Alumni voices with Justine Piluso

Justine Piluso, Bachelor in International Culinary Arts Management (2014) and participant in the Top Chef 2020 TV programme, talks to us about the competition and her career so far.

What made you want to get into cooking?

When I was a little girl, there were always lovely smells coming from the kitchen and lots going on in this magic room.  The room was intergenerational and I found it fascinating, which made me want to discover what was really hidden behind this mysterious get-together.

Why did you choose to study at Institut Paul Bocuse?

Institut Paul Bocuse was recommended to me by the Director at my previous institution.  He encouraged me to pursue my studies to become an accomplished restaurant owner, with solid foundations and benefitting from prestigious teaching.  What better than excellence for one’s training?!

How did you end up registering for Top Chef and why did you decide to take part in the competition?

It’s true that the Top Chef production team had been contacting me for a while, but when they called me this time, I just felt it was the right moment!  So, I took part in the castings and ended up being selected.  I already had my own restaurant, but I needed to know if what my customers told me was truly objective and if I was really as talented as other young Chefs of my generation.  It was important for me to measure my ability, to throw myself a challenge and to open up to new horizons.

What will you take away from this experience?

Never compromise anything, never give up and above all believe in yourself.

As a woman, what advice would you give other young women who aspire to a career as a Chef?

We are just as capable and just as formidable as men.  Our difference is our force and perseverance the key to success.

What are your future projects?

I do lots of consultancy work for independent restaurant owners and groups, some audio-visual work creating cooking videos, and there are TV projects under consideration … I’m also launching my own range of cocktail finger food for September in partnership with an independent baker-confectioner.  Our produce will be available for delivery throughout the Paris region for groups!

A piece of advice for future Institut Paul Bocuse students?

We’ll have time to rest when we are all dead!  In the meantime, work, work and work!  It’s the key to success.

Alumni voices