Our students and graduates involved in the “Chefs’ Caravan” solidarity initiative in Lyon

2021 has started under the auspices of solidarity, with our School supporting “The Chefs’ Caravan” initiative in Lyon, in which our graduates and students from the Bachelor’s degree in International Food Service Management volunteered to take part.

A true mobile restaurant

From 5 to 20 January, under the initiative of our Chef de cuisine and training staff member Eugénie Guillermin, 17 chefs took it in turns to prepare orders for a food truck in the 6th district of Lyon.  In light of the current public health situation linked to Covid-19, the aim was to offer Lyon’s inhabitants signature take-away menus and the opportunity to discover the specialities of these chefs elsewhere than in their own restaurant. Coming in large numbers to support their city’s restaurants via an online sales platform, every evening the people of Lyon were able to discover or rediscover the recipes proposed by a different chef.

Amaury, a student at the Institute, was at the centre of the project


Can you briefly explain to us the concept behind the Chefs’ Caravan initiative?

The Chefs’ Caravan is a solidarity project created to support the chefs working in our beautiful gastronomic city of Lyon.  As everyone knows, the global pandemic that is currently gripping the world has particularly serious consequences for restaurant owners. This project offers the chefs of Lyon a boost to their morale, by rediscovering for an evening the bond they enjoy so much with their customers.

What was your role in this project?

Originally, I just wanted to participate by offering my support to the organisers and chefs taking part in the project, and playing a helping role in the organisation. I then used the opportunity to create an Instagram account and develop partnerships in order to build up the profile of the event and attract more clients for the chefs in the caravan.  So, I took on the role of Community Manager.

What has participating in this project taught you?

I’ve learned a lot of very different things like how to work with teams that change every night. I’ve developed customer relations skills and increased my ability to respond promptly via social media and when I’m working in the caravan.  I’ve also learned how to adapt to government announcements and health standards related to Covid-19 (curfew announcements, social distancing and wearing a mask).

What else have you learned?

This project has mainly given me the opportunity to discover the communications sector, which I knew very little about. I’m trying to develop a website for the event for example, which pushes me to find out about the software to be used, to organise each aspect of the site carefully so that important information can be found very easily.

What are the things you learned during your course or placements that you’ve been able to put into practice?

Every day I used the knowledge and skills I’ve developed at Institut Paul Bocuse as well as during my work experiences to keep on improving. To give you a few examples, it’s thanks to the Institute that I’ve acquired a certain understanding of food service culture, which gave me credibility with my colleagues. I also used a lot of what I learnt during my last placement as a Concierge in a luxury hotel: responding quickly, finding solutions to problems, addressing the needs of chefs and ensuring that their time in the caravan went as smoothly as possible.

What will you take away from this experience?

I’ll remember the very human side to this project because it allowed me to discover the incredible solidarity of our fellow citizens during the crisis. We even had customers coming from Switzerland to pick up a meal and support our project! It also allowed me to meet and exchange with chefs from my hometown, some of whom are alumni from Institut Paul Bocuse. I’m very proud to have played an active part in a project that has raised the profile of Lyon and its chefs all over France.

If Chef Eugénie Guillermin asked you to do it all over again, would you accept?

It’s not the first time we’ve worked together, I’d already had the opportunity to work with her during the last edition of SIRHA 2019 and each time it has worked out very well, so as the saying goes “good things come in threes”!

Extension of the solidarity initiative

Following the success of the Chef’s Caravan, the operation will resume from 25 January to 12 February, with new collection times adapted to current government regulations.

This will allow food lovers to continue the experience and continue to share the passion and creativity of the next 22 chefs who will be coming to meet them in the caravan. Once again, restaurants from a variety of culinary horizons will be present one evening another, from brasserie cuisine to Michelin-starred restaurants, including the bouchon lyonnais and ethnic cuisine.