Le Cordon Bleu

IMGP2830.JPGLe Cordon Bleu is perhaps the most famous cooking school in the world, and its most famous graduate, Julia Child, passed despite flunking her first test.  The school remains a popular international culinary school, though most French chefs go to  professional trade schools or just learn their craft growing up in family kitchens and apprenticing with the grand chefs in France.

There are many other great cooking schools in Paris, especially for hobbyists, but Le Cordon Bleu continues to offer a variety of bilingual courses specifically geared to tourists and expats.  I took a four day course, and it was very hands-on. We were given demonstrations in the morning and the chance to practice making a dish or two in the afternoon. Courses can cover macarons, tartes de fruit, provençal cuisine, and the all-important art of sauce making.

The school does not assume students know fundamentals in cooking, but fileting a fish or slicing a whole chicken can be trying for a complete novice.  However, the chefs are well-versed, helpful and happy to demonstrate to students.  Learning to make a mirepoix (diced carrots, onion and celery) or a bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, a leek leaf and a bay leaf tied together with twine) is part of the fun, as is taking a filet of canard (duck) and learning to sauté it to perfection.

The chefs are professional, have years of experience and usually have worked in some of the best restaurants in France, including restaurants with one or more Michelin stars.  The chefs are strict about starting classes on top, and it is very much a working experience, though both fun and lively.  If you can afford the tuition and time, it is highly recommended to take a multi-day course.

For more information about the school, click here for courses.  https://www.cordonbleu.edu/programs/Paris

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