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Schools in France

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi. I'm new to the board, but not the industry, worked in restaurants and hotel for 7yrs

 

I did an associates degree in culinary arts straight out of school(16-18) , but it was very badly run and I spent more time in theory classes(learning law?!?!) than in the kitchen. I've not had the opportunity to work under any good chefs in any interesting kitchens. So my skills haven't developed as far as i thought they would have 7yrs in. I'm young enough to change my bad habits and solvent enough to not curl into a ball at the thought of going into student loan debt.

 

I have been looking at Le Cordon Bleu in London and France

And recently Ecole Ferrandi

 

The hope is to be able to work while at school and to work after the courses end. Any help, opinions or experiences to help me make a choice would be appreciated.....Also i've chosen those specific schools because I want to work in Europe.

 

 

eta...thanks in advance!

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

Anything, you want to offer...advice about living costs in either country, the people, certification tests...anything. Great places to eat.

 

 

Anything!

post #3 of 7

i lived in London from 1990-1996. there wasn't much of a culinary scene there (then, where now it's out of control) but of course it beat the crap out of any American sense of apprenticeship (because the American sense of apprenticeship was to go to France/Europe).

 

anything outside of America will blow your mind open and make you realize that we live in a bubble in America that is terribly dangerous because it suggests being close-minded and dependent on some concept of a larger "corporation" or something like that to enable you (amongst many other 'Smithonian' ideals), when all you really need is your own confidence and a complete understanding of the trade (see: Craft of Cooking: Notes and Recipes from a Restaurant Kitchen, 2003 - not that this book is all there is to know, just that it's a wonderful primer among so many others on the orientation) itself.

 

LCB in America is a for-profit school that wildly varies in quality from campus to campus and thus, is probably why no one wants to say anything about it. none of us want to piss on our friends.

 

A more open-ended question might yield better results is all I'm suggesting.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

^^^^
 
The question was "restricted",...because I dont want information on all culinary schools, I wanted more personal information on the 3 schools mentioned, something outside of the brochures. If possible names of  any other like institutions( in Europe) people might have information on.
 
I also asked for personal experiences, you provided that so thank you. Also im not American, I also dont live in bubbles.
post #5 of 7

I attended a one day class at Le Cordon Bleu and it seemed to be a very nice school. Classes are all in French with English translation with students from all over the world. However I would not trek all the way to France to attend culinary school I would go there to work. You can easily research some restaurants and go and work for a month or two without papers. It is of course better to have papers but it can be difficult to get them.

 

For instance I worked at a small one Michelin star in Bourg En Bresse and had a great experience. I was there for a little over a month and learned a lot. I think the most important thing is not where you go but if you are ready to go. If you are still not confident in how to make basic sauces, stocks, or how to cook meat and fish properly then you are not ready. Usually you will work for a short stint and you need to be able to pick up a lot in a short amount of time. I also highly recommend you write everything down as you will forget it. I still refer to my notebooks from Italy, France and Switzerland. 

 

I would recommend searching out a local place not a 2-3 star place. Be honest and upfront about what you want to do with the chef. Say that you learned bad habits and you want to become a great cook and you are willing to work hard.

 

As for living costs, I have been to Paris several times and from an American perspective it seems quite expensive but that is because of the Euro. When I was working in Geneve Switzerland most of the pasty cooks lived in France but commuted to Geneve. The cost of living was much cheaper. I am not really sure I can comment on what the cost of living would be. My guess is that Paris is like any city there are areas that are much cheaper and others that are not. Maybe some of the others here can comment on what areas are economical and safe.

 

Hope that helps.

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
 If you are still not confident in how to make basic sauces, stocks, or how to cook meat and fish properly then you are not ready.

 

I'm not confident in my French. I wouldn't risk going in as an undocumented worker( this has been suggested before). I could visit, but I think  full immersion would benefit me in the long run. Don't think 5 months, with french instructors would be too much to my detriment. I've thought of just doing a stage, i've weighed the pros and cons. The cons keep winning. 

post #7 of 7

Then I would go with you gut. When I was heading to Europe I had a number of people who discouraged me about not going. I did not speak the language, I did not have papers etc etc. In the end I had an opportunity to go work in a small michelin 1 star for a week so I went. What the worst that could happen I thought? I went, I worked hard and they let me stay as long as I wanted. They gave me room and board and I learned a lot and got to experience some great things. Things such as going with the owner and head waiters and spend the day with them as they went to various wineries to choose the new wines for their wine list. Another day one of the head waiters took me to Georges Blanc for a tour since he had worked there and new the people that would let us take the tour.

 

I think Cord on bleu would be a "fun" experience but if I was serious about cooking I would prefer to go work in a good restaurant and get the knowledge that way. That along with a few good choices in cookbooks and you will get far more than what a school has to offer.

 

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
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