Jamal Uddin Suhel, royal course

Arriving from Bangladesh in France at the age of 14, this unaccompanied minor followed an exemplary course. At 22, he directs his restaurant in Nantes and plans to open a second restaurant.

Walls with exposed stones, well-kept decorations, creative cuisine: the restaurant Royal Indian, located in the heart of central Nantes, full poster every day. Her 22-year-old boss, Jamal Uddin Suhel, opened last year after being a chef at several restaurants in Nantes and its suburbs. It is hard to imagine that this smiling young man arrived in France at the age of 14 without saying a word of French. " I did not even know the alphabet He remembers.

His vocation as a cook was born, since his childhood, in a small city in Bangladesh, where most people work in the tea culture or in the textile industry. " I was always next to my mother while she cooked He says. In the newspapers, I saw that France was a country famous for its gastronomy. I wanted to go there to become a great cook. "

After the death of his father who had instilled a taste for the trip, Jamal leaves his mother, his brother and his sister to try his luck in France. Alone. " It was very difficult, but I had no choicehe says. Today, my mother is proud of me. "

The young "peripheral" in the heart

"He really carried his companions"

Upon arrival in France, the adolescent is assisted by social assistance for children (ASE) in Paris, before being transferred to a host family near Nantes, and then joining the house of children Daniel Brottier de Bouguenais (Loire-Atlantique), which depends on Apprentices d'Auteuil. Applied and respectful, he impresses his educators. " He socialized our codes very quickly and quicklysays Jean-Marc Pasquier, head of the educational service of Daniel Brottier. He really wore his companions. "

After his stay in a reception class at a school in Nantes, where he gave his diploma of studies in French (DELF), he began a CAP cooking in apprenticeship, forcing, again, the respect of his employers. "His boss had trouble letting him go", recalls Jean-Marc Pasquier.

After several experiences in French cuisine, Jamal was trained in Indian cuisine, before opening his own restaurant, where he has modernizes Her grandmother's recipes. " Since I had saved the money earned, I was able to go to the bank with some money and it worked. "

A model for teenagers

Jamal works with three employees, an indoor French maid, an Indian chef, and an apprentice from Mali. "It's a good mix, he comments. What matters is that the work is done well. "

He also regularly accepts apprentices of Apprentis d & # 39; Auteuil. "It really is in reciprocitysays his former head of the department. Its success is a model for adolescents that we accompany and for which it is not always easy. " Great admirer of the starred chef Philippe Etchebest, Jamal does not stop there.

He plans to open a second, more exclusive restaurant "To show that we can make gastronomy with Indian cuisine". He also started taking steps to get French nationality. "It's important to me because that's where I want to make my life."

Florence Pagneux, regional correspondent in Nantes

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