Chef Mathieu Pacaud, a partner of Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute, regularly welcomes and trains the school’s students: students from the Cuisine and Pastry Diploma, Wine and Management Programme and Bachelors programmes alike. We visited the Divellec and Hexagone restaurants, in Paris, to meet the Chef, his kitchen brigade and Le Cordon Bleu interns.
Interview with chef Mathieu Pacaud
Mathieu Pacaud trained alongside Éric Briffard at the Plaza Athénée in his role as chef de partie before joining the three Michelin-starred family restaurant, L’Ambroisie.
In 2015, Chef Mathieu Pacaud opened two restaurants under the same roof: Hexagone and Histoires, 1 and 2 stars respectively, in the famous Michelin Guide. In September 2016, Mathieu Pacaud took over at the Divellec seafood restaurant which was awarded its first star by the Michelin guide in February 2017. A new not to be missed restaurant on the Parisian dining scene! Le Cordon Bleu Paris interns regularly work for Chef Mathieu Pacaud; we asked him a few questions…
Are you happy with the standard of work of Le Cordon Bleu Paris students who are placed with you?
Le Cordon Bleu interns are first-rate as they have been carefully selected. When they start working in the restaurant, they are fully aware of their role, of what they are going to see and do. The individuals we choose, along with the school, are perfectly suited to our needs, and there is good on-going supervision of the interns.
In your opinion, what is it that makes an internship successful?
An internship is successful when we are able to offer the intern a job at the end of it. The benefits are two-fold. But it is also giving the interns the chance to see and learn a great deal and the correct way of working.
Could you tell me about your relationship with Le Cordon Bleu Paris which, I believe, is not limited to welcoming interns?
C'est du donnant, donnant, je travaille avec Le Cordon Bleu depuis longtemps. J’ai toujours eu des stagiaires de l’école partout où j'ai travaillé. J’ai aussi beaucoup de respect et d'estime pour le Chef Eric Briffard. Il m’est donc aussi arrivé de venir faire une démonstration de cuisine à l’institut pour les étudiants. Tous ces liens passent par une collaboration de long terme avec les équipes de l’école qui s’assure continuellement de la qualité des stagiaires que nous recevons.
It’s all about give and take; I have been working with Le Cordon Bleu for many years. I have always had interns from the school wherever I have been working. I also admire and have a great deal of respect for Chef Eric Briffard. I have had the opportunity to give a cuisine demonstration to students at the Institute. This relationship is founded on a long-term partnership with the school’s teams who ensure that the quality of the interns is unwavering.
If you could give them a piece of advice right now, what would it be?
I would tell them to take as many notes as they can, to soak up as much of the expertise and knowledge with which they are surrounded as possible but also to give their all. We have interns from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds working for us; this leads to fruitful exchanges. We give them a lot but they are, first and foremost, working for themselves. They are progressing, evolving. In an internship, you give 100%, not just for the company but for yourself too.
Meeting the Bachelor students at the Divellec restaurant
Following our interview with Mathieu Pacaud, we headed over to the Divellec restaurant, to visit 1st year Bachelor programme students, Harshit Kumar, Sally Bou-Rizk and Kyle Dao, during their internship.
Which diploma are you taking at Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?
All three of us are in our first year of the Bachelor programme at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. This is our first internship, which we alternate with lessons. Our next internship will be for 5 months.
Could you tell us about an average working day?
Harshit and Sally: we are commis and have a number of tasks. For lunchtime service, we are front of house and look after the dining room, preparation and table service.
Kyle and Harshit: In the evening, we work in the kitchen.
Kyle: Every day is different; I learn something new on a daily basis! Today, for example, I am helping with desserts which, once again, are something completely new for me.
What do you enjoy the most?
Harshit: I like everything, the work and the teams. The cuisine side is fascinating because we make outstanding dishes. Sally: for me it is the opposite, I prefer being front of house because I love being in contact with the customers.
Kyle: I worked front of house for the first week but asked if I could carry on in the cuisine side of things. I have already experienced service in a restaurant run by my mother so was keen to experience the cuisine aspect.
Why was it so important to you to carry out an internship during your training programme?
I believe it is essential to carry out internships as we have only just begun our training programme and it is fundamental to experience life in the industry, the reality out in the field. Here, in Chef Mathieu Pacaud’s restaurant, we put what we have studied at the school into practice.
Kyle: I believe it is essential to experience real working life. We all have to start somewhere and I think this internship is a good introduction to the field. I am really enjoying myself, the team is great.
What are your plans once your internship has ended?
Harshit: we begin a 5 month internship in April. I am going to ask to carry on my internship at Divellec. I feel extremely comfortable here; it really is a perfect internship.
Sally: I would like to work in a hotel. I have already carried out internships in restaurants so would prefer a change, to gain experience in the hospitality sector, preferably in a luxury hotel.