Since 1 July 1990, Florent has been greeting the customers of CERN’s Restaurant No. 1 with a welcoming smile and roaming the Organization’s corridors to serve coffee. Thirty years on, as he prepares to retire, Florent looks back on a career that has always brought him fulfilment: “People at CERN are not just friendly and warm, they also have so much to tell you, you never get tired of listening to them. I’ve learned a lot from them. And there’s no need to travel the world when the whole world is right here in the restaurant!” According to Florent, it’s this human interaction and warmth that best characterise the catering profession.
Florent will be taking the memory of many faces, conversations and events with him when he moves to his new home in the French Jura. Memories of the men and women who shape the daily life of the Organization, as well as of celebrities and other prominent people whom he had the opportunity to meet: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the actor Tom Hanks, and French President Jacques Chirac and King Juan Carlos II of Spain at the ceremony for CERN’s 50th ceremony. “All those important people gathered together in a marquee on the CERN site, being served by me and my colleagues. It was very stressful but also very exciting to be involved in such an important event!”
Catering at CERN has changed a lot in 30 years. Florent has fond memories of taking daily trays of coffee and pastries to the directors’ offices and to meeting rooms, a practice that has almost disappeared today. And, of course, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the profession, adding yet more constraints to an already tough job. Unfortunately, the pandemic means that Florent won’t be able to organise a leaving party to celebrate his retirement with the CERN community to which he has always belonged, so please feel free to send him your goodbye wishes by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.