Cyril Lignac and Angelo Musa, Le Cordon Bleu Paris class patrons
Cyril Lignac, favourite chef of the French and Angelo Musa, world pastry champion, graduation ceremony class patrons
On 7 June, 2017, the graduation ceremony took place for Le Cordon Bleu Paris institute Culinary Arts (Grand Diplôme – Cuisine Diploma – Pastry Diploma). More than 150 students, of 45 different nationalities, received their seal of excellence in the company of their families, friends and Chef Instructors.
At 10am, at the Cercle de l’Union Interalliée, rounds of applause kicked off the ceremony in the presence of chef Cyril Lignac, class patron for Cuisine and Grand Diplôme students. Cyril Lignac is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of several establishments, including Le Quinzième and Aux Prés restaurants, pâtisseries and chocolate shops. Considered to be the “Favourite Chef of the French”, Cyril Lignac wanted to congratulate and encourage the students on this special day.
I truly believe that we are fortunate enough to be doing one of the best jobs in the world. First and foremost, that of giving pleasure to others, of sharing emotions. Never forget the values of our professions: passion, excellence, hard work, creativity, generosity.
Chef Angelo Musa, executive pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée hotel, 2003 World Pastry Champion and One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France - MOF) 2007, awarded the Pastry Diploma.
Pastry graduates were able to benefit from the invaluable advice of the chef to better prepare for their future careers.
There is one thing which to me seems essential: when you start working, respect nature, work in harmony with its rhythm, follow the seasons and respect ingredients, their choice is of upmost importance in our profession. Also, take the time to grow, to assimilate knowledge; don’t be in too much of a rush.
During their training programme, the students performed exceptionally well in all the challenges with which they were faced, and their motivation, alongside the permanent team of Chef Instructors, was clear to see. Culinary Arts Director, Chef Eric Briffard (MOF), and his Assistants, Philippe Groult (MOF) and Fabrice Danniel, Pastry Technical Director, wished them every success and, above all to excel in their career. We would like to welcome all our graduates to Le Cordon Bleu extended alumni family around the globe.
Biography of Chef Cyril Lignac
Born in the Aveyron region of France, the joyful atmosphere that surrounded the dinners organized by his parents left a lasting impression on Cyril Lignac. “For me, cuisine has always been about making people happy”. It was therefore a natural progression for him to set his sights on working in the restaurant sphere. He chose cuisine training and began his apprenticeship alongside Nicole Fagegaltier at the Vieux Pont restaurant in Belcastel. This 1st taste of the industry would change his vision of cuisine. He discovered the demanding nature of Michelin-starred restaurants and a real passion for the profession. Motivated by his desire to learn, he successfully passed his pastry, ice cream and chocolate CAPs.
His passion then catapulted him to Paris and the kitchens of chef Alain Passard, at l’Arpège, who was considered to be one of the finest roast meat chefs in France at that time. It was during this period that the three Michelin-starred chef decided to stop cooking meat and dedicate himself to vegetables. This experience gave Cyril Lignac a taste for exceptional seasonal produce, the desire to be creative and technical precision. His love of all things sweet then led him to join haute couture pastry chef Pierre Hermé. Elegance, sophistication and precision became part of Cyril Lignac’s DNA. In 2005, whilst chef at La Suite restaurant, he was approached by a producer working on a new concept for a cuisine programme. “It took me a long time to decide. Deep down, I am quite shy”, admits the chef. He took on the challenge of this real-life adventure and discovered a new meaning to his profession: sharing and transmitting knowledge. The programme was a resounding success and led him to open his very own restaurant, Le Quinzième.
