HEC Paris Interviews Alain Lenotre about CIL for Alumni Stories

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Alain Lenotre Has Taught the French Culinary Tradition for More Than 20 Years in the US

Son of the famous pastry chef Gaston Lenotre, Alain Lenotre also inherited the talent of his grandmother Eleonore, one of the first French women chefs. For over 20 years Alain, with his wife Marie, has shared his knowledge and skills at the CULINARY INSTITUTE LENOTRE (CIL) in Houston Texas. By training students and polishing chefs from all over the world to the excellence of the French cuisine and pastry, CIL ensures the Lenotre legacy lives on.

Your Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary and received a great award last year …

We were indeed delighted to receive a very nice gift from the company Niche – ranking Culinary Institute Lenotre the #1 Culinary College in America! On this occasion, we also discovered that we had already been named by the company CollegeChoice.net for Best Associate Degree in Culinary Arts in the United States.

To date we have around 300 students with ample full-time chefs, many of which are French. Our chefs have an average of 20 years experience in the restaurant industry. CIL offers two Elite Diploma Programs and three Associate Degree programs. All employees, from pensioners to the director, are shareholders and currently own 22.7% of the capital.

What the French know-how means today in the United States

We teach our students that the origins of Western fine cuisine are from France. The vocabulary and techniques are French. France represents a civilization of wellbeing – thanks to our land, the knowledge of our artisans and our vineyards. We are very proud of this. We also teach the French tradition of restaurant and hotel management. Many of our students are from countries other than the United States.

What program do you offer to students?

The hands-on cuisine program includes fundamentals of the French fine cuisine techniques as well as recipes of great chefs, plus a portion dedicated to international cuisine.

For the pastry, bakery, ice cream, and decors, these programs highlight French techniques. We also have a restaurant, Le Bistro, inside the Institute with a Quebec chef who welcomes the students who wish to extend their apprenticeship with an internship.

This restaurant, dedicated to the students who are going into practicum, allows us to introduce ourselves to the public and to offer practice experience to the students. Our Institute is approved by the United States Department of Education, ACCSC and TWC, which allows us to offer to our foreign students seeking a 2-year Associate Degree an F1 visa. It is interesting for our students to learn French culinary art in the English language.

Read the article from HEC Paris in French here!

Alain Lenotre

Alain Lenotre worked for 20 years in the family business created in Paris in 1957 by his parents, Gaston and Colette. Founder of Lenotre School, then deputy general manager of Lenotre Paris, particularly in charge of the development of Lenotre franchises in the world. In charge of the Lenotre subsidiary in Dallas and Houston, he left the family business, sold to Accor in 1984, to found with his wife, Marie, in Houston a French chain of pastry-cafe-caterers. Then, in 1998 they diversified it by creating Culinary Institute Lenotre, which has now been ranked number one Culinary College in the United States by by Niche for three consecutive years in 2019, 2020, and 2021.



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