Can you tell us something about yourself?
I was born in Pessac in 1980 and went to school in Bordeaux. When I passed my Baccalauréat exam, I had to decide what to do next. My father had heard about Vatel and suggested I might like to try it. I had an interview but was not really very interested because I didn’t know much about the hotel and restaurant sectors beyond the usual clichéd views of waiters and hotel receptionists. Once I’d left school, I went to England to improve my English and I got a job in a grillroom. That’s where I had my “epiphany” moment and decided to take a three-year course at Vatel. Alternating between lectures and work experience was ideal for me.
What have you been doing since you graduated from Vatel?
With the good experience I gained during placements, mainly on the practical side (room maid, kitchen work, restaurant service, waitress at functions, housekeeping etc.), I began work in Paris at the 5-star Hôtel Westminster on Rue de la Paix as a Guest Relation Manager. This initial experience brought me my love of the job and of luxury hotels.
I then found a job as an external sales rep. with the Forest Hill Hotel in La Villette. Although I learnt a lot from the experience, it was not really what I expected and I realised that my previous job had given me a taste for work in luxury hotels. I only stayed with the Forest Hill for a year because I’m one of those sales people who need to believe in and love their product in order to sell it.
When I left, I began working as Sales Manager for the Hôtel Ambassador on Boulevard Haussmann and I stayed there for six years. They then transferred me to a “Meet in Style” booking unit which I didn’t like at all. I resigned almost immediately.
My next job was with the “Crown Plaza République”. I worked there for a year as a member of the in-house sales team.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I decided to take three years off and become a full-time mother.
What are you doing now? What is your job? What does it entail?
I met my husband in Cannes while on work experience during my first year at Vatel. In 2013, we purchased " Le Moulin de Moissac" . It was a joint decision, and not one we took lightly.
I now work as its manager and Managing Director. I’m very busy with HR and admin. Side. I’m the “Go To” person, I suppose you could say. When we took over the mill, it had 16 staff; now there are 30, but only three from the original team.
“Vatel made me more open-minded and allowed me to meet people who contributed to making me who I am today.”
Aurélie Ponce - Operations manager for the Cheval Blanc Paris Hotel / 2006 Alumnus
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