Characters of Cork: Frenchman loves English (Market)

A kind soul who believes in creating joy for a living, Frenchman Bastien is a true character Cork is lucky to have
Characters of Cork: Frenchman loves English (Market)

Bastien Peyraud, general manager, the Imperial Hotel, Cork, at the English Market, Cork. Picture Denis Minihane.

A kind soul who believes in creating joy for a living, Frenchman Bastien is a true character that Cork is lucky to have

GOOD food and great company are two top priorities for Frenchman Bastien Peyraud who moved to Cork in 2019 after being headhunted by the Imperial Hotel, but the love of his life is his partner Reece Love.

So strong is the depth of feeling for his fiance, Bastien pretended to hate the very idea of marriage and weddings for two years so as not to spoil the surprise of his proposal which was planned pre-pandemic in 2020.

I wanted to propose in 2020, so I booked a trip to Paris and then Reece lost his mother in 2020 and then the worldwide pandemic happened, so it was just one thing after another, so for two years, I pretended I was against weddings and I didn’t want that in my life so he was not expecting it.

“It was so hard, but my friends were aware so we had good craic with it. The funny part of it, is I absolutely can’t lie, especially not to Reece.” The proposal was, in the Frenchman’s own words, “a cliché”.

“I went the full romantic way, I took him to Paris, booked a hotel, we went to Versailles, Reece loves two things: Gardening and history, so I took him to Versaille and proposed in the garden after a tour.” And so convincing was Bastien’s two-year performance about his hatred of marriage, Reece’s response to his proposal was “for real?”.

Bastien Peyraud, general manager, the Imperial Hotel, Cork, with members of the Imperial family.
Bastien Peyraud, general manager, the Imperial Hotel, Cork, with members of the Imperial family.

“He was very surprised, he thought I was joking.”

Of course, once the shock and surprise diminished, his proposal was accepted and the pair are engaged to be married.

“I think it is a beautiful moment of our life. It was very special and it is a very precious memory that we will have forever.”

“I love surprising people, birthdays, anniversaries, proposals, all those special moments that happen in the hotel, I love them all and getting to be a part of them without actually being a part of them, it’s interesting.”

For Bastien, being the general manager at one of the city’s finest four-star hotels is not about luxury, but about creating true, genuine, joyful experiences for people and happy memories that they will cherish forever.

“I don’t think luxury is about silver cutlery, I think it’s about creating memories. If you are celebrating a special occasion, you don’t care about the cutlery, you remember how you were made feel.”

An ardent believer in good hospitality, Bastien found the global Covid-19 pandemic difficult.

“...everyone had to work in a different way and we had as an industry to manage something that we had never managed before. There was a lot of additional responsibility. It was hard, really hard.”

One of the things that got Bastien through the pandemic was good food, with many hours whittled away at the English Market, tasting, testing and chatting.

Bastien Peyraud, general manager, the Imperial Hotel, Cork, in front of the hotel.Picture Denis Minihane.
Bastien Peyraud, general manager, the Imperial Hotel, Cork, in front of the hotel.Picture Denis Minihane.

“My saving grace was the English Market. I met many suppliers with the work of my team. The English Market is great, the most fun I had was cooking and eating and enjoying the fabulous products we have here in Cork.”

With a deep love for cheese, Bastien maintains a strict exercise regime, with three gym sessions a week.

“It’s good for my mental health, it’s not about the way I look, I don’t care about the six pack. It’s the way I feel, after a workout, like how some people feel after a massage.”

At the age of 40, Bastien said a life lesson that he has learned well over the years, is to listen.

“Not because I was a know-it-all, but sometimes when you are looking for the answer, the people around you know already so ask and listen before making decisions.”

A positive soul who doesn’t believe in regrets, Bastien said learning to be himself was something he took time to embrace, but he is all the happier for doing so.

“As a young adult you sometimes try to be someone you are not just because you want to grow, but actually, if you are kind, embrace it, it’s a fantastic quality, don’t be scared of showing it and people might take advantage of it and that’s okay, but many people will respect it aswell, so embrace yourself and help others to embrace themselves too.”

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