-profit sector, the members of the jury are also people of goodwill, available and willing, with a desire to contribute or, in the case of former participants, to give back what the Trophy has given them.

Since the first edition in 2017, more than 300 candidates have applied. All profiles - over the age of 23 - can take part, from France or abroad, regardless of restaurant category. This diversity is reflected in the finalists, who come from palaces and bistros alike.

A formidable career accelerator

In their feedback, the participants highlight the human adventure, the great mutual support, the benevolence and good humour of the jury, the confidence-building that takes place and the acceleration of their careers. Denis Courtiade insists on this last point: all the winners of the trophy obtained a position as manager after their victory. "The trophy has put them on the radar. They are also seen as having a winning attitude, which makes a company want to contact them. There's also the benefit of our own network: we spend time with them and get to know them better as they progress through the competition. We keep in touch with all those who have taken part, so we can recommend them. That's what the competition is all about: there's the personal side, of course, of surpassing yourself and winning, but there's also the opportunity to make yourself known to the profession, with the media covering the event and talking about the participants. We provide support and mutual assistance, and in doing so, we create a real community and a solid network".

The winner of the 1st edition, Elsa Jeanvoine, went on to become a MOF, and is now manager at the Auberge de la Poutre in Bonlieu and the Azimut in Courchevel. Diane Blanch, winner of the 4th edition, is now restaurant manager of the 2* Michelin Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne.

Testimony of Corentin Gallene, winner of the 3rd edition, Restaurant Manager at Les Sources de Cheverny

Corentin Gallene, winner of the 3rd edition, spoke to the Journal des Palaces about his career in the competition, which propelled him to the position of Restaurant Manager at the age of 32. He remembers the special moments when all the players in the service industry came together:

"It's a resolutely modern and forward-looking competition. Above all, it's a fantastic career booster: I was a maître d'hôtel at the 2* Michelin Maison Rostang, then, after the trophy, I became Christophe Hay's dining room manager at the Fleur de Loire restaurant in Blois, also 2* Michelin, and I'm now manager of the restaurant at Les Sources de Cheverny.

I was very stressed on the day of the final. You have to bear in mind that the standard is very high. But the committee, the juries and the candidates quickly made me feel at ease, and I found myself back in the setting of a restaurant. I was able to express my personality and my emotions throughout the four rounds. It was a remarkable moment of kindness, while at the same time being a competition that is a driving force for the restaurant and service professions.

Preparation is very important. Both in the work on the gesture, but also in the mental preparation. As soon as the finalists were announced, I received the subjects and had almost three months to prepare. During the first month, every morning I went to the restaurant to practise for the final. In fact, you have to be very well prepared beforehand for the big day, so that you're no longer concentrating on what you're doing, but on the jury and your hosts. The gesture has to become natural, so you can express your emotions and enjoy this moment of sharing between the candidate and the jury.

My aim is to give back to the Trophy what I have experienced, what it has given me in terms of knowledge, encounters, networks and careers. For the 4th edition, I became a member of the jury. My aim is to pass on the chance to have taken part in this competition, to have won it, to the younger people who are going to take part, and to help them so that they can share in this moment too. Today, I appreciate the exchange, sharing and transmission within the association. I love these get-togethers, it's like being part of a family.

Finally, for me, the most important thing is really to take part, and everything you learn, the work you produce, the people you meet, even if you don't win! Winning is the icing on the cake, but the most important thing is to be able to interact.

I find that a lot of young people coming into the profession are very attached to it, they have this vocation within them. It's important to support them so that they retain this vocation.

It's also important to remember that our professions are fantastic social lifts. If you're passionate, curious and rigorous, you'll quickly rise to positions of responsibility, with attractive salaries and the opportunity to travel the world. Today, there are far more positives than negatives in our professions. Things are changing and we need to make young people understand that.

Do you see yourself in this dynamic, in this cohesion and in this spirit of solidarity and caring? Find out how to enter on the Trophy website!

Registration opens: Monday 22 April
Deadline for entries: 6 July 2024
Announcement of the 12 finalists: 12 July 2024
Semi-finals at the Institut Lyfe in Lyon: 28 October
Final in Lyon: 25 January 2025 at the Espace Master of the SIRHA international trade fair in Lyon

Denis Courtiade and Corentin Gallene

Denis Courtiade, co-founder of the Service à la Française association, and Corentin Gallene, winner of the 3rd edition, emphasise the tremendous career accelerator effect of the Trophy.
Photo credit © Sylvie Leroy / Journal des Palaces

The co-founders and professionals involved with the association emphasise the caring spirit of the competition
Photo credit © Sylvie Leroy / Journal des Palaces

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Service à la Française - Trophée du maître d'hôtel


About the author

Sylvie Leroy, enthusiastic publisher since 1999
Her passion for luxury hospitality, "a score perfectly performed by a fantastic orchestra" as she often says, led Sylvie Leroy to build in 2004 Journal des Palaces the sole online daily news dedicated to luxury hospitality with news, jobs, directories and resources.

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