In the fourth of a series of stories about Les Roches alumni, we visit Chalet Ciro in London, run by class of 2016 graduate, Luigi Fummo. Luigi combined his passion for cooking with everything he learned at Les Roches to take his family business around the world.
Name: Luigi Fummo
Current position: Manager, Chalet Ciro, London
Les Roches program: BBA in Global Hospitality Management with a specialization in Entrepreneurship
Graduation year: 2016
The story starts 1000 kilometres south of Les Roches Bluche, in Naples, where Luigi’s family have run a restaurant for over 60 years. “I’ve always worked for my family, they have a restaurant and bar and we’re very proud of what we have built over the years in Naples”, says Luigi. “It’s something I grew up with, it makes me very happy and proud.”
Luigi was drawn to Les Roches by the perfect balance of professional studies and multiculturalism. “At Les Roches, standards are very high, I was excited about the possibility of getting to know new cultures and making friends with people from all around the world.”
Attending Les Roches was part of Luigi’s plan to take his family business around the world. He knew it would give him the skills and experience he needed, through the expert faculty and professional internships.
Taking the family business worldwide
Attending Les Roches was part of Luigi’s plan to take his family business around the world. He knew it would give him the skills and experience he needed, through the expert faculty and professional internships. “I studied a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management with a specialisation in Entrepreneurship”, Luigi said. “My two internships were very important. I had the opportunity to experience and see new things.”
Internships are a key part of life at Les Roches, allowing students to apply the knowledge they’ve gained in the real world. The school’s strong relationships with international brands in hospitality and beyond, ensure students are highly sought after by employers on graduation day.
Setting up in the home of hospitality
After graduating in 2016, Luigi chose the hospitality capital of the world as the first location outside of Italy for his family business. Chalet Ciro opened in June 2017 in Putney, south west London (go if you can!), offering locals a sweet taste of Naples, from Italian pastries to Gelato. “It’s now time for our traditional products and Chalet Ciro to be recognised abroad by as many people as possible”, Luigi said.
Les Roches gave me the opportunity to complete all the bureaucratic steps needed to open a new business, particularly when it came to opening one overseas and understanding new markets.
The knowledge needed to start a business
Passion and talent are essential ingredients for any restaurateur, but when it comes to starting a new business, strategy, administration and management skills are all equally important. This knowledge is particularly useful when opening a business outside your home country, where language, local legislation and property regulations all add a degree of complexity.
Luigi is clear about the preparation Les Roches provided for his business venture. “Les Roches gave me the opportunity to complete all the bureaucratic steps needed to open a new business, particularly when it came to opening one overseas and understanding new markets.”
Management has its rewards
Business is booming, but as with any new business, there have been some challenges for Luigi to negotiate. “The main difficulties I have encountered here in London have been entering a new market that is not yet familiar with my products.” In his spare time away from Chalet Chiro, Luigi likes to take in the city and relax with family, friends and his girlfriend, Chiara, who he met while studying at Les Roches.
Luigi is confident he made the right decision and is enjoying taking the family business abroad. “The thing I like most about managing Chalet Chiro in London is the close contact I have with my staff and clients”, he said. “I encourage them to try the things I’m proud of such as our ice cream and Graffa (Neapolitan Doughnuts). They like all of them a lot.”
I learned a lot at Les Roches. I learned about professionalism, Les Roches has been the most important experience of my life. Definitely.
Next stop, the world
London is just the first of many locations for Luigi, with Chalet Ciro already on its way to becoming a truly international brand. “My plans for the future are certainly to continue bringing our products to Chalet Ciro to new destinations”, Luigi says. “I will follow the openings in Bangkok and Dubai with interest.”
For Luigi, Les Roches has played an essential part in helping him take Chalet Ciro, and his passion, around the world. “I learned a lot at Les Roches. I learned about professionalism, Les Roches has been the most important experience of my life. Definitely.”
You can visit Chalet Ciro in London, and see where it all began at the Fummo family restaurant in Naples.
Check out more alumni success stories in our other videos in this series:
- Cajetan Araujo – Using Leadership to Build a Hotelier Career
- Shagun Mehra – Becoming a Top TV Chef in India
- Chiquita and Sumit Gulati – Co-founding a Restaurant