In demo class with chef Cotte – Le Cordon Bleu Paris
I got an email from a student who was interested in cooking schools in Paris the other day. So I thought it would be great to share some info with all of you as well.
First, I will start by talking about me a little. To me, this path was not really planned. I wanted to study in the old world. So I chose French language and France. After studying French, I thought cooking would be a wonderful hobby. So I registered at LCB Paris. Le Cordon Bleu was my choice because it was the only one I was familiar with – you know it is the school where Audrey Hepburn baked soufflé. Back then I vaguely knew about Ferrandi and I knew Ritz but the school I recognized was the one in Switzerland, not the one in Paris.
Soufflé scene from Sabrina (1954)
I started cuisine base, basic cooking course. Now I’m thinking about it with a big smile on my face. All the students in the class were lively and trying to enjoy finer things in Paris. It was a 5-week summer intensive cooking course. Most of them took the course as a passionate hobby and vacation, not for career, which made the course even more interesting. A girl from America looking for romance with a French guy, a newly-wed having months-long honeymoon, a boy who drove from Germany taking students to clubs during weekdays (summer in Paris, you know), etc. Also it was the time I discovered a 3-star Michelin restaurant for the first time in my life with classmates.
After the summer, I left for a graduate school and I got bored. I missed cooking so much. When I came back to school I had to switch to pastry diploma course instead of cooking because I found dealing hot and heavy things physically challenging.
Ok, now about the schools. Here goes a part of the emails I wrote to her:
Is Ferrandi Harvard de la gastranomie? Ferrandi has an English 1-year course for foreigners but according to a student in a Ferrandi master’s program only their courses in French language are highly regarded. And at LCB each student cooks a recipe individually but at Ritz Escoffier all students and a chef work together for a recipe like at a restaurant. And Lenotre is a school in banlieue, meaning you should take a train from Paris. So I never considered.
As for internship, at LCB all students who apply for the internship will get one. All my friends got it at prestigious hotels and restaurants, if not the best. No wonder. LCB maintains good relationship with the best gastronomic establishments in Paris. Ritz offers internship at their own hotel. And I have a friend who did the English pastry course at Ferrandi. She did internship at a bakery in Paris.
As for language, LCB offers superieur classes only in French. If you are worried about language and all, how about Ritz? Personally I found chefs, interpreters, and other staffs at Ritz more approachable than the ones at LCB. After all they are employees of the best hotel in Paris: they have more “hospitality” in mind. I heard now LCB has a new exceptionally charismatic young pastry chef everyone loves though.
My photos and clips took in Paris
Those schools you are interested in are very expensive but they teach from basics for entry level students. So don’t expect too much if you already know pastry/chocolate well. Also 1 year is a long period of time, so choose the city you want to experience. Since you are from NY, I suppose that Paris or London be the best cities to explore in Europe.
Don’t worry too much. 1 year in Paris when young is all good, nothing bad. I wish I could go back and experience Europe for the first time in my life. “First time” is so fascinating.
And as for my experience at LCB, I chose the school for Paris. Not the other way around. I’m okay with LCB. The important thing is that I learned what I needed to know at school.
Working all together (a chef and students), at Ritz Escoffier