Lovin' the Loire

A (Waiter’s) Race for Jobs
At each relay station, a new glass is added to the tray.

A (Waiter’s) Race for Jobs

A waiters’ race through the cobblestone streets of Amboise on April 15 aimed to attract job-seekers to the hotel and restaurant industry.  Around a hundred potential recruits attended a job fair that preceded the race.

On your marks, get set, go! One hundred and ten brave souls took to the streets of central Amboise on April 15 in a waiters’ race, trays laden with plastic glasses of water, showing off their balancing prowess in a fun challenge aimed at highlighting job opportunities in the Val d’Amboise.

Housing, transportation, grants, and training available to candidates

The relay race, a first for Amboise, followed a job fair organized by the local hoteliers’ federation in the face of a serious staff shortage. The kilometer-long route though the town center stretched from the tourism office to the château, then along the main shopping street, a loop completed twice. At each of the four relay stations, a new teammate added a glass to the tray and continued the race.

At the finish, the last runner had to have five glasses on his or her tray, with the goal of pouring the most water into the team’s bucket in order for it to be declared the winner.

The winners, Team “Fourchette (fork)”, boasted that they weren’t even in the restaurant business—they were osteopaths!

Anouk Colas isn’t in the business either. As a member of Team “Aspirateurs (vacuum cleaners),” the 15-year-old came from nearby Chargé with a group of friends “just for fun,“ she said.

Amroise Voreux, the guest of honor, presented the awards. The 26-year-old chef based in the Loire village of Bréhémont lasted six weeks as a contestant in the reality TV cooking show Top Chef last year.

Earlier, at Amboise’s Beaumarchais Theatre, the job fair attracted 105 youths seeking information about opportunities in the Val d’Amboise restaurant sector, according to Cécile Cariou, head of local employment initiative  Amboise Recrute and manager of a four-star hotel in nearby Chargé, the Château de Pray. She said she was delighted with the “very positive” result.

In the “job dating“ format, potential candidates moved from stand to stand, learning about incentives on offer such as housing, transportation, grants and training—often free of charge. Among the job seekers was 18-year-old Camille Lequeux, a first-year law student at the University of Tours. She would like to work this summer “to earn money but also to improve my English,” she said. ”With a job in the food-service business I’ll be able meet people in a lively atmosphere.”

Staff shortages

Guillaume Petibon of the Domaine des Thomeaux, a hotel-spa in Mosne about seven miles to the east, said he came to the fair in the face of a staff shortage. “To operate normally, we would need a fourth receptionist, a second head waiter and an extra waiter.” And it won’t bet just for the summer, said Petibon, assistant manager at the hotel, which has sales of around two million euros. “They will start on a fixed-term contract for training, followed by a permanent contract.”

Philippe, who runs the Sports Café next to the Amboise Tourism Office, was rather skeptical however. “Of course we’re short-staffed,” he said. ”But an event like this won’t encourage young people to come and work for us. They no longer want to work evenings or weekends.”