Faculty spotlight: Mr. Gilbert, F&B instructor for hospitality management courses

A quick Q&A session with Mathieu Gilbert, service instructor for Glion’s hospitality management courses.

By the Glion Gazette Editorial Team

Mathieu Gilbert, or better known as  Mr. Gilbert, is one of the most respected  and admired instructors of our school.

His work and dedication in the different restaurants of the school creates a true love for the industry of Food and Beverage. By all, he is known for his love for hospitality in general but his passion is in giving the client a personal, professional and enthusiastic treatment. In this interview, we will try to discover a more personal Mr. Gilbert through his ideas, dreams and aspirations.

Question: Let’s start from the beginning. How did you decide that you wanted to carve your path in the hospitality world, and what were your first steps like?

Answer: I was backpacking across Canada, and settled down in a resort town called Banff, where most of the jobs are in hotels and restaurants. After 2 weeks of being there, I remember becoming a waiter, without training, in a 4-star hotel and how bad I was. The only things I knew were to carry plates and iron my shirts. My first 3 months in this adventure were really a nightmare. I basically learnt on the spot.

Q: I know that Food and Beverage, especially the world of wines, became one of the most important parts of your life very quickly. How do you identify with this world and what makes it so special?

A: The more I grew in this industry, the more I really wanted to be able to suggest wines appropriately to the guest. My love for wine was a good excuse to study it. For someone who does not know much about wines, it can be intimidating to choose a bottle, and I felt like this with many customers. I am passionate about wines since my early years in restaurants.

Since the beginning, I always wanted to break the rules of the aristocracy of wine… When you discover the differences between grape variety, how it’s matching with food, it can create magic…And this magic never ends, as I think it’s impossible to know everything about wine.

Q: I know that one day, something suddenly changed within you, making you decide that education was a great alternative to the busy life of working directly in a F&B company. What exactly did you feel at that point that led you to become an instructor? Was there any reason why you chose Glion?

A: In the industry, I was often asked by my managers to train the new staff and it was very interesting for me. I learnt a lot about leadership and communication as I trained staff that had 10 years more experience than me. I started as an instructor by mistake. I was a chef de bar in Lausanne and a student, who was doing a part-time job there, asked me to participate in a charity event as a sommelier in another hotel school. I did it, and got noticed by the manager, who then offered me a bar instructor job.

Lucky me, I got under the wing of someone who showed me quite a lot in this line of work, especially patience. This person came to Glion, and eventually, I arrived here as well. He is the ‘’Jedi’’, who played a big part in my development. Today, I consider myself lucky to share my passion about F&B with students from all over the world, and influence them regarding this great job.

Q: Being in this school has definitely influenced many aspects of your life. You have learnt to appreciate living life at a slower-pace than before, to enjoy the moment more, and it has also been a “turning point” in your personal life. In these years of teaching at Glion, and being a part of its community, what has been your biggest takeaway both, professionally and personally?

A: The thing I learnt the most was patience, in both, my personal, and professional, life. I’ve also learnt to analyse more before taking action. I’m an intense person, so I used to think and act on instinct.

Q: Have you had thoughts or ideas of some plans for your career after Glion. Could you give us a brief idea of what would you like to do right after?

A: I would love to open my own restaurant. My experience at the ‘Place to Go’ really confirmed it.

Q: To sum it up, you have been working with students of many different ages, from young BBA in Hospitality students to pretty mature people of the postgraduate hospitality management programs. And you’ve worked with older people as well. What do you think that 17-year-olds and 45-year-olds have in common in this industry? Could you please give us an advice for our future careers?

A: Something that’s common between people from different age groups, it’s travelling. Of course, some of the younger ones think that they will drive a Ferrari right after Glion, while the older ones that have already worked in any sphere know more about working one’s way up. My advice is – Do a job that you’re passionate about, rather than for the money. It’s always easy to find money. And be creative and open-minded, as this industry is always changing.

And finally, just to prove that Mr. Gilbert does not disappear when he’s not wearing a suit and tie, some pictures of him enjoying his life outside of Glion. 

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