‘The whole school has worked so well …’
Renato Guiomar is the Academic director of the EHF (Escola de Hotelaria de Fátima), and is a former student of the School’s Restaurant/Bar department. Together with Head of Department Elisabeth Marquès, Finance Director Pedro Major (both of them former students at the school) and Yannick Genard in charge of the kitchens, they make up the team in charge of running Christmas in Europe in Fátima. However, the death of their director Francisco Vieira on October 1st 2017 seriously upset the initial plans put in place following Christmas in Europe in San Benedetto del Tronto in 2016.
With a smile playing on his lips, Renato says, ‘The programme had been gradually put together ever since that moment by Francisco Vieira, and his death only strengthened our determination to set the programme to music in his memory.’ ‘The school has 300 students and 23 teachers,’ says Renato, who is very proud of his troops who, he tells me, ‘have all reported for duty with great enthusiasm. And yes, I’m very relaxed, the whole school has worked so well throughout this time.’
Another aspect which greatly pleases Renato is the media coverage of the event. ‘The school received coverage from three local newspapers as well as from the local television station and from national television. Each time we had the opportunity to explain about Christmas in Europe and about our other projects. From a personal point of view I’m very satisfied and pleased that everything has gone well, and to judge from all the smiles I see around me, I think the delegations are very happy too. And then, Christmas in Europe has breathed a new dynamism into the school.’
‘My students have really pulled the stops out …’
Yannick Genard is from the Aisne Department in France, and at age 55 he is THE man in charge of the kitchens at the EHF in Fátima, supported by three Portuguese colleagues. Throughout the Christmas in Europe event he has personally supervised the preparation of the varied and excellent buffets as well as the gala dinner. As he explains, always calm and smiling, ‘In the kitchen at normal times I have an average of 20 students per class, and around 150 students who are specialising in culinary arts. But for this event, it was something else, with students coming from all over the place to prepare the buffets. There was a very special atmosphere where each delegation had particular requests that had to be met. But it all worked perfectly. And I’m pleased with how my students worked – they really pulled all the stops out.’ Another smile and then off he went, snatched away by his work.