“After 11 years in advertising, I converted to the kitchen”

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Marie-Camille Picoulet exerce en tant que traiteur, depuis chez elle.

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Posted on Sep 20, 2021 at 7:00 AM

“For years, I have flourished in my advertising profession. I joined Publicis after graduating from Skema, and started as a project manager. I then became a group manager and then customer manager. Most of the clients I worked for were consumer brands. I followed their projects from A to Z, from briefing to advertising design. I found it interesting to try to understand the consumer, to work on protean projects, to meet photographers, directors, creatives …

In my thirties, I was a little tired of the constant stress generated by my mission. I also found that I lacked feedback from clients and my superiors. At the end of my second pregnancy, I decided to leave the company and negotiated a conventional break at the end of 2017. My goal: to devote myself to cooking, which was taking up more and more space in my life. I wanted to become my own boss, to let my creativity speak and… to open my own restaurant.

A CAP kitchen

I grew up in a family that loved to cook. I still remember the essential sugar pie, potato gratin, Milanese cutlet or even ravioli with Provençal stew from my grandmothers. As a teenager, I really enjoyed being in the kitchen and creating my own extravagant recipes. For example, strawberry pasta (laughs).

As a young adult, I refined my palate by testing many restaurants and discovering new flavors on my travels. I took pleasure in receiving people at home, cooking the dishes of my childhood spent in Menton, such as lemon pie or courgette flower fritters. I also liked to make original dishes, like desserts embellished with shiso (a Japanese leaf) or miso caramel (fermented dough used in Japanese cuisine).

In 2017, I embarked on a CAP cuisine. I followed the lessons from home and attended a tutorial per week from 5 pm to 11 pm. This training lasted nine months. My diploma in hand, I said to myself that I had to confront professional cooking. That cooking for my friends and family was one thing and running a restaurant another.

Beginnings as a clerk

So I joined Maison Plisson, an establishment in London that serves as a restaurant and delicatessen. I started there as a clerk, before becoming a demi-chef de partie. There, I realized to what extent cooking was a world far removed from the world of advertising. First for the military side – necessary for the service to go well. But also because we tell each other things frankly, without detour.

The kitchen requires working under pressure but unlike my old job where the pressure was permanent and pursued me even once my working day was over, it stops once the service is over. These days, punctuated by moments of boost and others calmer, suit me well. Also, the pace of work had nothing to do with the one I had known. Goodbye holidays on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays. Catering requires working while others are having fun. But that didn’t bother me, I was happy to train myself.

After two years, I wanted to discover a smaller place, which would be more in line with my project. So I started a CDD in a coffee-shop in London in the summer of 2021. Unfortunately, my contract was not renewed because of the second confinement.

At that moment, I told myself that it was time for me to go it alone. I started offering take-out meals for people around my home in Gentilly (Val-de-Marne). The opportunity to manage a project from start to finish. I had to decide on the menu, the prices, do the shopping and cook up the dishes. I had imagined a bistronomic menu, in which I mixed Japanese flavors with Mediterranean flavors. I needed to take control of the entire process to be able to test my recipes and my technical skills. Ultimately, this experience gave me self-confidence.

Catering for companies and individuals

When the restaurants reopened in June 2021, I found that my activity made less sense because people wanted to return to these establishments. Since then, I have concentrated on a catering business. I prepare dishes for individuals, for baptisms, birthdays, lunches with friends… Companies also call on me for events (talks, business lunches, shooting, seminars…). For the moment, I cook from home, but I am thinking of settling in a room.

Opening a restaurant is still an idea in the back of my mind. But I know that this goes hand in hand with major constraints: you need a large schedule, have staff, a significant investment at the start … It’s quite complex. For now, I like the flexibility that the catering business offers me. I am looking for a protean model which will allow me to be flexible in my schedule and which will also be viable. I appreciate my independence, being able to organize myself as I see fit. And, finally, to dedicate my days to my passion. “

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