The restaurant can be found in Wandsworth’s Ram Quarter and specialises in serving carefully sourced British ingredients with a modern international twist. The kitchen is led by Head Chef Nico Fitzgerald, another Le Cordon Bleu London alumnus. Here we find out about his experience at Le Cordon Bleu London and how it helped him to open his own business.
Tell us a little about your background, where you’re from, your previous studies and work experience.
"Originally, I am from Egypt but I grew up in the United States. After having spent 11 years working in Egypt in my family’s commercial farming business, I enrolled in the Grand Diplôme® programme at Le Cordon Bleu London in September 2016. With regards to my previous education, I received a B.A. in History from the George Washington University in 2005 and an M.B.A. from the American University in Cairo in 2015."
Why did you choose to study the Culinary Arts?
"One day I just got sick of looking at spreadsheets and I decided to study what I love, and that’s cooking. I chose Le Cordon Bleu because of its reputation as a premium learning institution in the culinary arts. I was also very much interested in the culinary arts because it was what I was looking for in my upcoming career. The first being that I wanted to do something I loved, and the second is that it’s an industry that is open to entrepreneurial opportunities.
The Diploma in Culinary Management gives you much more insight into the non-cooking aspects of the business, which once you’re running a business take up much more of your time than cooking. So, from kitchen design, to menu design to marketing – all these things that you might not think about at first glance that are absolutely necessary to running a business."
How did you find your studies at Le Cordon Bleu London?
"Studying at Le Cordon Bleu London was a phenomenal experience. Upon enrolling I kept one objective in mind - which was to learn as much as possible, however, the experience far exceeded my expectations! During my studies, I noticed that the teaching chefs genuinely care about each student and one cannot help but form long-lasting bonds with them. The lessons are interactive, and you receive as much assistance as you need with the practical sessions. Lastly, some of my fellow students have become friends for life, those who have studied at the school can understand that it has an atmosphere where strong friendships are formed."
Why did you choose to open a restaurant in London?
"London for us is the only pace where this could be. This is where I chose to live after finishing my studies at Le Cordon Bleu. It’s really one of the few cities in the world that brings everyone from all around the world together, it’s truly cosmopolitan and we have a very diverse kitchen with very diverse culinary backgrounds and we’re better for it."
What’s it like working with your fellow Le Cordon Bleu alumni?
"I think whenever you’re working with friends you have to personal relationships from your work relationship, but we have a good time and enjoy each other’s company. I love service, when you see all that hard work finally translating into a dish, and you see customers discovering these dishes for the first time it’s very rewarding."
Why was the Internship Pathway important to you?
"From the start I knew I needed a placement of sorts or first step into the industry with someone’s assistant. Between the Grand Diplôme® which is a comprehensive education and the Diploma in Culinary Management which teaches you the other side of the business it made sense to also get into the internship programme."
What does Le Cordon Bleu represent to you?
"Once you’re part of that family you’re always part of it, it doesn’t matter whether you finished three years ago, five years ago or three months ago, the contacts that you make are there forever. Le Cordon Bleu supports you throughout all your endeavours, they want you to succeed and that doesn’t end when you get your diploma. That’s what Le Cordon Bleu represents to me, it’s a family."