HEC Paris interviews Alain Lenotre about CIL for Alumni Stories
Alain Lenotre Teaches The French Culinary Tradition For More Than 20 Years in the United States
Son of the famous pastry chef Gaston LeNotre, Alain LeNotre also inherited the talent of his grandmother Eleonore, one of the first French women Chefs. For over 20 years Alain, with his wife Marie, has shared his knowledge and skills at the CULINARY INSTITUTE LENOTRE (CIL) in Houston Texas. By training students and polishing chefs from all over the world to the excellence of the French cuisine and pastry, CIL ensures the LeNotre legacy lives on.
Your Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary and received a great award last year …
We were indeed delighted to receive a very nice gift from the company Niche.com – ranked #1 American Culinary College! On this occasion, we also discovered that we had already been named by the company CollegeChoice.net for Best Associate Degree in Culinary Arts in the United States.
Up to date we have around 300 students with 15 full-time chefs, 13 of which are French. Our chefs have an average of 20 years experience in the restaurant industry. CIL offers four Elite Diploma Programs and three Associate Degree programs. All employees, from pensioners to the director, are shareholders and currently own 22.7% of the capital.
What does the French know-how mean today in United States?
We teach our students that the origins of Western Fine Cuisine are from France. The vocabulary and techniques are French. France represents a civilization of well being – thanks to our land, the knowledge of our artisans and our vineyards. We are very proud of this. We also teach the French tradition of restaurant and hotel management. 15% of our students are from countries other than the United States.
What program do you offer to students?
The hands-on Cuisine program is over 40 weeks and includes 75% fundamentals of the French fine cuisine techniques as well as recipes of great chefs, plus 25% dedicated to international cuisine.
For the pastry, bakery, ice cream, chocolate and decors, from 40 to 50 weeks, the program, is 90% French. We also have a restaurant, Le Bistro, inside the Institute with a Quebec chef who welcomes the students who wish to extend their apprenticeship with an internship.
This restaurant, dedicated to the students that are going into practicum, allows us to introduce ourselves to the public and to offer a real life experience to the students. Our Institute, the only French Culinary Institute in the United States, is approved by the American Department of Education, ACCSC and TWC, which allows us to offer to our foreign students seeking a 2 years Associate Degree an F1 visa. It is interesting for our students to learn French culinary art in the English language with a lower cost than the private culinary schools in France offer.
Is a graduate of an Executive MBA from CPA * Paris in 1981. He worked for twenty years in the family business created in Paris in 1957 by his parents;Gaston and Colette. Pastry , cuisine, catering director, founder of LeNotre School, then deputy general manager of LeNotre Paris, particularly in charge of the development of LeNotre franchises in the world. In charge of LeNotre subsidiary in Dallas and Houston, he left the family business, sold to Accor in 1984, to found with his wife Marie in Houston a French chain of pastry-cafe-caterers, then in 1998 has diversified it by creating Culinary Institute Lenotre Ranked # 1 in USA.