In the Maison Dandoy workshop...
Today, the workshop is buzzing: some employees are having their photos taken for the Dandoy’s Diary. After the shoot, where everyone plays model with varying degrees of ease, our content manager Clara talks to them about their career at Dandoy. For this third episode of "In the Dandoy workshop", we proudly present Lindita & Iliass.
Packaging department manager
8 years at Maison Dandoy
Lindita remembers her first day at Maison Dandoy as if it were yesterday. It was a Wednesday and after a two-hour trial run in the packaging department, the manager came to her and said, "Lindita, you're coming back tomorrow!” Eight years later, she is the one in charge of this department.
When I ask her what she likes about her job, Lindita doesn't pause before answering, Oh, everything! in a burst of vitality that would surprise even the most enthusiastic. Her favourite time of the year in the workshop? She struggles to decide. The holidays are a busy time, but Lindita likes the crowd and the red wrapping everywhere. The rest of the time, it's quieter, there's more room for chatting and laughing while working. I love chatting, she says without settling on anything. No need to insist, Lindita loves her work all year round!
Beyond loving it, she is proud of it. Today, she dressed up to match her pride. I did a blow-dry and put on make-up. Normally, with the blue cap that hides the hair, it does not matter much. And beyond being proud of it, this job has become a special part of her life. Her colleagues are also her friends. They have dinners and go out together. It's important to see each other without a cap on our heads, she tells me with a catching laugh.
The end of the interview is approaching and I notice that it is impossible to have a conversation with Lindita and not end up with a great deal of hope and joy. With simplicity and reserve, she trusts me with her past, a not so tender part of her life during which she has neither the right to study nor work. She received her first payslip as an attestation of independence and freedom that brought tears to her eyes all day long. Noticing her emotion, Mr Bernard, at the time director of Maison Dandoy, told her: "Lindita, you have worked for it, you have earned it". It was a new beginning where she could finally live in peace.
Mr Bernard was there for me and I will never forget that. When he left to take on new challenges, Lindita tells me without blinking that she cried. I have rarely met someone as determined and unafraid to let her emotions speak. There is nothing paradoxical about it, it is when we have learned to express them that they lose all power to control us. And that is probably my favourite definition of courage.
When she's not at work, taking care of her three children, or out with colleagues and friends, Lindita is dedicated to her passion: learning new languages. She speaks seven languages fluently, gets by in Dutch and is currently taking evening classes in Spanish. I think it's safe to say that Lindita has more than made up for the time she was prevented from studying.
Her future? Lindita pictures it at Maison Dandoy. Her second life began there, and she wouldn't change it for the world.
Pastry chef in the production department
10 years at Maison Dandoy
Remember the prankster in Jennifer's portrait, who copied her as she posed for her photo? That was Iliass. He also made an appearance in Guillaume's portrait. And that's a good place to start explaining who Iliass is: someone you can't miss as soon as you set foot in the workshop.
If there is a joke to be made, Iliass is your man. When asked "What is your best memory here?", he thinks hard but can’t seem to find an answer. He quickly talks me out of drawing a negative conclusion. Here, every day is a good memory. However, when I ask him about his favourite time of year, he picks the rush before St Nicholas' Day without missing a beat. Needless to say, he is the first to answer this.
Because Iliass knows how to have a laugh but never forgets to work hard. He started out washing dishes and very quickly set himself a challenge: to wash everything in one or two hours. This way, he could spend the rest of the day in production and be trained to make every single biscuit. Ten years later, he is one of the few pastry chefs who can handle the huge speculoos moulds for St Nicholas' Day. Even with so much experience, the task remains a challenge. He sometimes still fails which, thanks to the atmosphere in the workshop, always ends in laughter. Iliass is a good sport: he can take a bit of teasing himself.
Guillaume and Iliass started at the same time and Guillaume has already told us in his portrait that the two of them were quite a team. As I am curious and not quite afraid of putting my foot in it, I ask Iliass if he would like to have more responsibility too. He glances at me for two seconds before bursting out laughing: "You know, if I had the slightest intention of stealing Guillaume's job, I'd have to get up very, very early. He continues: I'd like to avoid being in charge as much as possible. It's more difficult afterwards to laugh with everyone. You'll have understood: with Iliass it's only fun.
I don't like it when it's too quiet, I prefer it when the work is spinning fast and the jokes are flying. Speaking of quiet, I forgot to ask if he ever sleeps. Because apart from staying up all day baking your favourite biscuits, Ilias goes to the gym, swims and plays football "like an amateur". Modest Iliass, and a tad hyperactive.