Over the past few months every single time I told anyone that I was going to Le Cordon Bleu they would ask me the same few questions and I would have to respond in embarrassment that I really didn’t know the answer. I’m sure many people whispered behind my back that I certainly didn’t seem to know what I was doing, but it’s not that I didn’t do my research and read every single page of information they gave me, it’s just that this is France and it’s simply not a country that likes to give more information than necessary. Up until today, all I truly knew for certain was that I had to come to the school on March 22nd and I should bring my safety shoes, because I may or may not have class, but that I would be given information about the course. So after months of anticipation, I had my first day of school and finally got some answers to the questions that have bombarded me. Below are the most common questions and the answers…
- What is my schedule like? I have class up to six days a week, but usually it ends up being only five days (the entire schedule varies week to week). The classes start throughout the day at 8:30, 12:30, 3:30, and 6:30. Because I’m doing patisserie et cuisine concurrently, I have twice as much class as most of my classmates and there are a lot of days when I am there from 8:30 to 9, but I’m not complaining. I’m actually pretty excited to be back to a set schedule. I’ve loved having the last six weeks with no work or school, but a schedule is nice too as it makes you appreciate your days off so much more.
- What are my classmates like? How many students are there? In my basic cuisine course there are 44 students and 40 in basic patisserie. All together in our section there are students from 35 different countries! More than I even imagined, it’s great! Off the top of my head here are a few countries of origin that I remember hearing: Taiwan, Nigeria, the UK, Canada, Australia, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, France, and Japan. That should give you an idea of the diversity. The ages are also diverse, the youngest I met was 18 and the oldest probably in her mid-50s, but the majority are in their twenties or early thirties. The male/female ratio is around 30/70.
- What do I have to wear? My complete uniform, that I have to wear to all practical classes (when I’m cooking), consists of a white jacket, black and white checked pants, an apron, a cook’s cap (with hair net), a white necktie, a tea towel and black steel toed clogs. As you can see above, it is S-E-X-Y. During demonstration classes (when I’m watching the chef cook) I only have to wear the jacket, pants and clogs.
- Are the classes in French? Yes, the demonstration classes are taught by a chef in French, but there is also a translator (for basic and intermediate classes). It’s actually pretty helpful, because I listen to the French and then get to instantly find out if what I heard was actually what was being said. There is no translator in the practical. Once I get to the superior level there will not be a translator, because obviously at that point I have to be fluent if I hope to get an internship in a Paris kitchen after I graduate.
Well I think that covers the most common questions. Of course, as the courses go along I will be doing posts on the different things we make, but for now I wanted to get all the basic details done with and out of the way.