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Meet Chang Gao, an intensive pâtisserie student

patisserie diploma student Chang Gao

Why should you choose the intensive six month Diploma in Cuisine or Pâtisserie rather than the standard nine months? We meet Chang Gao, from Beijing, China who studied our intensive six month Pâtisserie Diploma despite having no other previous culinary experience.

What is your background?

I’m originally from Beijing in China, but came to the UK to gain a degree in Business Management and a Masters in International Business from Middlesex University. .

Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu London?

There is a Le Cordon Bleu in Shanghai and thought that I would always love to study there, but once I came to London I realised that I would experience so much more tradition than back in China. As soon as I finished my degrees I wanted to do something special and Le Cordon Bleu was indeed something special.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up at 6:40am and luckily I can walk to campus as I live in Soho. London is an expensive place to live, but my advice is to live as close to the school as you can, to avoid the tube. Basic and Intermediate levels were usually nine hour days, but at Superior level some days can be three or six hours. Although the course is definitely intense, I have noticed that once you reach Superior level, the chefs become a lot more relaxed in class, you don’t come home so exhausted.

If you had your time again would you still have joined intensive pâtisserie or would you have chosen the standard nine month course?

Even if I had the choice all over again, I would still chose the intensive route. I love that you see your class every day, you become a close group very quickly and plus you learn everything that a nine month student would cover, but in a much shorter time. I was worried about the Visa application process as I had already obtained a visa for my extensive time at University, but Le Cordon Bleu were able to sponsor me for a six month visa, which enabled me to study something I have always wanted to do. To be able to study in one of the most exciting capitals in the world is absolutely incredible!

chocolate making at le cordon bleu london pastry school

Did you have any previous culinary experience before joining the course?

I had never cooked before in my entire life. On my first day I was so stressed and scared that I cried before a demonstration, but everyone is so kind and I immediately felt at ease. Now I’m approaching the end of my time and I still can’t believe I have learnt what I have and neither can my parents!

What have been the best and worst parts of the pâtisserie Diploma so far?

My time management and organisation were difficult to master at first, but now my speed is getting faster in class. The bread classes have been my favourite lessons of all, I find them so therapeutic.

What are your plans for the future?

I have my own business back in China, but since gaining my new skills I would like to open my own pâtisserie. The market back home is tough, but I feel like I can now make something unique selling cakes, bread, dessert and coffee. I’ve already planned to call it CC’s!