A distinguished guest
For many years the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has subsidised the AEHT, and moreover it was for this reason that the AEHT transferred its head office from Strasbourg to Luxembourg. Michel Lanners, chief government adviser to the Ministry of Education, Childhood and Youth devoted two days during this 29th Annual Conference to finding out for himself what really happens in the AEHT.
To the left
No, not a political slogan, but a reality which it is difficult to ignore in the United Kingdom. Vehicles drive on the left of the road, and you really have to look carefully at the pedestrian crossings – otherwise an accident is a near-certainty.
Ah the Thames!
Being accommodated in the Guoman Tower Hotel, all the delegations could not be unaware of the Thames running by at the foot of the hotel with Tower Bridge like a post card. A sight for sore eyes! And for those lucky enough to have a view over Tower Bridge the spectacle was permanent. Especially at night!
Underground and bus
Given the geographical location of the two places where the competitions were held, Redbridge College and Docklands Academy London, every day the participants had to take the underground and the bus, representing a journey of a good hour in each direction. Fortunately the pre-loaded Oyster Card which each participant found in their welcome pack enabled them to travel everywhere without paying a penny.
At the opening ceremony of the 29th Annual Conference a teacher from the Belgian team was given a round of applause on what was his 61st birthday, October 24th. The assembled participants sang Happy Birthday for him!
Fish and chips and roasted peanuts
Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are major tourist attractions, causing a constant stream of visitors of all nationalities and a pleasant mix of languages. Lots of tourists means vendors of all kinds of food and souvenirs. That is why smells of roasted peanuts, or in some cases fish and chips, waft through the air.
Lost … but found again
The demonstration kit belonging to the EUROLAM company (a new AEHT partner), containing a whole series of knives and other sharp objects for professional use, didn’t turn up in London, even though the box weighing 30 kilos had indeed been sent off by the company’s head office in Thiers (France). This threw Philippe and Aurélien, the two sales representatives, into great despair. But in the end, after a lot of searching and many phone calls, everything was back to normal. They managed to put their equipment on display in time. Phew!
Last Annual Conference for Serge Sevaux
Serge Sevaux, the sales director for the Grand Marnier company, was a little nostalgic as he once again served his delicious wares to the visitors to his stand at Redbridge College. And at the gala dinner he presented bottles of his brand of liqueur to the winners of the cocktail competition. For indeed, as of March 1st 2017, he will be taking retirement. What is the future of the brand’s association with the AEHT? No-one knows, since the company has recently been bought out. The AEHT would like to take the opportunity of expressing its gratitude to Serge Sevaux, and of assuring him that he will always be welcome at the AEHT Annual Conference!
Docklands Academy London did things in style! Each participant found in their bedroom a pretty bag containing items given by their sponsors: pasta, a small jar of jam, a souvenir saucer from Villeroy et Boch – the next size up would be given out at the gala dinner – a box of Turkish Delight and a little flask for sportsmen and sportswomen.
Three medals for Luxembourg
No fewer than three medals for Luxembourg! An excellent harvest for the Diekirch Hotel School! Given that the Diekirch School was entering only five students, that was proportionally a truly excellent score!
An ‘aide-mémoire’ for tourists
The organisers had also had the bright idea of setting out in a brochure everything that was worth visiting in London. The document mentioned the museums and galleries, the markets and the department stores, the options for discovering London by bus or by boat, the parks and gardens and of course the castles, palaces and other interesting sites.
This was a comment heard in the kitchens during the competitions: we haven’t seen the president doing a visit round here to greet the judging panels and the students.