What’s on?

What does the job of Maintenance and Security entail in an establishment like Vatel Bordeaux? Here’s the interview with Gilbert Mace and Inès in practice with him.

Picture of Gilou next to Inès in front of The Campus Les Halles Vatel Bordeaux.

Gilou – Hi! My name is Gilbert but for everyone I prefere to be called Gilou. I am 54 years old and I have been Technical Maintenance and Safety Manager at Vatel Bordeaux for 2 years now.


Inès – Hello! I am Inès, I am 19 years old and I’m in my 2nd year of the Bachelor program at Vatel Bordeaux.

What is your Background?

Gilou – I have 20 years’ experience in the kitchen and 12 years in reception. Now I’m a Technical Manager, but still in the same business sector.


Inès – I was an STMG student at the Sainte Marie Bastide high school in Bordeaux. After passing my Baccalaureate, I went straight into the bachelor’s program at Vatel.

Inès, have you always wanted to work in the Hospitality – catering sector?

Inès – No, I chose this sector at the last minute. I was able to talk to a teacher at my high school who recommended Vatel Bordeaux, and then I went to find out more about the school at the Salon de l’Étudiant. The internships, practical experience and potential discoveries in the field finally convinced me.

What are your missions?

Gilou – My missions are multi-tasking. The main ones are building maintenance and security: the two campuses, the Tables Vatel, the Caméléon, all the offices and classrooms. Then there’s all the plumbing and electricity: I take care of anything that might break down. Finally, I manage the follow-up of service providers who come in for gas, kitchen maintenance, elevators, doors, etc. I move around a lot, so I have to keep an eye on what’s going on at all times. As I work in a large area, I have to be alert all the time, so I never make empty runs.

Inès –
I usually accompany Gilou on his day-to-day assignments, so they’re quite diverse. Recently, we did some plumbing to prepare a water inlet and drain for the restaurant’s new coffee machine. We also repaired the chairs in the classrooms and set up new ones for the seminars that are sometimes held on the Vatel Bordeaux premises.

Why did you choose to do your practical training with Gilou?

Inès – First of all, I find it very interesting to be involved in everything in the hospitality industry. Knowing how to repair things, how electrical wiring works and other tasks are real assets for later on and will always come in handy, even in everyday life.

What do the practices bring you?

Gilou – What I like about Vatel Bordeaux is the exchange with the students. I get a lot out of it, and it keeps me young at heart. It’s rewarding to have young people who are very willing to listen and learn. I’m very proud to see that it helps them, because many of them are far from their families, alone in their apartments. This knowledge brings them a lot and can help them, for example, to change a light bulb safely, repair their toilet flush etc… It will be a real plus for them in their future life, when they have a position of responsibility, to know how electricity, water, and heating work…

What do you like the most in your job?

Gilou – At Vatel Bordeaux, it’s the exchange with the students and the satisfaction of a job well done. Compared with other companies I’ve worked for; I get a certain amount of recognition from management for the work I do. They notice what I do and thank me for it.

On a technical level, is there anything in particular you don’t like doing?

Gilou – I don’t like painting or tapestry at all.

What qualities do you think it takes to be in this profession?

Gilou – In the hotel and restaurant business, you have to listen to the people around you, your team, all the people you work with and your customers. It’s a service profession, and you really have to be there to help, almost anticipating any request, so you have to keep your ears and eyes open.

In this way, you can act to make life easier for a customer or a student.

What will the practice bring you professionally and personally?

Inès – If you compare two students, one who has done maintenance practice and the other who hasn’t, you can immediately see a difference in terms of knowledge. I can see the difference myself, even though I have a family member who works in this sector, I’ve been able to learn new things thanks to this practice. It’s great to be able to touch everything and find out what maintenance really involves.

What is Vatel Bordeaux doing to protect the environment?

Gilou – As far as eco-responsibility is concerned, every time I buy or renew equipment, we try to use the most energy-efficient materials. We’ve been using LEDs for lighting for a long time. We also have a solar-powered water pre-heating system for the hot water in the Campus les Chartrons building. This saves a lot of gas.

Thank you, Gilou and Inès!