During my nine months studying the Diplôme de Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, I received a lot of teachings that helped me become a better human being, both in a professional and personal way. Seven months after I graduated, I managed to give birth to a dream that Le Cordon Bleu helped me nurture: I now own a 40 seat cafe in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil and I’m about to open a 120 seat restaurant.
The people here are incredible! Obviously there is the learning experience, but also the ability to meet people from around the world and hear about what food means to them.
The most important thing I learned is that I didn't know anything about cooking, although I thought I was a great amateur cook at home. It humbles you. The first 2-3 weeks at the Cordon Bleu you realize you need to start with the basics, and not be over-anxious to start butchering rabbits! Also, I had a great time improving my knife skills. That was the very first thing you learn. I would go the supermarket and buy a 5lb bag of carrots, peel them and start practicing my Juliennes, Brunoise, Turning, etc... so I could be ahead of the game when getting my first job.
It's more than what I was expecting. Every day I learn something new. The chefs who teach me are beyond amazing. By just interacting with them on a daily basis, I have been gaining knowledge and great tips that are going to help me with my career in the future.
When you're studying at Le Cordon Bleu there are so many great opportunities available, whether it's putting in extra time to practice, help out the chefs teaching you, or help out the restaurant, and you should absolutely take full advantage of these learning opportunities. I spent all of my extra time helping out the chefs, and it pays out. You learn different aspects of the teaching environment and you get to practice your skills while still learning. Since I've graduated I worked at Signatures for three years, and also have worked abroad staging at Michelin star restaurants in England. I'm currently working at two sister restaurants in Ottawa, Fauna and Bar Laurel.
... that's the key to the Cordon Bleu experience - we have amazing Chefs who want to teach us everything they know - and we need only ask. We have the opportunity to learn that goes far beyond the demos, practicals and the workshops.
I realized I always wanted to be in the kitchen with my mom, but not necessarily watch her cook, but rather have her move aside and let me do the cooking. That's really when I realized that this is what I want to do, this is what I want my life to be about.
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