The François Chartier Scholarship Program
François Chartier created the scholarship that bears his name in 2019. His goal was to offer new opportunities and high-level professional experiences to young talents from the sommelier program at l’École Hôtelière des Laurentides (EHDL, Canada). When he launched the project, he explained that “the time has come for me to give to the next generation and allow aspiring sommeliers to rub shoulders with the greatest chefs, sommeliers and winemakers I have had the privilege of collaborating with for years.”
François Chartier’s Scholarship is awarded every two years to a student in the sommelier program at the EHDL, his alma mater. He received the Seagram Scholarship in 1989, assigned to the EHDL’s most promising student.
The first François Chartier Scholarship was awarded on May 17, 2019 to Millie Jacques Bouchard, sommelier at the Bistro à Champlain restaurant (Grand Award Wine Spectator) at the Estérel Resort, located in L’Estérel, in the Laurentians.
Sharing passion and stimulating potential
For the first Chartier Scholarship in 2019, the winner flew to Spain for an all-expenses-paid year (internships, airfare, accommodation, food, local travel and necessary expenses) to work alongside some of the most exceptional professionals in the world of cuisine and wine. Among them are chef Ferran Adrià and sommelier Ferran Centelles (of the elBulli Foundation) for a two-month internship as well as with chefs and sommeliers from two prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants: El Cellar de Can Roca (4 months) and Mugaritz (4 months), both listed among the world’s top 10 restaurants. At the end of the stay, the winner works for four months in the vineyards and winery of the exceptional Catalan winery Bodegas Alemany i Corrio, located in the Penedès region, an essential reference in the Spanish wine world. According to the creator of the scholarship, this is highly desirable career start for these young professionals. “To do their job well, sommeliers need to acquire a basic knowledge of cooking, since the harmony between wine and food is at the heart of their daily work. It is also in their interest to understand the language of the winemaker,” explains François Chartier.
About L’École Hôtelière des Laurentides
Located in Sainte-Adèle, l’École Hôtelière des Laurentides (EHDL) has been contributing for more than 35 years to the quality of the hospitality business and meals offered by hotels, inns, health centres, restaurants, butcher shops, bakeries and pastry shops. This is particularly true in the Laurentians, a region north of Montreal that is blessed by nature and one of Quebec’s main vacation destinations. EHDL offers eight high school vocational training programs leading to a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) or an Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS), including sommelier training. In 2000, EHDL was awarded the “Hospitality and Cooking School of the Year” prize by the Association des hôteliers du Québec.
Terms and conditions of the François Chartier Scholarship Program
Pre-selections will be made among EHDL sommelier students by a committee of professors who will choose the finalists. Each of these young people will then be interviewed by François Chartier and his wife and partner, sommelier Isabelle Moren. At the end of this process, the recipient will be chosen.
The First Winner of the Chartier Scholarship Program
It was at the end of the last sommelier exam of her class that Millie Jacques Bouchard learned from François Chartier himself that she was crowned the first winner of the Chartier Scholarship.
This 29-year-old Canadian student is currently working at Bistro à Champlain restaurant (Grand Award of the Wine Spectator) at Estérel Resort, located in l’Estérel (Quebec, Canada).
“ The chance of a lifetime”
Thanks to this scholarship, Millie will fly to Spain for twelve months of internships starting in September 2019.
Her adventure across the Atlantic will start with six weeks at the wine producers Alemany i Corrio (new star winery in Catalonia). She will then spend ten weeks at the elBulli Foundation (Barcelona) with renowned chef Ferran Adrià, sommelier Ferran Centelles and their teams. All of them are currently working on in-depth research into the history of world gastronomy, wines and beverages. The intern will have the opportunity to collaborate with an international multidisciplinary team from the Foundation, in this top-level establishment, which maintains close ties with the legendary elBulli Restaurant (five times awarded the title of Best Restaurant in the World).
The highest level of internship within reach
The winner of the Chartier Scholarship will continue her adventure on Spanish soil with two four-month internships in restaurants. The establishments chosen are Michelin-starred restaurants among the most creative on the gastronomic planet, namely El Celler de Can Roca (Girona) and Mugaritz (San Sebastian). Both have been ranked at the top of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants for more than ten years. The opportunity to deepen her knowledge will be unique for Millie, in sommellerie (with the work in the dining room) as well as in avant-garde cuisine during training sessions in the research laboratories of these two landmark restaurants.
This program was meticulously prepared by François Chartier and his spouse and partner, sommelier Isabelle Moren.
Over the years, François Chartier the “Créateur d’harmonies”, has had the opportunity to meet countless high-level professionals who have helped him along the way. Here, he introduces us to his small team of gifted individuals who are committed to developing new projects and making his work better known through their passion, competence and dedication.
To sum up François Chartier’s universe is to describe a rich and abundant career that touches on science as much as it does on gastronomy or the creation of new alcohols. Not to mention unique partnerships with the world’s great chefs, scientists, and producers!
François Chartier’s professional and charitable involvement extends to many spheres of activity. He is deeply committed to the SOMM360 project team, a unique networking and continuing education concept that aims to offer high-level knowledge and training to sommeliers around the world, some of whom have earned the coveted title of “World’s Best Sommelier”.