“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” - George Bernard Shaw
On a chilly Wednesday just before the evening’s Industry Leaders Conference, I waited at The Lab in anticipation of the arrival of the members of the student catering organization, IMHI Traiteur. After a couple of minutes, two second-year students, Pauline Acheron and Caroline Pravongviengkham, arrived bearing a multitude of different, colorful dishes they had prepared with their fellow chefs, Gaëlle Nziwoué and Ioanna Prousali. It was 4:00 PM, and they had been toiling in the kitchen since 10:30 the same morning. Quite frankly, had I been the one doing so, I would have arrived that afternoon with clear signs of stress and fatigue, but they were quite the contrary, bustling and hustling in high spirits.
This association represents a true passion for the five ladies that spend roughly two days a week preparing for the events for which they provide their services. “Our common passion for food was what led us together. We are running this association for the pleasure of cooking, discovering and working with new products,” states Pauline when asked about the motivation behind IMHI Traiteur. Furthermore, these talented cooks strive to allow “people [to] discover new tastes, flavors and dishes.”
IMHI Traiteur is a catering association run by students of ESSEC’s MBA in Hospitality Management. The group offers its catering services to a wide range of organizations on campus, particularly the IMHI administration for its weekly Industry Leaders Conferences featuring different guest speakers from the hospitality industry. IMHI Traiteur provides a wide variety of foods for the participants and attendees of these events, and the food on display highlights the group’s ambition to “work as much as [they] can with home-made products, [many times] creating [their] own macaroons, brioche and mousse” for example. Having had previous experience in the kitchen, the members each come up with innovative and unique dishes to satisfy their clients and to truly highlight their love for food. Apple and raisin crumble, blue potato chips and a praline chocolate dessert are some of the few items that I had the opportunity to taste on this particular day. One word: delicious!
Amidst their high energy and enthusiasm for this cause, however, the members acknowledge the fact that finding time for their passion is quite difficult given all the schoolwork and other obligations they each have. Pauline states that “time is the most challenging part of being involved in IMHI Traiteur. All the members of the association are second-year students. Rachel Silbermann was still in her apprenticeship during this first trimester, while others are [simultaneously] involved in associations such as 4L IMHI or the student office. Finding the right balance between our classes, our commitment to other associations and IMHI Traiteur” demands a high level of organization.
Despite these challenges, however, these five women are committed through the end of the school year to share their sincere love and passion with their clients and fellow classmates, in the hopes of providing them the opportunity to share in their culinary experiences and rediscover the many facets of food.