We caught up with our 2018 winner of the Julia Child Scholarship, Lois Farmer, on how she is progressing through the first part of her scholarship; studying the basic level of Le Cordon Bleu's Grand Diplôme®.
How was your first week studying at Le Cordon Bleu London?
My first week was spent mostly familiarising myself with the schedule, rules, locations of rooms and how the practicals worked and getting to know the other group members and chefs.
What have you found most challenging about the course?
The most challenging aspects of the course so far are mainly with the time planning and organisation for the practicals, but I've learnt that this comes with practice.
What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?
There is so much I enjoy but I particularly enjoy learning how to butcher and fillet using the correct techniques. Demonstrations are also very interesting - the chefs have so much knowledge to share from all their experience not just teaching, but also working in industry. Learning from them and understanding why certain things happen in cooking and how to fix things that go wrong is great.
Do you have a preference yet between cuisine or pâtisserie?
I would probably say cuisine is where I am most comfortable but I have learnt so much in pâtisserie and I am starting to enjoy that more and more as the course goes on and I develop these skills further. I’m just trying to keep an open mind and learn all that I can at the moment and then I will see where that leads.
How have you found working in a kitchen team alongside 15 other students from all over the world?
The group I am in; we all get along great and work really well as a team. It will be interesting to see the new group dynamic as it changes when the groups are mixed up in Intermediate.
As part of the scholarship you’ve been provided accommodation by Londonist, how is it so far?
It’s great, it provides absolutely everything you need - plus the commute is really easy every day.
You’ve been on a first mentorship session with Adam Ashe, what did you gain from this experience?
Meeting Adam Ashe was really great, he has so much knowledge, not only of the course at Le Cordon Bleu but the experience he has gained from working in and running restaurants all around the world. He offered me some great advice and is someone who I really look up to.
In a few words, how would you describe your first 3 months at Le Cordon Bleu?
Intense, enriching, fulfilling.
What do you expect for next term when you advance to the Intermediate level?
I expect it to accelerate my knowledge quite quickly and I'm also expecting to learn how to use different, more varied ingredients. I think now that I have had time to get used to everything and I am feeling quite settled, the next few months are going to be even more intense and quite hard work but equally as enjoyable as the Basic level.
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