2017 Pastry Diploma graduate, Roland Nguyen already owns a pastry shop in Ho Chi Minh City. He explains how his time at the institute not only taught him the finest French pastry techniques, but also helped him become an entrepreneur.
Interview with Roland Nguyen
Could you briefly present yourself, and tell us what have you done before studying at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?
I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. After graduating from high school, I studied Hotel Management at a tourism vocational college for 3 years. However, I was not fond of what I learned and decided to learn pastry and chocolate art.
Why did you choose Le Cordon Bleu, and specifically the Paris institute?
I chose Le Cordon Bleu because of its reputation in the world of gastronomy. Besides, I heard "Le Cordon Bleu" a few times on TV shows from renowned chefs and decided to look it up on the internet. Specifically, I chose Paris because that’s the most famous city for pastry and bread, hence related to my chosen career path.
Studying in Paris does not just mean following training at the Institute but is also the unique opportunity to discover the wide world of pastry.
Understanding pastry culture and history in the heart of Parisian gastronomy, was a really important step towards the creation of my future business as I could analyse, critique and get inspiration from the many cakes and desserts I tasted.
What can you say about your time at Le Cordon Bleu Paris?
I really enjoyed the whole experience: The Chefs, the lessons, my friends… I have so many memories and I learnt a lot. While the atmosphere was studious but friendly during the demonstrations, the Chefs were kind and attentive during the practical classes. The pâtisserie programme is made up of three levels; basic, intermediate and superior, where there were different challenges. Working alone in Basic, or in teamwork during Superior. I also had the highest mark for decoration at the final exam, as well as in the written exam!
What advice would you give to future students?
Don't be afraid of mistakes, feel free to try whatever you think so long as it does not harm people. Thinking is important but making it come true is crucial.
What are you doing now?
I am in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and am the pastry chef of my own store, Le Petit Roland. It is a small authentic French pastry and viennoiserie shop, that opened a year ago. It is not store sales, we also supply 5 coffee shops and restaurants located in the French quarter.
How has your training at Le Cordon Bleu Paris helped you in the creation of your business?
I acquired many techniques
taught by the Chef Instructors during my training, and from what I learnt, I was able to develop creations for my shop. The institute also offered demonstrations featuring outside chefs
. Through this, I discovered, and practiced the fruit confections
of chef Cedric Grolet
, to in turn offer them in my pastry shop. Admin-wise, running a business is not as easy as I thought, and my work is not only related to pastry: I also look after finance, management and marketing
At Le Cordon Bleu Paris, I had the chance to learn about business creation with Chefs and international friends
who shared their own experiences.
Do you also want to be a pastry chef?