August is almost over (again), bringing about the start of a new semester at Les Roches. As I follow the Facebook feed of many friends returning to Les Roches, two emotions surfaced: first, of how I would love to be there with them; and second, of that excitement leading up to the moment I first arrived in Bluche.
It has been exactly one year since I first set foot in Les Roches – leaving the comfortable life I had in Australia to pursue a lifelong dream of being in the hospitality industry. There were hesitations at first, considering the high cost of tuition, the risk of changing career and the culture shock of moving from the city to the mountains… On my first week, as I sat at the marketplace looking into the kitchen, I wondered if I was better off working in the industry directly instead of coming to school.
However, these fears eased off as I started making friends with people from around the world – Italy, France, China, India, Russia, Mexico… Everyone was friendly as we began breaking the ice over drinks. Thereafter, we were thrown into the deep sea – in both classroom and operations – learning how to serve in a fast-paced environment; mass cooking production for 800 hungry guests; flambé and carving; creating our own cocktails… all of which were new experiences for someone who has always been working behind a computer screen in an office.
In addition to school, we had the opportunity to travel so much together. Our first trip was to the makeshift beach, Etang Long, at Crans-Montana, followed by weekend trips to Sion. We also participated in trips organized by the school, including a gastronomy tour of cheese and chocolate as well as a day trip to the Matterhorn and even a beautiful 12-course lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant!
While being exposed to hospitality operations, I also had a chance to create so many beautiful memories with a group of multicultural people whom I’ve learned to call friends over the year.
In retrospect, going back to that very day I had my doubts about whether leaving everything I knew for Switzerland was the right choice. But I would say that it has been a great choice, for it has led me down a different path – one that is filled with greater possibilities, meeting of very interesting people and an opportunity to positively impact more people’s lives.