What do you like the most about Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute?
Pierre: Cultural diversity is a big advantage, I have the chance to talk every day with people of many different nationalities. Then the teaching staff is really exceptional, in particular Clément Gautier (Head Sommelier Teacher) who passes on his knowledge and his love for wine to us.
In September, a few days after you started at the institute, you did the harvest period in France, how did it go?
Tatiana: It was physically challenging, but incredibly interesting. During the harvest, a whole different kind of knowledge is revealed, you see in practice how the winemaker makes some of his decisions. I was very lucky to spend these two weeks at Domaine Laureau. I did all the work on an equal footing with the other employees, while they were at the same time paying attention to me and explaining what the winery was doing and why.
Pierre: I did this internship in Beaujolais in the domain of Guillaume Chanudet. This internship was very rewarding, I learned new things every day, new working methods and new operating methods. I particularly appreciated the family and friendly atmosphere of the estate. I have maintained very good relations with the winegrower.
Where did you do your internship?
Pierre: I did my internship at the Plaza Athénée, in the sommelier department of Jean Imbert's new gourmet restaurant. I had the chance to work with very well-known people such as Denis Courtiade, twice elected Best Butler in the World. First of all, the room had to be prepared, all the glassware and the set-up. Then we had to welcome the guests and seat them at their tables. First we offered them a refreshment, then an aperitif such as champagne. Once they have ordered their meal, we give them the wine list and advise them on the best way to pair their food and wine. Throughout the meal we made sure that all the guests were served and had everything they needed. At the end of the service, everything had to be tidied up so that the next day's breakfast team could work.
What is your best memory so far?
Tatiana: It was an after-school event to which we were invited to pour wine for the event guests. It was the anniversary of the La Revue du Vin de France magazine's Green guide. We were pouring some of the most prestigious and famous French wine and had the opportunity to taste it and meet the owners of these wineries. It was a first experience of service and a first contact with great professionals.
Pierre: For my first service, I had the chance to taste a Château LATOUR 1990 as well as a Château MARGAUX 1988. I also had the chance to serve many figures, such as Pharrell Williams!
Can you describe a typical day at the institute?
Tatiana: We have a very convenient timetable for classes. Classes start at 9:30, which makes me happy. 3 hours of classes with a 15-minute coffee break, followed by an hour-long lunch break in the Institute cafeteria for a delicious lunch. And usually another 3 hours of classes. Sometimes, I go through my notes at home to mark important information for myself for the day or to translate unfamiliar words.
Can you tell us more about the experts who come teach at the institute?
Tatiana: This is a very cool feature of the programme - meeting with experts in their field. We had a glass masterclass, a cheese masterclass, a tasting with Chartreuse's ambassador, a journalist from the magazine La revue du vin de France. These are very interesting and informative meetings, they help to touch on more aspects of the wine industry, where you can ask any questions you are interested in.
What have you learned since September?
Pierre: We have already explored many wine regions, as well as all the techniques of wine making. The programme is very complete and rich, there is a lot to know to become a true professional.
What is the achievement you are most proud of so far?
Tatiana: I can really tell the difference in aromas and colour between the varieties and regions of French wines that we have already studied.
What advice would you give to future students?
Tatiana: You must realise from the outset that the training is very intensive. In addition to the daily classes, there are additional homework projects to do in preparation for regular tests and midterm exams. Full immersion in the process will help you get the most out of it. Attending professional events and tastings is also useful.
Pierre: Do not hesitate to contact the former students if you have any questions, it is a program open to all, which is very enriching and what is more in the most beautiful city in the world: Paris!
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