A Vatel Nimes alumnus, class of 1996, Jerome Ferrer is not only a Canadian Master Chef, but also an exceptional businessman.
When he moved to Quebec in 2001 with two friends who were also Vateliens, he created what has become an empire: Groupe Europea, now including several restaurants and coffee shops, specialized boutiques, a vineyard, a catering department, and he has just added a food-processing and transformation facility.
A remarkable Vatel success story!
In 1996, you and your classmates, Ludovic Delonca and Patrice de Felice graduated from Vatel. Tell us about emigrating to Canada and how your corporate empire was built.
Our story began because we all shared the same dream: each having our own restaurant.
And I well remember what Mr. Sebban, who founded Vatel, once told us: “don’t dream your lives, live your dreams.” And we all decided to take his advice.
So we left for Quebec in October, 2001 and we founded Groupe Europea” which grew as the years went by when we opened the Europea Boutique Mall,, the Beaver Hall Brasserie the Andiamo restaurant, and our two coffee shops, Birksand Grevin. Our Group also has four restaurants we jointly own with a partner in Brazil and a very big catering department.
And quite recently I bought a few acres of vineyards from my cousin that my father, a grape producer, formerly owned, to create my own wine domain ‘La Terre de mon Pere’ [My Father’s Land], and our first bottles of wine are now on sale through AMG, an import company.
With Spanish, Italian and Catalonian dishes, our ‘techno-emotional’ cooking of the Europea brand was inspired by the roots of all three of us have.
We were lucky that we succeeded so quickly in the eyes of our customers and peers. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Europea won the Restaurant of the Year Award by the Societé des Chefs, Pâtissiers et Cuisiniers du Québec [Quebec Chefs, Pastry Cooks, and Cooks], as well as by Le Devoir, Le Journal de Montréal, [Montreal Daily] and the Debeur Guidebook. And in 2011, I personally won the Chef of the Year Award from the Quebec Chefs Association as well as theRelais & Chateaux Master Chef Award. In 2012 our restaurant was ranked as one of the ten best restaurants in the world by Travelers Choice and the well-known web site, Trip Advisor, and in 2013, we were asked to join the prestigious association ‘Grandes Tables du Monde’ [World’s Best Restaurants.]
All three of us are really proud of these awards and particularly proud of our employees. And very special thanks for Jean-Marc Guillot, who has the distinction of Best French Pastry Chef, and who works with me to make and create our exceptional desserts.
What advice could you give to Vatel students who want to own their own hotel or restaurant?
The advice I could give them would be to visualize the end of their projects before even beginning them. Too often we draw up these really optimistic business plans while forgetting the most important thing: everything that’s started must also be finished. Whether it’s a contract for an association, a take-over, etc. You have to have a long-term vision and set milestones; that allows you to be in harmony with yourself and keeps you from choosing poor solutions.
You’ve also written several books, you’re very active on social utility sites where you regularly propose to your followers, fans and friends “Thoughts to Meditate.” Could you tell us a bit more about this one? ‘To succeed and enjoy working in the restaurant business, you must want to give much more than you want to receive. This is an essential frame of mind.’
Our profession has really changed. We used to be inn-keepers and now we are culinary specialists. Just like artists when performing in public, we have to give 100% of what we’ve got.
‘If you want to receive, you have to know how to give,’ summarizes my philosophy, both in my personal and professional life.
You also said ‘Word of mouth is the real key to success, but it only works well when you reach a certain level.’ What do you mean by this?
In my opinion, success goes through these stages I call the ‘3Ks”:
- Transmitting this know-how to your employees and
- Making this known.
And finally, you also said: ‘A Chef who is an extraordinary cook but a poor manager will never succeed.’ How come?
Simply because to succeed in business, you also have to have an entrepreneurial and visionary spirit!
What are your medium and long-term projects?
As we can never refuse a good challenge, in the summer of 2013, we founded CDA-TEQ, a new-generation food-processing center with a customized subcontracting department, where we can process 10,000 dishes per day that will be sold in supermarkets.
Serving others is a priceless quality in the hospitality industry, but not just there. Students with a degree in hotel management are attractive to employers: their qualities make them champions in all types of professions.Read more
The 26th Eurhodip conference took place in Istanbul from October 16 though 20th, with the theme “Together, let’s build bridges.” Roughly a hundred participants from 25 countries and 35 schools attended this event.Read more
With schools throughout the world, nearly four decades of development, the art of hospitality raised to its highest level... And at the heart of the curriculum that made the group’s world recognition: the professors, heralds of Vatel pedagogy.Read more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
Each year our Group School directors, getting together for the Vatel International Convention, use today’s experiences to continue to invent tomorrow’s schools for our future hospitality professionals.Read more
Vatel cultivates the qualities required to be a good professional in the hospitality industry: being fluent in foreign languages, knowing how to work with other cultures... Hoteliers are attracted by Vatel students’ resumes, as Vateliens can tell us.Read more
François Perraud feels both a hotelier and a financial controller, an expertise that he likes to pass on to Vatel students.Read more
Jeremie de Fombelle has always loved resorts and has seen many of them, before coming to Mauritius. And this is where he really fell in love! But economic competition is stiff. How can you stand out, if not by the quality of your management?Read more
A professor of marketing, corporate promotion and negotiation, Sophie Lot loves adult education and teaches at Vatel Switzerland.Read more
Thanatat Boonpeng: a young Vatel graduate at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.Read more
Every day, Vatel students and instructors prepare for class, study, and fan the flames of their curiosity, thanks to the cutting-edge digital library provided by the ScholarVox platform. Come right this way for digital access to knowledge!Read more
An MBA specializing in ecotourism opens in Madagascar. This island has all it takes to materialize this demanding approach of responsible and innovative tourism.Read more
New ideas, enthusiasm, the desire to embrace a gourmet universe: Jerome Ferrer’s story has all the ingredients that inspire the best “success stories” to strategy professors!Read more
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more