We met Le Cordon Bleu Paris Institute 2009 Grand Diplôme alumna Patricia Lombardi. She opened her pastry shop “Le P’tit Café” in the Ipanema district of Rio de Janeiro 5 years ago. Her success story continues with her soon to be opened new shop. She also reveals how keen she is to return to the new Paris campus in order to specialize in a new field. We asked her a few questions.
7 questions to Patricia Lombardi
How did you become interested in pastry?
I always loved cooking but I didn’t have any experience in pastry.
Having finished my studies and received my diploma from a gastronomy school in Rio de Janeiro, I came to Paris in order to specialize and to learn Le Cordon Bleu techniques. This is how my passion for pastry and all the techniques involved began. In addition, pastry requires attention to detail which I really enjoy. My studies at Le Cordon Bleu Paris Institute made me realise what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
What is your favourite memory from your adventure at Le Cordon Bleu Paris Institute?
Each day was unforgettable, particularly the trips where we were able to discover local markets and the large Rungis market which supply Paris.
The Chefs also left me with lasting memories: you could really feel how passionate they were about their job and teaching. Other incredible memories were the amazing lessons on sugar and chocolate sculpture. Lastly, another memorable day was a special event: a cocktail party at the Petit Palais in which I had the privilege of taking part.
Could you tell us briefly about your career path?
Before going to Paris, I worked in the kitchens of a number of hotels in Rio de Janeiro. After I finished the Grand Diplôme I was lucky enough, thanks to the school, to work in the kitchen of top pastry Chef Pierre Hermé. This fantastic experience gave me the opportunity to learn so many things that I still use today in my shop.
When and how did the “Le P’tit Café” adventure begin?
After finishing studying in Paris, I returned to Brazil because I wanted to open a pastry shop in order to put everything I had learnt in France into practice. One year later, I opened “Le P’tit Café” and I am delighted to be able to share a little taste of Paris with my customers.
Could you describe your new life in Ipanema?
“Le P'tit Café” is already five years old. Every day, I put what I have learnt into practice and create new recipes. I also make recipes that I learnt at Le Cordon Bleu Institute: they are really popular here.
What advice would you give to future pastry students?
I would tell them that they are about to embark on an extraordinary adventure.
I would also tell them to take as much as possible from what the Chefs teach as they really do have a great deal of knowledge to share. It is important that students go and visit pastry shops in the city, try new things and go to the market to look for ingredients during their free time. I would also suggest studying the recipes at home as this enables you to perform better in class, to have no doubts about what you are doing and to be able to learn in a better manner.
What are your plans for the future?
Today I am very happy and fulfilled with my pastry shop. We are currently in the process of opening a new shop. I want those eating my cakes to really feel the love of pastry that I was taught at Le Cordon Bleu.
I also hope to return to the new institute in the near future to follow another specialization.