Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila held the first day of classes for the pioneer batch of its Diplome de Cuisine (Cuisine Diploma) program last January 8, 2020, in the modern and fully-equipped G/F George SK Ty Learning Innovation Wing of the Areté, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
The 9-month course is the signature program of Le Cordon Bleu, the leading global network of culinary arts and hospitality management institutes. It is an intensive, hands-on program that covers the most comprehensive techniques in the culinary arts, headed by Chef Thierry Le Baut, Technical Director.
Chef Thierry relocated to Manila upon the invitation of the Dean of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Rodolfo Ang. Le Baut had always wanted to move into the country due to the uniqueness of food from one island to another. “There are wonderful ingredients that I have never seen, and the local farmers do great work.”
Amid the island’s culinary diversity, Le Cordon Bleu institutes across the world are similar. “We have a structure to follow,” Le Baut explains, “a recipe can change depending on the availability of the ingredients, but the techniques are the same.” Students that graduate from the Diplome de Cuisine program, whether they may be located in London, Paris or Manila, will all attain the same knowledge. The knowledge shared by Le Baut is equivalent to techniques that took him and other experienced Le Cordon Bleu chefs years to learn, and as a result, students will come out of the program fast-tracked and well-equipped.
“It has been a fruitful educational experience in the kitchen. I have been learning the nuances of classical cuisine, and that was exactly what I was expecting when I initially enrolled for this program,” Dr. Yvette Santiago, states. She is one of the pioneer students of the Basic Cuisine Certificate. Having been an ophthalmologist by profession, she decided to reduce her clinic schedule as the culinary arts have always been her passion. It had been her dream to learn classical cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, but upon learning of Le Cordon Bleu’s program in Manila, she was further strengthened to pursue her love for culinary arts.
The pioneer batch of Diplome de Cuisine in Manila consists of students from a variety of backgrounds. Some students have prior foundation in the culinary arts, while others do not. Those with no formal culinary experience continue to be strongly encouraged by Chef Thierry. “I love the overall environment and vibe in Le Cordon Bleu. I have the best set of batchmates, and the staff are always accommodating. It feels like we are one big family,” says Maria Canlas, a former Marketing Consultant.
Although the best knowledge is provided, students have to learn discipline, organization, and respect of other cultures to continuously thrive in the culinary industry. “Practicing the techniques in their own time will give them the capacity to progress,” Le Baut explains, “The Philippines reminds me of Spain in the 1980s. Back then, all the best ingredients arrived outside of Spain – in France, Germany, and England, for example, but look at where Spain is in the food panorama today. Le Cordon Bleu will eventually transition to a more Filipino cuisine, and I have been meeting with Filipino chefs to explore the country’s cultural heritage further. These will all be taught to our students. We train our students to become master chefs – not just chefs.”
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