September 2019 - In 2019, Le Cordon Bleu Paris launched the Professional Immersion, a 3-month module allowind Cuisine Diploma, Pastry Diploma and Grand Diplôme students to evolve in a professional environment by working for 3 months in the various departments of the institute: preparation, Café, assisting Chefs during demonstrations... A complementary experience on top of their initial training to implement the techniques learned during the Basic and Intermediate levels. We met Christopher Daniel to talk about these 3 months at the heart of the institute.
Can you introduce yourself?
I am 27 years old and from San Francisco, United States. Before Le Cordon Bleu, I was going to school full time, as well as doing athletics, but most importantly I was creating my own business with my family. This was a challenge like no other, working 7 days a week, 105-110 hours per week for almost nine years. This really opened my eyes to this industry and how demanding it can be, but also how rewarding it is. Structuring a business isn't easy but if you wake up with this want to learn, it will take you to new heights. All of this led to my motivation for coming to Paris. I wanted to expose myself to the great cultural history that is known today when discussing food and France, from their great seasonality, ingredients, and so many other aspects.
What made you want to study at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?
The main driving force for me to study at Le Cordon Bleu Paris was the amazing reputation, history, history of products, as well as the technological aspects that gives France this outstanding reputation. My motivation for coming to Le Cordon Bleu was to learn from the best, which I can say I did. Chefs made me realize that one recipe or idea can be done in so many different ways by using various techniques and procedures! Having the depth of all of these Chefs allowed me to choose the best method that fits my spirit and craft to ultimately produce a product that will make someone happy.
Why did you choose to follow the immersion programme?
I chose the Immersion program because it would allow me to get closer to the process of how the school works, get closer to the Chefs, and learn more on a one on one environment. I also chose the Immersion programme to give me more time to learn and to absorb the system that the institute uses to produce such a great programme. Through all of this learning I fell in love with the aspect that will make my day to day a lot easier: learning French. While in Intermediate I started to take classes, although it was a bit taxing on my learning in the classroom, but when I started Immersion, I had one focus to work with the Chefs, learn the process, but ultimately use my French.
Can you tell us about the immersion programme?
When in the Immersion program you are rotated through the different departments that make up the school and its functionality, from products, to being a part of the process of ordering and checking inventory, to assisting the Chefs while in demonstration, to assisting them with side ideas and creations for new curriculum that will be incorporated in materials for students in the near future…! Once you start the immersion program you are expected to know the system of recipes, knife cuts, seasoning and a lot more that make up creating a near perfect product possible. In Basic Cuisine and Basic Pastry, the objective is to familiarize oneself with products, processes and a system that allows you to create a product that has to match what the Chef had done in demonstration.
Once you enter into Intermediate you are given more responsibility: although you still have to recreate the recipes like the Chef, there is more room for errors, because it's more of an approach towards your knowledge of the products and their functions, all while being exposed to new products. My best memories were working with all the Cuisine & Pastry Chefs, in class and in the prep kitchen.
Also working special events such as Omnivore, Salon de la Pâtisserie, Taste of Paris, was the opportunity to meet industry professional, future employers, and be a part of development in the field that I am so passionate about.
Overall, what is your best memory at Le Cordon Bleu Paris so far?
There are too many, I probably will start off with the Chefs and the friends I had met. All of my favorite memories had come through times of laughter's, stress, sadness, and learning, all of which led to an experience I will never forget and the people that were a part of the journey as well. I would say my best memory would be all of them complied into one by being through my journey that contributed to create this unique experience!
What are your plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation would be to start working my six-month internship, and ultimately stay in Paris/France for a few years after to learn more and to practice my French before returning to the Golden state of California I call home.