Middle East hospitality moves for École Ducasse and Sommet Education

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced a partnership with Erth Hospitality to launch École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio, the region’s first institute by École Ducasse, this coming December.

Under the influence of culinary icon Chef Alain Ducasse, who has an impressive 20 Michelin stars to his name, the studio will be located in the heart of the city at Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation and is set to enrich the culinary education landscape in the UAE.

Short and professional classes will be taught in a contemporary and friendly space, with easy-to-use professional equipment. With a small group of students per class, allowing for one-to-one attention, this studio will help clients and learners enhance their talent, while providing a gourmet café and welcoming corporate events.

École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio will offer exceptional classes and courses for all abilities, from aspiring culinary enthusiasts to talents looking to broaden their skill sets. These include the Culinary Arts and Pastry programmes which will provide the opportunity to discover the fundamentals of French and international cuisine as well as the Ducasse philosophy.

Themes on these programmes range from “First Cooking Lesson – Learning to Cook Without Inhibition”, “Cooking For a Special Event” and “Do it Like a Chef – Cuisine 3*”, to “Healthy Cooking”, “Kids and Teens in the Kitchen”, “Mediterranean Cuisine” and the “Famous Parisian Macarons Madness Class”.

Located within the historic Al Hosn site, École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio is a meticulously designed, 418 square metre space. The studio boasts a generous classroom area, a fully equipped workshop show kitchen, a bespoke Chef’s table and a large outdoor terrace with views of the Abu Dhabi skyline.

His Excellency Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The expansion of Abu Dhabi’s thriving vibrant culinary landscape is part of our commitment to fostering and encouraging cultural expression in the emirate. The arrival of École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio in the UAE capital will transform the culinary sector while greatly contributing to the growth of the hospitality industry in the region. By nurturing local talent and fostering creativity and innovation, we aspire to create a lasting impact on the culinary scene in Abu Dhabi and beyond.”

The announcement follows the launch of an AED 360 million culinary sector acceleration programme, which aims to attract leading brands to the UAE capital over five years and bolster Abu Dhabi’s development as a gastronomical hub.

Erth Hospitality will serve as the partner of the renowned culinary school École Ducasse, bringing over 25 years’ expertise and passion for the hospitality industry to this venture. In unveiling this transformative partnership, Chief Executive Officer Shaikha Al Kaabi underlined its profound significance for the region of Abu Dhabi and highlighted Erth Hospitality’s pivotal role in bringing École Ducasse to the Emirates.

She commented: “École Ducasse stands as a beacon of global culinary excellence, and its arrival in Abu Dhabi signifies a momentous milestone. This collaboration not only solidifies our commitment to fostering culinary brilliance but also reaffirms Abu Dhabi’s status as a burgeoning culinary hub, ready to host and inspire talents from Emiratis and beyond. Erth Hospitality is proud to spearhead this endeavour, bridging the gap between tradition and innovation, and ensuring that École Ducasse’s world-class philosophy and expertise are woven into the fabric of our region’s culinary identity. Together, we shall lay the foundations for the continuous growth and evolution of culinary arts, nurturing local, regional and international talents alike.”

Alain Ducasse is Michelin’s most decorated chef of all time. He launched his first culinary and pastry school in 1999 and has since established globally recognised institutes in India, the Philippines and Thailand. The launch of École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio is a significant milestone, as the emirate welcomes an institution dedicated to gastronomic innovation and excellence, elevating the local culinary scene.

Elise Masurel, Managing Director of École Ducasse, said: “The launch of École Ducasse Studio in partnership with Erth Hospitality in Abu Dhabi is a great milestone for us in the Middle East region, and we are very happy to contribute to enriching the local gastronomic scene and encouraging culinary talents to flourish.”

Through its unique and personalised cooking classes, and its café and corporate events offer, École Ducasse Abu Dhabi Studio will promote culinary excellence, innovation, and cultural exchange in Abu Dhabi, an emirate that boasts a diverse population of over 200 nationalities. As a melting pot of cultures, Abu Dhabi provides an ideal home for the institute, welcoming talents from around the world and fostering a nurturing environment for creativity and the space to develop new culinary trends.

Meanwhile, Boutique Group, a hospitality company fully owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, merging the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s culture and heritage with contemporary elegance to develop historic and cultural places into ultra-luxury boutique hotels, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sommet Education, a leading global network of hospitality management and culinary arts schools.

Boutique Group is a one-of-a-kind hospitality company developed to deliver a unique ultra-luxury Saudi experience that contributes to the local economy and enhances the Kingdom’s position as a leading cultural tourism destination in line with the Vision 2030. Sommet Education, meanwhile, encompasses prestigious institutions such as Swiss originated hospitality business schools Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches, together with culinary and pastry arts school École Ducasse.

The collaboration between Boutique Group and Sommet Education will focus on three main areas: training programmes, recruitment, and internships.

Sommet Education will support Boutique Group through customised and bespoke training pathways, enabling Boutique employees to benefit from Sommet’s vast experience in crafting hospitality programmes tailored to the talent development of the company’s staff.

As Boutique Group continues to recruit talent, locally and internationally, Sommet Education has the opportunity to play a significant role through its established network to ensure that the unique talents from its hospitality schools join Boutique.

Boutique Group will offer internship programmes for students, providing them with invaluable hands-on training and experience. In turn, this will help to establish a talent network, ensuring a flow of passionate individuals who are familiar with the company’s ethos and standards.

CEOs from Boutique Group and Sommet Education met in Abu Dhabi at the Future Hospitality Summit and Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference 2023 to formally sign the MoU.

Mark De Cocinis, CEO at Boutique Group, said: “Partnering with Sommet Education was a natural next step for us. Their commitment to delivering top-tier hospitality management and culinary arts schooling directly aligns with our goals of cultivating industry professionals and fuels my enthusiasm for fostering Saudi talents. Through innovative training, we aim to nurture possibility and inspire the visionaries who will drive our industry forward.”

Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education, added: “We are excited about our collaboration with novel pioneers, Boutique Group, as it enhances our potential to revolutionise how hospitality professionals are developed. We spark new heights of greatness for generations of leaders via collaborative programmes that combine our recognised expertise.”

The MoU confirms the expansion of an already fruitful partnership. Boutique Group previously engaged the educational institution to deliver Medh’Yaf, a hospitality immersion programme that focused on the luxury hospitality landscape, techniques to develop and bring to life cultural heritage, and how to deliver the ultra-luxury experience, to over 70 of their employees.

Sommet Education’s network of hospitality management and culinary arts schools offer the highest quality education and training, aligning with industry best practices and standards. It is the only education group with two in the Top 5 globally-ranked institutions for hospitality education and by employer reputation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).