Xavier Alvarez had it clear since childhood. Today the former alumni and head of the restaurant Les Petits Prés shares his experience and his best advice for everyone who wants to get started in this world.
How did your passion for gastronomy come about?
Since I was little I liked everything about crafts, working with my hands and I have always been very nervous; At only four years old, I asked for Christmas a kitchen to play with and from there, little by little I made a space for myself in the kitchen. When I was six or seven years old, I was the one organizing breakfasts for my parents and brothers and at ten years old I was doing handmade pizzas with my father. I remember starting to cook simple things at twelve years old like pasta and omelettes. When at school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was very clear to me that I wanted to be a cook.
How did you get to Hofmann?
I chose Hofmann because I wanted to go to the best school. I didn't mind sacrificing a couple of years to save some money, rather than going to a school where you just do theory. Thanks to that decision, I have been able to know how the best restaurants work.
I would define Hoffmann as: family (I know that I will always will be welcome), educators (before being chefs we are human beings) and professionals (teachers always take the time to explain you everything what you need to learn9. They also are able to explain the same things in a thousand different ways so that you can understand it clearly.
How was your experience during the training at the School?
My experience was completely perfect, in the sense that I grew as a person, as professional, as a friend and as a student. Thanks to that, today I understand many of the things that I previously thought were not important. Without any doubt I would do the course again and I would like to take advantage of it even more than what I think I did.
What do you value most about the training?
What I value the most about the training is that before explaining how restaurant management works or how to make a fund, the teachers are able to stop a class and teach what it means to be a partner and to be a person, rather than any other things about cooking. Obviously I also value the amount of practical hours that are carried out, since to be a cook you have to touch, cut, cook and clean many different things to learn.
How has your training at the Hofmann Hospitality School influenced your professional experience?
They have opened my eyes to a different future than the one I knew in the hospitality industry, they have taught me that cooking is a world that never ends, and that you will never know all the products, techniques or cuts. That you have to listen to everyone, because the customer, the chef or the person who cleans the dishes can also teach you new things. Before Hofmann, I didn’t have this values.
What have been the most important challenges you have had to face in your current position?
Leaving my coworkers, family and friends behind, in order to continue learning and growing professionally.
What message would you give to the current students?
Enjoy the school! Two years and four months fly by and you can always learn much more than you are learning. Above all, ask questions about anything, have concerns, have fun in the kitchen and learn as much as you can every single day.
What would you say to a person who wants to start in this world?
Obviously looking for a good school, as its Hofmann. Ask several people who are dedicated to the hostelry industry; don’t go to the first school that comes to your mind, because you have to know that, where you come from will haunt you in your work life.