Guest Speech | Yann Klein, Chef, Maison Lameloise


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Bonjour, hello, all.

My name is Yann Klein, I am the executive chef of Maison Lameloise Shanghai by the chef Eric Pras. Today on behalf of Chef Eric Pras and myself, I will talk about apprenticeship in the field of craftsmanship, and more specifically, in the kitchen industry.

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. David Gosset for this opportunity by allowing us to share our vision in this talk. 

I think I should start by explaining what is apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is a professional training for young people in the goal to learn a job, mainly in the craftsmanship industry, this training is made half in school and half in the company.

More specifically, it is the acquisition of expertise, that means it is the process of acquisition of knowledge, competence, attitudes or cultural values by observing, imitating, trying and repeating on and on, usually this process to obtain the diploma takes 2 to 4 years.

Then what is craftsmanship: it is the transformation of a product or the implementation of services due to a specific expertise and out of mass industrial context. The craftsman generally takes care of all the parts from the transformation, reparation or after sales service and sales. Mainly the work of a craftsman is made by hand.

In France, we have a close link with apprenticeship since the 19th century, regularly updated with better conditions by the government, many times not well seen by people because of it’s bad reputation as it wasn’t the best students at school who would go into it, but let’s be realistic, it is the best way to learn properly a job.

Today the reality is not because you have done many years of study that you will be employed. Most of the apprentices after their years of apprenticeship in the sector of craftsmanship will leave with a diploma and a mastered skill in their pocket. 

There is one important thing to note is that there isn’t any good apprenticeship without what we call in French : maître d’apprentissage. I would translate this as “master or teacher of apprenticeship”. It is passionate people who are willing to share and spread their passion and knowledge. Without those people, many industries would have disappeared.

So, at the beginning, now we have the acquisition of knowledge and experience by the apprenticeship of a job which leads to becoming a craftsman. Then there is the next step where we target excellence.

When you work in the industry of the craftsman, you have the chance to create or develop a product from scratch, all of us have this passion. But when you have the passion of excellence , I will take the example of the kitchen industrie, it is a industrie of true passion, it demands a lot of work and sacrifice, so better be passionate about it.

When we want to achieve excellence, there are different ways to recognize the quality in your work. In France we are the only country in the world where you have a contest that recognize the excellence in craftsmanship, it's called “Meilleurs Ouvrier de France” in French, we can translate it as “best craftsman of France”, it’s every 3-4 years and resumes all the jobs from different industries of craftsmanship, from haidresser, dog cleaner, to chocolate chef, to carpenter and so on.

For the kitchen side Its always in 3 parts, first the selections, with 60 questions to answer about basics techniques, hygiene, laws, English and 15 minutes of cooking with 4-5 specific techniques to realise in front of a jury of MOF.

Then we have the semi-final which will be a few months later with two recipes to realize in a cooking school, where you are being judged as well by MOF. And the same for the finale with 3 recipes to present.

For the semi-finale and the final, you receive the subjects 2 weeks before the presentation to train in your own restaurant. Then you have the presentation that is made from scratch within a specific timeline. 

This title has worldwide recognition. It will reflect a sort of sign of quality. However, this doesn’t limit our judgment, because there are many very talented women and men who are not MOF, and sill perform an incredible level of work.

To conclude, I wish that more countries would develop the sense of recognition for apprenticeship, we have seen that it gives value and knowledge. And most of it, after the years of study, will have a job. We can also notice that all jobs of craftsmanship can be done in the entire world, that gives many possibilities to our youth for the future.

I hope that you enjoyed and understood our vision, thank you again Mr. Gosset, it was a real pleasure to be part of all of this forum. Thank you very much, have a lovely day.


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