At Le Quinzième, Cyril Lignac showcases a cuisine which is a modern version of traditional French gastronomy and is deeply committed to elevating the work of small producers and artisans to the realm of the sublime. This is a self-assured cuisine, which is graphic and sleek but also generous and authentic. In 2012, he was awarded his first star by the Michelin Guide. A born entrepreneur, Cyril Lignac didn’t stop there and, in 2008, took over an institution in Paris’s 11th district: Le Chardenoux. This authentic Parisian bistro, a protected Historical Monument, took on a new lease of life. The dishes served, with outstanding seasonal produce, embodied a warm and friendly cuisine, brimming with humour. In 2011, the chef opened Aux Prés, replacing the Claude Sainlouis – a famous bistro in Paris’s Left Bank. Here, bistro cuisine with global influences, showcasing the finest products from French and foreign terroirs, takes pride of place. A few months later, Cyril Lignac met Benoît Couvrand, who was pastry chef at Maison Fauchon at that time. Together, they launched a new sweet adventure: La Pâtisserie. “I wanted to rework cakes which require true expertise. Our creations are firmly rooted in tradition but with a resolutely modern touch”. They played with textures, were meticulous in their quest to find the perfect quantity of sugar, returned primary flavours to their rightful place…All in a responsible fashion. Today, La Pâtisserie boasts 5 boutiques located in Paris’s 6th, 11th, 15th, 16th and 17th districts. In 2016, the duo #gourmandcroquant created La Chocolaterie, an original and lively space dedicated to cocoa, a kind of “café/chocolate shop” or “cocoa room”. There, a myriad of cocoa gourmet treats can be found: from chocolate bars to pastries via marshmallow bears. “I have always associated chocolate with sharing, comfort, and the simple pleasures of everyday life. It is a simple pleasure which unites individuals: that is why I wanted to reinvent the artisan chocolate shop.” In the same year, Cyril Lignac began a new chapter, opening the Bar des Prés, a gastronomic bar revolving around all things raw, with Japanese and French influences. The restaurant, in which the chef explores a land which is close to his heart, provides a culinary journey. Following the success of his first shop, Cyril Lignac expanded La Chocolaterie and, in June 2017, opened a second shop on rue du Dragon, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, opposite his restaurants, Aux Prés and Le Bar des Prés. This has provided opportunities to extend his range of gourmet delights and enable his team members to evolve. His entrepreneurial precision, combined with his genuinely warm personality, led him to be voted “Favourite Chef of the French” and “Chef of the Year” by GQ magazine.
Who is Chef Angelo Musa?
Angelo Musa, 2003 World Pastry Champion and One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France - MOF) 2007, joined the Plaza Athénée hotel as executive pastry chef. At the beginning of April 2016, Angelo Musa was appointed head of the pastry teams at 25 avenue Montaigne by Alain Ducasse and François Delahaye. Born in Nancy, in 1970, pastry chef Angelo Musa graduated from Metz Hospitality School. Winner of the French Cup (2001), he won the World Pastry Cup in 2003. He learnt the ropes at Pâtisserie Bourguignon in Metz then at Relais Desserts Oberweis, Luxembourg, before joining Le Palais du Chocolat, with Pascal Caffet, in Troyes. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious title One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France - MOF). In March 2008, he created consultancy firm Papilio Conseil which enabled him, amongst other projects, to establish the Pâtisserie des Rêves de Thierry Tessier & Philippe Conticini in Paris’s 7th and 16th districts and, today, to be named executive chef at the Plaza Athénée hotel.
With a wealth of experience in France and abroad – this Nancy native with the blue/white/red collar (his greatest pride!) tackles his latest challenge with poise: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the team at the Plaza Athénée, alongside Alain Ducasse, and to work hand-in-hand with pastry chef Alexandre Dufeu”.
His task? He approaches it with the commitment and humility which characterize him, but also with a great deal of passion. Surrounded by a 21 strong kitchen brigade, his creativity is reflected on the menus of the Cour Jardin, the Galerie, the Relais Plaza, the Terrasse Montaigne, for “Special Events” but also room service! He is fully aware that a variety of subjects exist but he approaches each one as if it is a different playing field …
His vision? Balance is his motto! First and foremost, balance of flavours (which can be bold but must marry delicately with other flavours), next comes balance of textures (so that the palate can experience different sensations: soft, crisp, melting …) but also a balance between sweet and sour, or acidic.
What does he enjoy most? Reworking the classics. Working them through, step by step, with perfectly mastered technical skills: the crisp puff pastry in a mille-feuille must be impeccable and the cream flawlessly fresh; pastry bases – for flans and tarts – must be pre-baked with watchmaker like precision before being “dressed”, the cream in an éclair should be “made to order” to achieve the creaminess that will be a perfect match for the crisp pastry…