He is right to believe it. Jean-Noël Lepileur, chef in Rodez, relies on many years of experience behind the stove to ensure that his profession still has a bright future ahead of him. At almost 60 years old, he measures how much this profession has evolved, which has been able to reform itself to gain freedom and loyalty to the values of work and sharing. As long as rigor and requirement know how to combine with passion.
Jean-Noel Lepileur, 59 years old, started a CAP in cooking at the Auguste-Escoffier high school in Nouméa, New Caledonia, at the age of 15. “I worked there for several years as an apprentice and then as a clerk. During the week I went to school and on weekends I did extra work to earn pocket money,” he says. .
At the time, minors could work. The downside was the hardness of the job
“At the time, miners could work. The downside was the hardness of the job: we worked a lot of hours until very late at night and the salary did not follow. And then the chiefs tended to lift the hand on us, it was very frequent. The advantage is that when I really started to work, I was operational immediately”.
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Back in France in 1986, Jean-Noël Lepileur changed jobs to become a disc jockey. “I stayed three or four months with my grandmother in Paris then I left for Brittany and Toulouse before arriving in Aveyron in 1992, in Naucelle exactly where I worked at Valadier”.
The eternal duo with François Couret
It was during a season as a cook at the Excalibur nightclub restaurant in Espalion that Jean-Noël Lepileur met François Couret. “I worked a little with him at L’Endroit then I left for Valadier, but a broken leg immobilized me for six months and I had to face the facts, I could no longer be DJ. On my way to Afpa, I passed in front of Le Victor, which François was about to open on avenue Victor-Hugo in Rodez”.
“He was putting the last brush strokes and, the week before the opening, still didn’t have a cook so he asked me to take over while waiting to find someone. Finally, I’m there stayed six years!” From 2007 to 2016, Jean-Noël Lepileur changed jobs to sell catering products as a sales representative at Aveyron Foie Gras.
Back to first love
François Couret once again put him back in the kitchen by offering him the La Logia project, boulevard Gally in Rodez. “I like a challenge and I had never managed a large kitchen before, so I accepted. We built the restaurant menu together, relying on my cuisine, which gives pride of place to spices and exoticism” .
Here, Jean-Noël Lepileur directs four cooks and a dishwasher. With his experience, he quickly makes the difference between enthusiasts who like to cook and listen to all the advice, and those who come by obligation and without enthusiasm.
“Some are really gifted, sometimes have a real gift, but others arrive believing they know everything, thinking they are world champions and that annoys me. In the kitchen, you need humility, rigour, high standards, cleanliness and hardworking”. And also to highlight the teamwork that helps to infuse a good atmosphere.
“I always love what I do”
At almost sixty years old, Jean-Noël Lepileur is far from being jaded: “There is a big rhythm and the older you get, the more difficult it is, but I still love what I do, apply myself to release a beautiful plate that the customer will appreciate. Because here, we really cook, fresh products. In the discotheque, when the music is good, people come back. And of course in the restaurant, it’s the same. On this point, the Covid had the merit of setting the record straight a little: those who couldn’t hold the road have closed and the dream sellers who put three odds and ends on the plate and sold them to you at exorbitant prices are no longer misleading”.