“This industry is so amazing and creative and full of patient people that are passionate about the craft and experience… but it is an industry that can be physically, mentally, emotionally quite challenging.”
They’re powerfully true words to come from RUOK day last week, a time when we’re encouraged to check in on each other’s mental health. Spoken by Camille Vidal, founder of La Maison Wellness, she uses them to describe her motivation in creating her platform, an online space to inspire mindfulness and wellbeing.
You may also know Vidal as Madame St Germain, from her work as Global Brand Ambassador of the elderflower liqueur makers for almost a decade. Before joining St Germain, she was working in the hospitality industry, first stepping behind the bar when she moved from her home in France to live in Melbourne.
She’s back in Australia as part of a collaboration between La Maison Wellness and St Germain, spreading inspiration for people in hospitality to live “like a healthy hedonist” and practice self-care and reflection as part of their daily routines.
“I wanted to help people to do things that will make them feel great about themselves and to very much take the time to appreciate good things in life, with things that will make them feel good in the long run. So for me, living well and living mindfully means having practices, for me that’s meditation and yoga, but that can be anything,” Vidal said.
The collaboration launched with a lunch event at Sydney’s Paramount Recreation Club, where guests were treated to a healthy menu with mindful cocktails, consumed alongside guided meditation.
Introducing the event as guests were seated, Vidal said “it will be good for all of us to kind of land in the room a little.”
“The invitation is for all of us to let go of whatever happened before, to not engage too much with what is happening on the physical plane… and just be here.”
Throughout the lunch Vidal guided guests through exercises in reflection, turning down the volume of the outside world, and letting go of tension.
Often in our busy lives it’s easy to brush off self-care practice by thinking there isn’t enough time in the day, or by thinking it’s something to be done in our own time, not at work. But as RUOK Day and La Maison Wellness teach us, taking care of your mental health is essential and not something you need to do alone.
With the amount of wellness resources growing, Vidal said that taking the time to normalise self-care within venues is key to creating long term positive impacts on the hospitality industry.
“In your bar environment, it’s really important that your team feels like there is help and support on the workplace. Health and wellness is a daily practice and should be integrated in every part of your life, and that includes obviously, being at work,” she said.
“And I think that it’s really important for bar owners and bar managers, to make sure that they create this environment for their staff, to feel comfortable enough to reach out. I think that incorporating more mindfulness practices is creating this self-awareness so people can understand a bit more on how they feel and why they’re feeling that way. Knowing that there is resources out there that can help them on different practices they can do.”
Many healthy living techniques often include strict adherence to diets, sleep schedules and exercise routines, as well as cutting alcohol out completely. As someone who appreciates the hospitality industry from firsthand experience, Vidal created La Maison Wellness not to remove the things you like from your life but to instead engage with them mindfully.
Speaking to Vidal after the lunch, she described this as her motivation for creating mindful cocktail recipes – featuring low-no ABV and ingredients with unique health benefits.
“I believe that drinking is a celebration. The cocktail that we had today, [mixed with St Germain liqueur and ingredients like kombucha, coconut kefir and fresh juice], there was a lower ABV because they were all on a very low ABV, but it was still alcohol inside, so it’s not a healthy drink. It’s not your water, it’s definitely a celebration,” she said.
“But I like the idea of using ingredients that have beneficial purposes… especially made with the best ingredients, or with the mindfulness and the consciousness of it. Why not have something that will taste delicious, but also will make you feel good?”
You can find mindful cocktail recipes on the La Maison Wellness platform alongside a large collection of other resources for self-care and wellness.