Alumni STORIES – VOL.1 | ronan le mestre

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“When I was a student, I already had a great appreciation for Maison Ladurée!”

Alumnus | INSEEC
Program | International BBA full English program
Graduated in 2002
City of residence | Paris

What made you progress as a student, and still does today?

All the people I had the chance to meet during my studies, my travels and my experiences. In addition to my family, which has always been a strong foundation, the friends I made at INSEEC BBA have been a constant throughout my career. I’m the only one who followed the luxury path, the others work in the social sector as well as in home automation, but we have remained very close despite our different trajectories!

While his crepe-making grandmother filled Ronan with the delicacies of their native lands, the locally famous buckwheat galettes were first in sight, porcelain, silverware, and crystal were laid out to whet the appetite. All the while, his father played sommelier beside a spouse who kept the stove running full blast to delight the whole house, which was regularly flush with a group of friends: “Taking so much time over a meal is an integral part of our French art of living. No matter what positions I have held, I have always valued this sense of hospitality, this cultural exception relative to the world.” And his love of culinary elegance could not have kept Ronan at Carnac Plage, or even within France. The International Director of the Ladurée pastry House found a craving for other places as early as high school, during a year of studies in New York State — “when I came home, I had the idea of studying something that would allow me to continue in this direction.” He ended up in Paris, where he hoped to flourish, after having been seduced by a business course in a school offering a niche program that was given in English: “At the time, the INSEEC BBA program was a UFO among business schools. We had courses on the history of the United States, professors who came from Harvard or Georgetown… If they put so much emphasis on perfect mastery of the English language, it’s because it makes a huge difference in recruitment!” Because he was the kind of model student to whom one could refer in case of absence, Ronan went through his training without a hitch nor a doubt, even though he was destined for a sector that young graduates were not yet seeking out: “Once I arrived in the capital, I was able to assert and emancipate myself, but above all I understood that there was more to the world of luxury than just fashion — cuisine is also a major part of it!

This intersection between luxury and cuisine has been the common thread in all my experiences.” A great Parisian palace was checked off at the beginning of this long list; at the Ritz Escoffier school, the spirited trainee had plenty of time to confirm his beliefs: “I ended up spending my entire vacation there, as they had taken me on as an extra to interpret the customized cooking classes given to foreign VIP clients in real-time. At that moment, I had also been chosen to work for Van Cleef & Arpels; I preferred to eat better!” Hired by La Cornue just after, an outstanding equipment manufacturer, Ronan promoted their prestigious cooking pianos across all meridians, as much for Jordanian royalty as for markets that are Taiwanese and Korean: “In two years, we were very proud to have established this flagship of French know-how in more than twelve countries and as many key markets!” Nearly a decade of this regimen finally pushed his travel frenzy to its limit, prompting Ronan to step back and breathe for a minute. If he infused his skills for several seasons in exceptional teas as Director of Business Development at Mariages Frères, the insatiable man could not resist the opportunity to fly beneath sun and moon to promote the world’s finest macaroon: “When I was a student, I already had a great appreciation for the House of Ladurée! I currently manage the operations of all our franchises. My responsibilities are to rethink policy with my team, and also to develop the House of Ladurée’s reach at the international level.”

By opening a boutique in Delhi, not content with following his instincts on a street that could have instilled doubt in more than one, Ronan passes on his expertise as scientific director of the INSEEC BBA’s luxury division. This foodie thus joyfully demonstrates the multiple outlets of professions that delight the palate; an effort of connecting the knowledge of each station with aspirations of duration — “luxury does not only require to reach a high level of excellence; once it is reached, one must also be able to maintain it!” And if the pace of his work gives off the adrenaline that stops just short of wanting to start a family, when he returns from each stopover, Ronan never fails to gather his loved ones around a Cajun recipe or a dessert inspired by his travels. The fellow who trots the world in search of places piqued by epicureanism and new avenues to explore that keep him moving ahead, continues to satisfy the evolving appetite that he has always fed.

Written portrait© Maison Trafalgar | Watercolor drawing © Maison Trafalgar & Camille Romanetto

Updated 18 October 2022