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Alumna Payton Garrity
Grand Diplôme with Internship Pathway

In an effort to restart her life after COVID19 pandemic, and after a handful of years already in hospitality, Payton enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu London on the Grand Diplôme® with Culinary Management and Internship Pathway in the latter half of 2021.

Payton completed her internship at HIDE starting in October of 2022, and in December was sponsored by them to take the role as their Goods and Purchasing Manager.

We caught up with Payton to find out more about her culinary journey.

What made you decide to train in the culinary arts?

“I have always had a deep passion for food. This began when I was a child spending term breaks watching The Food Network with my little brother Wyatt. Since then, culinary arts have always been in the background of my mind and my life. Over lockdown, I turned to cooking as my creative outlet which fuelled my passion into something I could see shaping my future. I took a risk and decided to cultivate my skills and satisfy a lifelong dream of living abroad in London and the rest is history!”

Why did you choose to come to Le Cordon Bleu London?

“I’ve always wanted to live in London, if not just for a few months. This paired with my newfound intentions in the culinary industry lead me to Le Cordon Bleu London. When explaining my decision to my friends and family I was frequently defending London as the current gastronomic capital of the world, however the prestige and honour of studying at Le Cordon Bleu was never once called into question.”

What was your experience like studying at Le Cordon Bleu London?

“My time at Le Cordon Bleu was an absolute whirlwind. I have never worked that much and that hard at anything in such a concentrated amount of time. Grand Diplôme® is not for the faint of heart, but truly sets you on a path to move seamlessly into the industry. At the time that I segued into my internship, I was fully prepared to work 16 hour shifts and 64 hour weeks. That along with the memories and kinship felt with my fellow students made the whole experience invaluable. These are skills and relationships I will carry through the rest of my professional and personal lives.”

What advice would you give to someone looking to enrol at Le Cordon Bleu London?

“The main piece of advice I would give to someone looking to enrol at Le Cordon Bleu would be to understand all of your options. The course catalogue is so robust and varied, you really are able to pick and choose a course structure that makes sense for whatever your specific and individual goals are.”

What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in a few words?

“The time I spent at Le Cordon Bleu set me on the path that will see me through well into my future. This is not where I expected to end up, but I am very happy I am here.”

Why did you decide to enrol on the internship programme?

“Being American, I did not have the right to work in the UK, but really wanted to hone my skills in a professional kitchen without interruption. I’m so grateful for the experience gained and I’m still employed there two years on! I never would have had this opportunity without the internship programme.”

How would you describe your internship role?

“I was apprentice chef, which is basically a commis job structure.”

How did you find this role?

“Challenging but very comprehensive. I was fully immersed in the kitchen lifestyle and culture immediately. It was not so much an internship as an entry level chef position.”

What did your day-to-day look like?

“We would work four days a week with three double shifts. On a standard double day, I would arrive to work at 7:20am to be ready to start work at 7:30am. From the start of your shift until lunch service at 12pm we were pushing mise en place to get ready for the day. At noon, lunch service began which was on average about 70-100 covers. After lunch we would clean down, eat staff food and go out on break before dinner service. Dinner service usually saw me in a prep position at the back getting everything wrapped up from daily prep and then cleaning and closing up the kitchen for the evening. Sometimes I would be on service on Larder which was always interesting between doing up to 200 covers, special requests, VIP guests, etc. I would leave the kitchen between 11:30-12 each evening and go home just to do it all again the next morning.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the role?

“I believe because of my time in Grand Diplôme®, I was as prepared as I could have been to take on the hours of a kitchen, however it was still a challenging adjustment. As this is a very physically and mentally taxing position, constantly thinking on your feet (and being on your feet), my stamina needed to improve rapidly.”

What did you most enjoy about the role?

“It was very rewarding to see my year of education yield tangible results. l assimilated into the kitchen fairly seamlessly and to secure a promotion and permanent position on management just three months in was just icing on the proverbial cake.”

How valuable has the internship experience been for you?

“Invaluable, this internship turned into both my full-time job, and my sponsorship to stay in England. I have been given both a clear career path, as well as the opportunity to cultivate a beautiful, ever increasingly permanent life for myself in London.”

Would you recommend the internship pathway to other students?

“I would 100% recommend the internship pathway regardless of your career goals. The experience is invaluable, and you never know where it will take you.”

What is your ultimate career goal?

“Seeing as my path has already taken so many unexpected turns, I’m in the current mindset of allowing my career to unfold through organic opportunity. That being said, my ultimate goal is to be able to look back and be proud of everything I have achieved, the quality of work I have put forth, and the opportunities I’ve earned. I am currently well on the path of having that goal be a reality.”

Inspired by Payton's journey? Find out how you can follow in her footsteps by finding out more about our Grand Diplôme® with Culinary Management and Internship Pathway, or by visiting our programmes page to view the full list of courses available and start your culinary journey today.