Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Aaina Dutt. I am a 27-year-old student from Mumbai, India and I am currently pursing my Cuisine Diploma in Professional Immersion. I studied Business Management at Cardiff, UK, and I worked in Marketing for almost 3 years in India. This is not to say that I did not enjoy my time as I studied or worked, I still had a real passion for cooking within me, and a consistent need to keep trying new things, irrespective of where I was in the world. In 2018, I finally decided to take the plunge and apply for a place at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, a dream that had been over 10 years in the making.
What made you want to study at Le Cordon Bleu?
In addition to the 9 months of training provided as part of the Cuisine Diploma, the Immersion programme offers 3 months of work experience within the institute followed by an internship in the industry. As someone who hopes to run my own restaurant one day, this seemed like an ideal way to gain the experience early, while still having a chance to continue honing my skills as I worked at the institute.
What is the immersion programme?
It is an extended diploma that allows students to gain work experience, both within the institute and within the industry. It is a rigorous training which allows to discover the different fields in which we would have to be involved in as professionals. Every department I have been able to work in so far has offered a very diverse experience.
The preparation kitchen is where we prepare the food for the Café every morning and assist the Chefs in preparing ingredients for the demonstrations.
The kitchen is where we get to continuously practice the skills we learnt in class, with a larger volume of work and food preparation. As part of café preparation, we’re also given the chance to work in the hot kitchen to prepare fresh food to order, for the lunch service as per the menu for the week.
The café service offers an insight into the more front facing customer experience. This is also where the French language that I am learning comes most into play, since we’re asked to interact with the customers in French.
The economat is where we receive all the fresh produce each morning. This gets sorted out to either be stored until use or is segmented as per the requirements of the practical for every student.
Moreover, we assist the Chefs during the demonstrations. This allow us to understand the steps of a recipe from behind the counter.
As part of the programme, we’re given the opportunity and encouraged to participate in the development of new recipes and contribute to new ideas.
How is the relation between Chefs and students?
One of the best parts about studying at Le Cordon Bleu has been the opportunity to interact with well-known Chef. Especially since they are always available to share their expertise and to take our views into account. Each Chef brings their own way of making the recipes and techniques, which means that the learning was much broader than I expected. There’s always a new perspective and a new take waiting to be discovered and the Chefs are extremely supportive as we try and find what fits us best individually.
What are your plans after graduation?
After completing my Cuisine Diploma, I hope to be able to gain some industry experience through the internship as part of the professional immersion programme. Post that, I will be returning to the institute to pursue my Pâtisserie Diploma! After completing both these diplomas, eventually, I aim to work in France for a few years, before returning to India to start my own restaurant, a speakeasy that combines fine French cuisine with beautifully plated desserts!
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