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“Today the economy” of this Friday paints the portrait of the famous French starred chef Thierry Marx. At the age of 63, he becomes the new president of the UMIH (Union of trades in the hotel industry), the first employers’ union in the hotel and catering industry which closed its 70th congress on Thursday 24 November.
Philippe Feuvrier, president of the UMIH of the Doubs department was one of the first to support the candidacy of Thierry Marx. “Thierry represents the very emblem of the cook, the pedagogue, being able to federate, and that is very important, for a national organization like ours, whether it is a micro-enterprise or a palace, you need someone who brings the speech in a concisely organized way and Thierry Marx is one of them”.
Reputed to be an avant-garde chef, he contributed to developing molecular cuisine which revolutionized gastronomic cuisine, when nothing predestined him to become one of the prestigious chefs of haute cuisine… Coming from a modest background, Thierry Marx was born in Paris, of Polish Jewish parents, in a housing estate in the popular district of Ménilmontant. Failing at school, he was oriented at 14 in mechanics when he dreamed of becoming a baker. Finally it is among the companions of duty that he finds his way. CAP of pastry in his pocket, he leaves for his tour of France. Upon his return, he enlisted in the army as a paratrooper. Then at the age of 23, he joined renowned establishments: clerk, he trained with Joël Robuchon, Ledoyen and Taillevent. The consecration comes at 29 years old with his first Michelin star, then the second at 40 years old.
A “cooking-how-to” school
Despite the success, Thierry Marx remembers where he comes from and the school difficulties he encountered before finding his way. He regrets that too many young people remain on the side of the road without training. For the chef, there is no fatality, he is convinced ” that there are no neighborhoods or people made for failure “. Giving a chance to people cut off from employment by supporting them towards professional reintegration is the challenge he took up by creating – ten years ago – his “cooking-instructions” school. Free, it is intended for adults, unemployed or without qualifications. The school offers short-term, qualifying and immediately operational training in catering professions. With only twelve weeks of lessons, Thierry Marx has made the bet to allow his students to find a job: “TTransmitting know-how is not trying to bring people into conformity, it is on the contrary telling them, if you have a project you will look above the horizon line, you will look ahead you. And we realize that it’s 90% back in a business project or in a school project ”.
Regardless of their background, Thierry Marx recruits above all motivated students who must meet what the chef calls the “3 Rs”, namely: Rigor, Commitment, Regularity.
Leila Blondeau followed this condensed training, after which she was immediately hired. For five years, she worked in the restaurant industry before joining Thierry Marx’s teaching team to become a teacher at the Paris School of Cooking-Instructions. A job that fascinates her and that allows her to regularly rub shoulders with the chef: “ I was a taxi driver, and I was looking for a professional retraining. I have always been interested in cooking, I took classes at the cookery school-mode d’emploi. The schools of Thierry Marx really allow access to professionalization in the kitchen very quickly. He is a really benevolent person, who is in sharing, who is simple and accessible, I have respect for the chef”. Today there are 14 schools across France, with different training.
Thierry Marx, the career of a committed chef
Thierry Marx is one of the most atypical chefs in the French gastronomic landscape. At the head of the two-star restaurant of the Parisian palace Mandarin Oriental since 2010, Thierry Marx pursues a career as a committed chef. As proof, for twenty years he has been giving cooking lessons in prison, with the possibility for prisoners to obtain a professional baccalaureate in order to allow them to reintegrate when they are released. According to Thierry Marx, the recidivism rate drops significantly as soon as there is a professional project.
In another register, Thierry Marx is co-creator with Raphaël Haumont, researcher in physio-chemistry of the French Center for Culinary Innovation at the University of Paris Sud where the chef participates in the development of the textures and flavors of the cuisine of tomorrow. His curious and creative side interested the CNRS who asked him to develop dishes for the French cosmonaut Thomas Pesquet during his mission in the ISS, the International Space Station. Also skilled in communication, he distinguishes himself by shock operations, by serving gourmet meals to motorists stuck in traffic jams or by organizing a feast in the Ile-de-France RER.
Thierry Marx has also set up three restaurants and three bakeries in Paris, he is also the author of several cookbooks. Hard working, he handles discipline and rigor. Judoka and black belt, he gets up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and goes to training… before starting his multiple obligations.
And then Thierry Marx is also television… He made himself known to the general public by becoming a juror in several popular cooking shows… Here too Thierry Marx continues his commitment this time for the planet. He campaigns for a kitchen with a low environmental impact. Concerned about the provenance of the products he works with, he supports short supply chains and respectful agricultural initiatives. Values that it transmits in its schools and that it applies in its restaurants, all its establishments are classified HQE, high Environmental Quality. This leader who has the sense of the formula recalls that “only the exemplarity justifies the authority”.