Meeting with Franck Brunel
After graduating with an international hotel management bachelor, Franck Brunel opened his own restaurant in Bordeaux (2010): “L’Epicure”. And we managed to get some information about his somewhat atypical path to this point.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Franck Brunel, I’m 36 years old and I am the owner and manager of “L’Epicure” restaurant in Bordeaux. I happen also to be a Vatel graduate since 2001, Château Lagrane promotion.
You opened your own restaurant, can you tell us about it?
It’s been 5 years now that I opened my restaurant. First I took over a pizzeria and kept it the way it was (for about a year) before transforming it into a “Bistrot-Brasserie”. During my first year of taking over, I encountered many difficulties, one of which was with the stuff; therefore I decided to take over the kitchen myself and there I learned everything about it, mostly from the internet. I developed in the kitchen a passion for this job.
Did you face any particular difficulties when you created the restaurant?
I would say banks. They didn’t make it easy for me but, stuff problems were worst; I had to take some of the working stuff when I got the pizzeria and as a consequence it led me to the prud’homme
“L’Epicure” Why this name?
The name existed already. Banks advised me to keep it saying that it was for the better when it comes to keeping the old clients. In the end I find it suitable to what we’re offering today, that is generous and gourmet dishes.
How did you make your business known?
It was word of mouth mainly. Internet played a role as well with websites like Trip Advisor, l’internautes and City Vox. I had also the chance to take part of a chronic on the France Bleu Radio; it was a chronic dedicated to chefs who self-learned about the job, like I did. On that occasion I gave everyday recipes’ ideas to the listeners.
How do you see the future for “L’Epicure”?
The restaurant has evolved a lot. Groups have been developed (15 per month) as a cocktail dinner. We launched also meal trays and we’re doing some catering events (weddings, baptism, etc.). What is trending right now as well is the home service, where I go back directly in people’s kitchens for a business dinner for example. Despite all these new activities, my priority remains always the restaurant.
Why did you decide to pursue your studies in Vatel Bordeaux?
Why Bordeaux you ask? Simply because it is my city and I didn’t want to look elsewhere. Why Vatel? I liked the alternation Vatel offered between practice and theory. We can graduate with an international hotel management degree within three years including more than a year of practice and that offers a remarkable experience. If you ask me, Vatel gives you the keys you need to success.
Now I have interns from Vatel and I am quite proud of it. I tell them in Vatel we have two choices, we can either just go with the flow or we can use Vatel as a weapon, you just need to give 110%
Would you like to share one ot two memories you had while a student in Vatel ?
I have two that come to mind. The first is the Gala organized at the end of year, back then we invited everyone, no one had to pay to get in. To collect funds my friends and I set up a newspaper “La gazette” the principal was simple; we tried to sell advertising inserts to hotels and restaurant and wrote articles along the way to sell the newspaper. It was quite an experience.
The second one concerns my last days as a Vatel student. After my last exam I cried like a baby, simply because it was the end of Vatel for me, the end of some of the best years of my life.