Service with a smile 21 February 2020 Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
In this week's issue...Service with a smile Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
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The Caterer

How I got here

06 August 2004
How I got here

French-born Bodin, along with head concierge Claudie Dussouillez, are the first all-female team to head a concierge desk in a five-star London hotel. Both were also recently granted admission into the prestigious Golden Keys (Clefs d'Or), an exclusive society for those in the concierge profession.

However, Bodin didn't always see herself as a concierge. The multilingual 32-year-old decided that travelling the world was top of her agenda, and after aborting a career in marketing she headed to a hospitality school in her native country.

In 1993, at the end of her course while on a work placement at a London hotel, Bodin got a chance to find out exactly what a concierge did, and decided that such a diverse and demanding job was for her.

Although the world of the concierge has been historically dominated by men, Bodin claims she hasn't encountered chauvinism in the profession. "I can't understand why there aren't more women, it's so interesting and challenging," she says. "It's definitely an old-fashioned idea that it's not a career for women."

In May 1993 Bodin entered the profession as junior concierge at the Millennium Gloucester hotel, a four-star London property with 548 bedrooms. Then in July 2001 she became deputy head concierge at the 124-room Radisson Edwardian Hampshire hotel, before winning her current position at the Bentley last November.

For anyone following in her footsteps, Bodin believes working from larger to smaller establishments is the best way to progress. "It's good experience as you get to know both sides of the business. Working at larger hotels helps you prepare for working at smaller, more intimate ones."

Bodin admits the life of a concierge, as with the industry in general, demands long hours. However, the reward of doing the job well remains one of the most pleasing pay-offs.

"Many customers put their leisure experience in your hands while they stay at the hotel," she says. "So it's great when they thank you personally at the end of their stay for helping make it so memorable."

Career highlights

May 1993
Junior concierge at Millennium Gloucester hotel
July 2001
Deputy head concierge at Radisson Edwardian Hampshire hotel
November 2003
Deputy head concierge, Bentley hotel - wins admission to Golden Keys Society.

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