© Andreas Weis

The Good Life Hotel and Tourism School

3 minutes

Hospitality school

From hospitality to the culinary arts, the Hotel and Tourism School EHTL in Diekirch teaches the art of welcome. Many successful gastronomes started here before taking on the world.

Much like a conductor leading his orchestra, cooking teacher Patrick Scholzen raises his hand to say a few words and his students begin wielding pots and knives. The whole room chimes. In the last row, Victor uses a ladle to stir the meat stock in a big silver pot.

Fabio, right beside him, performs a staccato with his knife and chopping board. A loud snap resounds from the front row, as Serena and Kai crack orange lobster claws. Meanwhile, Sofia divides Nori-leaves with a soft crunch.

The constant hum of the oven and the muttering of the eight cooks complete the sound tapestry. Today, they are working towards a common goal: creating a harmoniously flavoured menu for tomorrow evening’s festivities.

The feast is an EHTL tradition. Younger students cook a meal for graduating students who’ve spent three years earning their diplomas. Patrick Scholzen is in the thick of things. He leads the event, offers advice, demonstrates proper flicks of the wrist and is a source of comic relief to a group of students who are extremely focused in the midst of all this hubbub.

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“Striving for excellence”

“In our kitchens, students learn about the hustle and bustle of life. Students cook and are sometimes given specific time frames. Pressure is omnipresent in real life. You’re expected to perform and produce results amid chaos,” says Michel Lanners, manager of the prestigious school. He stands in the lobby, wearing a black suit, perfect posture and sly smile.

During the school year, about 300 students walk in and out of here every day. Next to him is the school emblem: a lion next to the letters EHTL that stand for “École d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme du Luxembourg”.

The name is well-known in Luxembourg, and the school, founded in 1949, has an excellent reputation. Its founder, Luxembourgish hotel owner Alexis Heck, was a pioneer of Luxembourg’s tourism industry in the mid-19th century.

© Andreas Weis

Learning for life

The school is much more than a place that trains students for traditional career paths like chef or hotelier, explains Lanners. “The spirit of the school is hospitality. That’s what we teach.

Our students learn to become attentive, friendly and discreet, and to respond quickly. Those are qualities we all appreciate when dealing with other people. They will also help students transition into their future jobs.”

Positively informal

The foyer doors swing open and the students pile in. The second lesson of the day starts in a few minutes. The students traverse the lobby with rapid strides and head for a long corridor. A few of their peers are already there, waiting for the melodic bell to ring. The students wear suits and ties, elegant attire, chef’s hats and aprons. EHTL trains students in a realistic work environment. That applies not only to the dress code but also to the way everyone interacts, even if they’re in a hurry. In the halls, students and teachers always greet each other with a friendly smile and a happy “Gudde Moien” or “Bonjour”.

The bell rings. A group of young people stand in a room with eight tables decked with white tablecloths, cloth napkins, cutlery and glasses. This room is part of the practice restaurant. Here, students learn to set tables and serve food and drinks. Today’s lesson: “serving soup”. To practice, students ladle cold water instead of hot soup from a big silver pot into bowls. The teacher observes every movement carefully and offers friendly tips for improvement like “don’t fill up the ladle too much” or “always serve from the right side”.

© Andreas Weis

A few doors down, a huge stove sits in the middle of the room. The delicious scent of freshly roasted onions permeates the room. A cooker hood absorbs the steam swirling up from the pots and pans. The eight students, all around 16 years old, listen intently to their teacher, Lucien Kass. He explains what to pay attention to when lightly braising zucchini and bell peppers. “Many years ago, I was a student here,” he says, beaming. Meanwhile, his students are busy adding vegetables to their pots with a loud sizzle. “After I graduated, I travelled the world as a chef and waiter. Twenty years ago, I came back here as a teacher to share my joy of cooking”.

Big dreams, wide world

Student Serena Villani also dreams of exploring the world after her training. Graduating from EHTL will bring Serena a good step closer to fulfilling that dream, says school manager Michel Lanners. “Our graduates go on to have very successful careers.

We’re very proud to see many of our students in leading and important positions,” he says. He mentions former student Caroline Esch as an example. In 2019, at just 24 years of age, the chef opened up her own restaurant, Eden Rose.

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A recipe for success

Today, about ten years later, her restaurant is the first in Luxembourg to offer an entirely gluten-free yet innovative and varied menu. Her imaginative cuisine is so successful that she and her fiancé Valérien Prade renovated the restaurant again in 2021 and refined the menu.

Guests at Eden Rose can expect a mouth-watering gourmet experience. And a personal touch: a collection of old coffee and tea pots can be discovered everywhere, most of them decorated with flowers, of course.

Caroline reminisces about her time at EHTL about ten years ago with a smile. “It is an excellent school that opens up many doors for students.” A diversity that no doubt contributes to Luxembourg’s veritable treasure trove of culinary arts.

Restaurants in Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s cuisine reflects the country’s cultural diversity. From bistro culture to the haute cuisine of gourmet temples: Luxembourg has something delicious to offer every palate.

Learn more