In a celebration of all things embracing the French Alps, FACT caught up with Laurent Rigaud to learn more about the upcoming event from October 15 to 21 and his experience in Dubai’s hospitality scene…
Hi Laurent! You are heavily involved in the creation of Alp Fest – tell us more about the week-long event and what visitors can expect to experience?
Absolutely, I initiated the Savoie week four years ago with the Hilton Jumeirah. For the first edition, we brought two chefs from Savoie and a ski champion. Since then we have grown into a multi-activity festival. This year, visitors will discover the cuisine of Jeremy Trincaz of Les Cornettes, meet two cheese masters Best Craftsmen of France (MOF), discover the chocolates of the 150-year-old Maison Bonnat, and taste the beverages from Maison Dolin and Jean Perrier et fils. Discover the Alp’s folk music with les Tradisons, experience our ski simulator, meet the representatives of the Chatel-Portes du soleil ski resort and discover the savoir-faire of some of our exhibitors.
What are some of the other organisations that you are a part of in celebrating French culture and heritage here in the UAE?
I am the president of the French Community Club in Dubai, an association that organises various social and cultural activities for the French community and francophone.
Why is it important to you to share your French roots with the wider UAE community?
In this particular case, bringing the Alps to Dubai is natural. There are quite a number of UAE nationals and residents that own properties in Savoie, especially in and around Evian where I was born. In the summer, you can meet UAE friends who visit our beautiful mountains and lakes. In the winter you can see them on the ski slopes of Courchevel, Valloire, Val Thorens or Chatel, we are getting more and more people discovering the snow of our Alps.
Working in hospitality, what are three key elements that you believe are important to fulfill guest requirements?
- Consistency in quality and service
- Guest focus and recognition
- Value for money
You bring a wealth of experience to the UAE hospitality industry. What has kept you so loyal and dedicated to this sector for so long?
My grandmothers and my mother who have raised me were hard working women and fabulous cooks. I was raised in the kitchen. I went through the traditional French hospitality education system and held various positions over the years with great mentors. My loyalty to our industry is based on the passion that I have developed for restaurants and hotels, people, our guests, our team members and the envy to always deliver the best. Working in this industry has given me lots of opportunities, to travel the world, develop myself and meet great people.
What are some of your professional goals over the next year?
My key goal for next year is to open our three new hotel properties on The Palm.
GO: Search “Alp Fest Dubai” on Facebook or visit www3.hilton.com for tickets