Imagine learning the art of food and wine pairing or how to prepare an exquisite chocolate soufflé, just steps from the River Seine in Paris. It’s all in a typical day’s work for students at the famed Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute.
For over 120 years, Le Cordon Bleu—with a network of more than 35 institutes in 20 countries—has been at the forefront of classical French culinary training, turning out such accomplished alumni as Julia Child, Janice Wong, Klancy Miller, Katrina Markoff, Bruce and Eric Bromberg, and the multi-talented cookbook author and television personality Mary Berry.
At the flagship Paris school, Le Cordon Bleu master chefs teach diplomas in the fine arts of cuisine and pâtisserie, along with advanced study certificates in wine, hotel, and restaurant management. An entirely new, purpose-built Paris facility opened in 2016, featuring teaching kitchens outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and flooded with natural light. In the school’s rooftop garden, herbs and edible flowers grow alongside fruits and vegetables, making it an ideal place to learn about local and seasonal ingredients.
The Le Cordon Bleu Cuisine and Pâtisserie Diploma programs are taught over a six or nine-month period and students have the possibility of completing a two-month internship at the end of their program. Le Cordon Bleu students are placed in prestigious establishments such as L’Arpège, Hexagone–Histoires, the Pavillon Ledoyen, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, and The Mandarin Oriental.
Outside of Paris, the global network of Le Cordon Bleu institutes delivers the same level of passion, discipline and excellence in culinary arts training. Bachelor, diploma, and certificate programs, along with short-course options, vary from institute to institute. All programs combine the best of tradition and creativity, while utilizing local and sustainable ingredients wherever possible.
Le Cordon Bleu London (est. 1935) is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility at 15 Bloomsbury Square. The London institute offers a unique Diploma in Wine, Gastronomy, and Management that incorporates visits to wineries in France and the United Kingdom, with tastings of more than 500 international wines. Other innovative professional courses offered at the London institute include diplomas in cuisine, patisserie, and boulangerie.
What began in the late 1970’s as a small culinary school started by Eleanor Orser— the first Canadian to earn Le Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris— the Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa campus is now a fully-fledged North American outpost. Located in a majestic Tudor revival mansion in the Sandy Hill section of Ottawa, the institute also includes the Le Cordon Bleu Signatures Restaurant. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the contemporary French cooking of Chef Yannick Anton, while Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa students have the opportunity to work in the restaurant and gain important real-life industry experience.
There are many opportunities to learn from the global network of Le Cordon Bleu master chefs, even if you can’t commit to six or nine months to complete a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Diploma. At most institutes, globetrotting foodies can take advantage of a multitude of short-courses and workshops designed to suit a variety of time constraints and skill levels.
On your next overseas trip, indulge in a short-course to learn the secrets of baking French macarons or spend an afternoon honing your knife skills. There’s even a program of parent-child classes and workshops called ‘Les Petits Cordons Bleus’ if the kids are along for the trip. If you have more than one day to spend at Le Cordon Bleu, you can focus on butchery or pâtisserie techniques, or learn the art of food styling and photography.