Le Cordon Bleu, Paris

This ideally should have been my first blog post because It’s an experience that I cherish very dearly. It’s one of those things that gave me so much happiness from the inside. That I chose to learn to bake at one of the best pastry schools in the world and that school was in Paris was just a huge added incentive.

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My class at Le Cordon Bleu Paris

I chose the intensive course because a longer break than that from home and my family was not entirely possible. And man, when they say it’s intensive it really is that. I used to be at school at 8.00 am sharp to make sure that i made it in time to the lockers to change into the uniform and make it to the class.

I loved every day of school. When you do things you love it’s not tedious and the long hours don’t matter. Some days I finished class at 8.45 pm and dragged myself back home and since Paris in the summer is just so beautiful and bustling, even the walk back home (on the days that i didn’t take the metro ) wasn’t too tedious.

The chefs were hard on us, img_3878hard when we didn’t listen, hard when we were tardy, hard when our table tops were dirty, hard when we injured ourselves (pay attention they would say), hard when we thought we had beaten the Chantilly enough and they said don’t stop  not ready yet…. they were finicky about perfection. And that’s what makes this school so great. They were meticulous and strict and wanted each of us to strive for the best result.

They spoke French, but we always had a superb interpreter and that never really came in the way. It’s not about the best recipes a school like LCB offers, it’s the techniques that you learn – the best way to work on puff pastry or pate choux or what it takes to make those perfect meringues. The exam was taken as seriously as any exam would, both the practicals (I made the classic French apple tart that’s on my menu now) and the theory.The school now has a new campus but the old one where i studied was surprisingly small. I always imagined it to be large and far more bustling but it was small and so were the demonstration and the theory class rooms. But, that’s what made it warm and intimate and most students whether from pastry or cuisine got to know each other. I made some good friends from all over the world and it’s so nice to see each of them further their baking careers.

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My French Encounter

“…you’ll have to fall in love at least once in your life, or Paris has failed to rub off on you.”

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E.A. Bucchianeri has summed up Paris perfectly in Brushstrokes of a Gadfly; every bit of it is true.

”For there is no other city where you can step out of a railway station (the Gare D’Orsay) and see, simultaneously, the Seine with its bridges and bookstalls, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Tuileries Gardens, the Place de la Concorde, the beginning of the Champs Elysees – nearly everything except the Luxembourg Gardens and the Palais Royal. But what other city offers as much as you leave a train?”

I have always loved Paris, when I first visited way back in 1999 – my first ever trip – and the times afterwards. But, I got this chance to live in Paris when I enrolled in what I consider the best Pastry schools in the world – Le Cordon Bleu Paris. I rented an enchanting apartment at Rue Daguerre, which overlooked a florist right from my kitchen window and had bustling cafes and patisseries and charcuteries in the vicinity. On weekends this street would turn into a farmers’ market and it was glorious!

 

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I took the metro to school and back every day and took every opportunity of easy school days (there weren’t too many of them) to explore the city; every bit of it.

Paris is a gastronomic delight; it’s a feast for the eyes and seeped in beauty and culture at every corner. I tried walking as much as I could for I knew that every street offered me something new.

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I am sure you will find many poetic write-ups on the city on the web but here is where I ate and drank and bought Pastry tools and ran away to on weekends.

When in Paris

Eat at…
AuPied De Cochon – The best French Onion Soup and Breaded Pig’s Feet
Cafe Le Moderne – At Bastille
Le Dome
L’Atlas

Have a pastry, a hot chocolate or a macaron at…
Angelina
Eric Kayser Bakery
Au levain Du Marais
Laduree
Sadaharu Aoki
Poilane
Pain De Sucre
Pierre Herme
L’eclair De Genie
Le Loir Dans La Theiere

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Angelina, Paris

Pierre Herme, Paris

Pierre Herme, Paris

L'eclair De Genie

L’eclair De Genie, Paris

Le Loir Dans La Theiere, Paris

Le Loir Dans La Theiere, Paris

Shop at…
Mora
G Detou
La Grand Epicerie
E Dehillerin