Le Bird restaurant at Sequana international head office (Paris), welcomed Hafidha Sahal and Laetitia Laidli, two beneficiaries of the “Des Etoiles et des Femmes” (Stars and Women) program, together with their tutor, Dominique Frérard, Head Chef at the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port.
Their objective is to prepare a bespoke menu and shine the spotlight on this training program for the International Women’s Day 2018.
Entry into the world of gourmet cuisine
The mission taken on by the organization La Table de Cana Marseille through its “Des Etoiles et des Femmes”training program, which Solidarity AccorHotels has been supporting since 2015, is to train women from disadvantaged areas in the skills required for working in the upscale restaurant business.
Since the start of the program, 36 women from districts in Northern Marseilles have benefited in this way from extraordinary training alongside renowned chefs. Since 2017, Solidarity AccorHotels has also been supporting the rollout of this project in Montpellier and Bordeaux through the commitment of more than 10 Chefs of the Group.
2 ring stars
After she graduated in 2016, Hafidha Sahal has been given a job on a permanent contract at the Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port as manager of the “Entracte”, the restaurant for Sofitel employees.
"My morale is much higher: I’ve gained self-confidence and have met many people. I can now go on holiday and make plans!"
Laetitia Laidli lives in Marseilles with her three children. She learnt about the “Des Etoiles et des Femmes” program thanks to Hafidha Sahal, her next-door neighbour. Today, she wants to get her CAP occupational training certificate so I can then work in a restaurant!
"The training has taught me something fundamental: with my motivation and determination, my academic fears at the start of the year are now behind me! I’ve more confidence in myself and am less timid."
Chef Dominique Frérard leads the team at the famous Les Trois Forts restaurant. His Mediterranean cuisine superbly highlights the best of local Marseilles produce, combined with a hint of Italy. For the last 3 years, he has been welcoming the apprentices of the "Stars and Women" program on 1-year training programs and been taking the time to teach them the ropes. He answered some of our questions.
What were your reasons for choosing to support the “Des Etoiles et des Femmes” initiative?
I chose to support and dedicate myself to this training for several reasons: our establishment is used to training our future employees. Throughout the year we receive interns, apprentices and secondary school pupils for work experience.
I just had to be a part of this challenge in the city of Marseilles!
In what way is this training rewarding for you and your team?
It allows us to broach aspects our young colleagues sometimes forget: respect, listening and motivation. The team is proud to participate and interact.
Why is it important to you to contribute to International Women’s Day by coming here to create a menu for employees?
For me, it's important to take part in International Women's Day by coming here today with Hafidha and Laetitia, my two “Female Stars”, to offer a Marseilles-style menu with all the color and flavor of our beautiful Provence, with the collaboration of the Bird’s team and his Head Chef David Fareaux.
The Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port is also celebrating this symbolic date with a “Women’s Night” at the Dantès, our lounge bar!
Incidentally, there are not many female Head Chefs at AccorHotels and yet I find they have a valuable role to play! My love for this wonderful profession was passed down to me by my mother and grandmother.
On 11th April we’re holding a four-handed dinner at Trois Forts with a rising young female chef, Coline Faulquier, on the theme of Love - you see, the tradition of passing things on still continues!
Thank you to all three of you for your involvement, not just for this day of celebration but also in your everyday lives!