As temperatures dip, I find myself curled up with a bowl of hot soup at lunchtime at the IMD Restaurant. Some days ago we enjoyed an aromatic tagine and slices of thick walnut baklava on Morocco Day. And who can forget those glorious summer days of unlimited, and I mean, unlimited, Movenpick ice cream?! And as we hurtle towards graduation, it would be a mistake to not profile and thank the incredible novae team who keep us nourished and quite frankly, alive, during what may well be one of the most challenging years of our careers.
Anyone who has considered IMD, or made it to Assessment Day, or has given a lecture to students here, has heard of and likely dined at the IMD Restaurant. And then told friends and family of its multi culinary lore. It is literally that epic. I have personally overheard at an alumni reunion, a former IMD MBA in line for lunch saying, “Oh gosh, I’ve missed this so much!”
Nestled between the MBA buildings, the Executive Learning Center, Bignami, and a lush green park sits the Restaurant, appropriately at the heart of IMD social life. It is a large space with ground and first floors and an outdoor patio that opens up in the warmer months. Through the glass windows, you can see groups of people breaking bread, engrossed in conversation. On a given day when I walk across the hall, I can hear chatter on new business articles, potential projects, an upcoming lecture series, new parents aspiring for a good night’s sleep and my peers discussing Lacustre shenanigans from last evening.
What we rarely see, or think about, is the effort behind the production house that feeds hundreds of people on a daily basis, including 90 MBAs with appetites as vast as their professional ambitions. I could imagine an accounting line item just for us, “MBA variable costs = 1.5*Regular diner variable costs” #mbahumor
The novae team begins their day at 6AM. They spend the morning chopping, sauteing, and preparing all the dishes in the interconnected kitchens behind and above the dining areas. Olivier, who generously took all these fantastic pictures, and I took a sneak peek to prepare for this post and were amazed at this labyrinth of cooking stations where the team works in planned unison, churning out copious amounts of greek salad, daal, sweet potato fries, cannelloni, and grilled fish, so streamlined and efficient. No surprise then that when the cream puffs are almost over, we see a tray of freshly prepared plump cream-filled pastry goodness appear within minutes.
Stressed spelled backward is desserts, and the novae team has spoilt us for choice. International sweets aren’t uncommon. Seen below are the aforementioned cream puffs, and “basbousa”, an Egyptian sweet cake. For those healthy living days, there is a supply of fruit and yogurt 🙂
Lunch is typically followed by an expresso at the Bignami cafe we know as Mireille’s. How she remembers our orders I will never know. It is an experience that makes IMD special to us and can brighten up even the dullest day.
I wish you all the opportunity to dine at the IMD Restaurant. It provides so much more than a meal. It is where you find some kindness and camaraderie, where we eat at the same table, regardless of our differences. In fact, between trying dishes from Tunisia and Sri Lanka, we’ve expanded our palates and even given vegetarian burgers a shot (for the record, they were pretty good)! The Restaurant also has made us think about not wasting food, where our food comes from, and you can sometimes see locally sourced labels at the lunch buffet. In a world that is becoming alarmingly polarized, food remains a common denominator of humanity, and in our tiny Alpine corner of the universe, this industrious establishment has all of us covered, and how.
On behalf of the Class of 2019, thank you, dear novae team: Frédéric, Arnaud, Nicolas, Jérome, Aloïs, Philippe, Malick, Cedric, Arno, Luis, Kumarasamy, Sébastien, José, Jean-Jacques, Carlos, Emanuel, Gatien, Guillaume, Mireille, Jorge, Antonio, Zahra, Maëwen