In 2015, we had the pleasure to welcome Elisa Fernandes at the school; Elisa is the winner of MasterChef Brasil 2015 and she joined our Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris. We met with her to find out more about her story, her impressions of the school and her projects for the future.
Meet Elisa Fernandes
Can you introduce yourself in just a few words?
Well, my name is Elisa Fernandes. I come from a small town in Brazil, in the region of Sao Paolo. I always dreamed of coming to live in Paris since I was a little girl and now, thanks to MasterChef, I am living my dream!
Where did you get your passion for cooking?
When I was living with my parents, I wasn't really interested in cooking. We had a person at home who took care of that. But when I moved out to live on my own to study philosophy at university, I had to learn how to cook for myself and it appealed to me right away. During my time at university I worked with an organization that looked after young children, and it was my job to prepare their meals. Later I went to work for an event planning company where I learnt a huge amount working alongside a French Chef. Cooking for dozens of people was a real challenge that enabled me to make progress fast.
How did your first days at the school go? Are there things that surprised you?
It's been really good. I am so happy to be able to learn all these fundamental techniques of French cuisine from the Chefs here at Le Cordon Bleu. I was expecting it to be very demanding and I haven't been disappointed; the Chefs push us to do the very best we can, even more than I had imagined. It's great because it really helps us raise our game. As I found out during the MasterChef competition, it is very important to be consistent and produce high quality dishes at each service. To be good once is fine, but it's consistency that pays off; the way that the Chefs here are so demanding helps keep us up to the mark all the time.
What are your favorite recipes among those that you have learnt during your course?
I loved the vol-au-vent aux crevettes avec un œuf poché (prawn vol-au-vent with a poached egg), followed by poisson à la sauce au beurre servi avec un concassé de tomates (fish in a butter sauce served with concassé tomatoes) and for the dessert: pâte sablée avec une crème de pistache et des fraises (short crust pastry with pistachio cream and strawberries).
What is your favorite typically Brazilian dish?
It's canjiquinha com costelinha suina. It's a dish of pork ribs served with a special sweet corn that is a little like rice. It's really delicious.
Have you tried out any Parisian restaurants since you arrived? Which do you prefer?
Yes, I have been to one or two. I especially loved l’Arpège and the restaurant at the Plaza Athenée where I was so lucky to be able to go for lunch.
What are your projects for the future?
I have so many projects! First, I would like to work in a restaurant in France then work as a private Chef in London where I have started to make some contacts. Then I would like to go back to Brazil and open my own restaurant.