Jessica Chelala, manager of La Pomme d’Api and Glion alumna, has just been awarded a highly-coveted Michelin star.
Following graduation from her Bachelor in Hospitality Management and Tourism at Glion Institute of Higher Education in 2003, Jessica worked in international hotels before taking the lead at La Pomme d’Api in Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Brittany, France in 2012.
With her partner Jéremie Le Calvez, she has managed to take the restaurant to the heights of culinary excellence in under two years. Trip Advisor, the go-to website for everyone who wants to know what a restaurant or hotel is really like, has the following reviews:
‘Only 1 word needed: excellent. But Trip Advisor says I need 100 characters. So, service was amazing, the description of every dish showed the passion the owners have for the food they serve and how important it is to them that guests get the most out of their visit. The flavors and presentation leave you speechless: Brittany at its best.
‘Where do I begin? Let’s start with the basics. Food was excellent! A celebration of seasonal products to a Michelin-starred quality of food. The dishes were picturesque, the flavors were taste sensations. All my guests (despite having difficult tastes) were very impressed. The portions were perfect. The wine accompaniments for the different dishes were matched perfectly.
The sweet wine that accompanied the foie gras was out of this world. Jessica, who served us has the most accommodating and patient demeanor, which, combined with her knowledge of the food being served, made everyone feel great.’
The education at Glion helped develop and nurture the skills Jessica needs to manage an establishment and implement the creation of an exceptional culinary experience.
But it also prepared her in another way, which is celebrated by the reviews: soft skills.
A recent article in Hospitality Times stated: ‘The degree of the hotel staff performance excellence will depend largely on the ability to relate, communicate, share information, motivate, listen, and empathize with the guests… what we call today the soft skills of a person.
Hospitality is the industry of interactions par excellence, and precisely soft skills allow us to interact with guests in an effective manner, ensuring greater listening, observation, approaching and empathy skills. We will be able to get to know them more deeply offering services that meet their wishes, making them feel cherished and thus included, reaching desired emotional states.
Successful Experiential Hospitality is what will make any hotel or restaurant stand out from the crowd. The focus is not merely on ‘what is offered,’ but on ‘how it is offered.’ These skills are, as the article suggests, very difficult to acquire for those who do not have them by nature, making them highly sought after by organizations.
Glion is one of a handful of academic institutions which nurtures these soft skills throughout its education and training programs. These skills are not readily picked up by students at other universities. Maybe this will change in the future. Interestingly, an increasing number of non-traditional hospitality luxury brands recruit from Glion precisely because they recognize the soft skills in the graduates there.
We warmly congratulate Jessica on receiving her first Michelin star, and are pleased that her soft-skills are being celebrated as much as her excellent cuisine.
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