I raise my hat

Dear Laurent, As a French chef who has seen the world, you are currently running the kitchen of the British International School Budapest. Would you tell Coninvest readers a little about your work?
After spending several years abroad on oil platforms and hotels, I was lucky to be able to return to Budapest to apply as a head chef at the International English School in Budapest.
After an interview with the HR manager, the chief operating officer offered me this job opportunity.
That’s why I’m the head of cooking technology in the school kitchen today. As the head of the institution, I would like to thank them once again for giving me this opportunity and trust.

When did you decide to become a chef? How did the love of cooking come about?
I grew up with my grandmother, who lived in a small French town in the north, and was often involved in making Sunday lunch. I brought fresh vegetables and fruits from her garden, and later I also helped for family reasons and so cooking became indispensable, it became part of my everyday life. When I was 12, my parents noticed that I also had a great mood for cooking, so they decided to send a chef to a friend of ours every week during the school break to see if I still like cooking in the commercial kitchen. Despite my twelve years of age, the chef was not spared, from the beginning I became a member of the team with all the difficulties of working in the kitchen.
I fell in love so much that during my school years, during the holidays, I often spent the holidays there as well.

How long have you been living in Hungary?
I arrived in Hungary on May 5, 1988.

Do you also like Hungarian food? What is your opinion about Hungarian cuisine? Do you have favorit?
I love traditional Hungarian cuisine, which is a rich and delicious cuisine.
The new trends affect the preparation of the dishes, which is not bad, but it does not give back the origin and value of real Hungarian cuisine.
To this day, I am willing to travel several kilometers to taste real Hungarian flavors.

Is it true to say that butter, butter and even more butter are the three basic ingredients in French cuisine?
It is very true that good quality butter is the basis of French cuisine, as it gives the food a special taste when cooked.
Now Hungarian chefs are also using more and more butter.

According to foreigners, the Hungarian language is one of the most difficult, yet you speak it perfectly, almost without an accent.
How did you manage to master the language so much?
Thank you for the compliment!
I think when someone comes to a foreign country, they have to try to learn a few words to understand the people they work with and then learn more and more with perseverance. I started reading, communicating, building relationships to make it easier for me to integrate into the Hungarian language and of course my family helped me a lot. At first I never would have thought I would get this far because I worked as a French ambassador for a long time and everyone around me spoke French. Later, I had the opportunity to participate in the Hungarian labor market, which helped me a lot. I would also like to mention a small anecdote at the end of this: At Christmas, in 1988, I got a book from the Ambassador of France as a gift, authored by Sándor Eckhardt, entitled: Handbook for Learning Hungarian. After opening the first page, I said to myself that I would never learn this language because it is very difficult. But by now, I’ve mastered it pretty well and I get along with everyone.

The news is that not only are the children like to be at the British School, but the people who work there are also very enthusiastic about the institution. How do you see that?
That’s true. Here is an opportunity to work in an international environment, with its rules and freedoms. And we, the people who work here, need to assess and respect as much as possible this environment in which students learn and where we spend our daily lives.

What kind of food is prepared in the school kitchen and according to what aspects?
Firstly, the rules on culinary, calorie and other nutrition issues must be strictly adhered. The menus are created with the support of our nutrition consultant, and I always try to prepare the dishes with seasonal ingredients (vegetables, fruits).
The dishes we serve always comply with the dietary rules, we offer a variety of vegetables every day to accompany the meats. Children have the opportunity to eat a variety of fruits daily and we also serve homemade dessert only once a week.
We follow strict rules regarding special (allergy, diet) menus, which are also prepared in a separate kitchen under the supervision of our nutrition consultant.

If my information is good, you contacted Coninvest in August because your machine failed. And the choice fell on a double-basket Meiko M-iClean HXL automatic hat lifter, which was purchased after a survey and a request for quotation. Why did you choose this machine?
We received professional advice from Coninvest to help us make the choice.
The Meiko M-iClean HXL is a state-of-the-art dishwasher with a short program (1.5 minutes), automatic, with environmentally friendly, water and power consumption. Easy to handle, the hat raises automatically, no manual operation required.

Why was Coninvest asked for an offer? Have there been any previous relationships between the two companies?
I have known Coninvest since its inception, so I have recommended the services of this professional company. Their sales sector is perfect, and there is also a service and parts warehouse near Budapest. You don’t have to wait several weeks to solve technical problems, which is very important.

How important do you consider modern kitchen technology processes?
It is a great help at work and a huge time saver that makes the work of the workers much easier.

It’s been a while since August, how did Meiko work in practice? What are the benefits?
It is a pleasure for me to be able to make the daily lives of my colleagues easier
Since then, I have not seen them lift the hat of the machine by hand, which is approx. it took every two minutes during service, and that meant at least 150 raises.
Both water consumption and power consumption have been greatly reduced, resulting in additional savings.

Are there any other kitchen technology equipment purchases that the institution may need in the future?
We are working to modernize some elements of the kitchen, which would allow us to make new recipes and make it easier to serve 900 days of service.

Finally, can we ask you for a short personal quote or thought?
“The reverse of the kitchen, restaurant decor, where men and women are activated to the delight of others.”
Bernard Loiseau


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