So today I have completed a week…..
……at Le Cordon Bleu. Well I’m actually off today, which is well deserved in my opinion as I am exhausted. I’ve not even had time to think about writing my blog! But this time last week I was a new recruit along with around 100 other new recruits. I didn’t realise how popular it actually is. Hundreds of students from all over the world as far as New Zealand and China. It’s a huge melting pot of different nationalities. Most are really young, fresh from Uni. I really am in the minority when it comes to age. They are all there for various reasons but the one I liked the best was the young Swiss girl on a gap year, there purely to learn to cook before she goes to Uni! Firstly, what an expensive cookery lesson & secondly, she will be the most popular student on campus if she can create what she learns. Certainly beats a Pot Noodle, a few tons of pasta & a litre of cheap cider.
I’d almost compare it to being in the army….
……or some kind of punishing boot camp. It is intense, fast paced & quite strict! I did wonder last week what the hell I’d done. Parting with my money to be tortured I did think at one point. Back to back three hour classes ranging from 8am to 6.30pm with a 30-minute break in between. Bearing in mind you need to be outside the class door 15 minutes before the start & they allow a 15 minute overrun at the end of a class, this leaves me with approx.……let me think……zero minutes to eat, wee, make a phone call & change into the full uniform! As you’re not really supposed to go outside in uniform for hygiene reasons, going anywhere in that so called 30-minute break is an impossible task. So unless you bring your own lunch, you have to eat their oh so delicious but oh so expensive food in their café. Forget going to Sainsbury’s unless you have a time machine and oh, don’t buy a coffee as unless your throat is made of heat resistant material, you’ve no chance of drinking it. Putting all this aside, its been an experience for sure & I’ve met some great people from around the world & most importantly of all, it’s highlighted to me again, not that I didn’t all ready know, that my Husband is absolutely amazing & has managed the home in my absence, which has been a lot lately & my poor Daughter has had to travel by public transport! Tragic.
So what have I learnt this week…..
…..apart from that I love the French accent……sigh. I’ll be fluent by the time I leave, double bonus as those who know me well, know my absolute love for France and anything French (insert love hearts) It’s all about techniques. If I told you that I spent a large proportion of my money to learn how to boil an egg, you would laugh. Ok here goes, with pictures. Lesson one was cutting techniques. Three hours of listening & watching cutting techniques then a further three hours of doing it myself. I won’t lie. It was actually difficult! French cookery is a precise art form. We use a metal ruler to ensure that our julienne & brunoises are the correct size. I have not only julienned vegetables but my nails also. Lesson two. French dressing & dressing salads. There were around 40 steps to creating this & the hardest so far. My third lesson was salade Italienne with blanched tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. I kid you not. If I’d known what I would be doing beforehand I would have laughed so much & not gone BUT I challenge anyone to try it. It will be the hardest thing you do. I have fast forwarded through the folder to the later lessons & it does get harder. Coupled with following precise instruction on how to run a kitchen, sharpen knives, clean knives…. The list is exhaustive. I’m exhausted! Next week we are being marked. Woe betide if there is a speck on white uniforms as we get marked accordingly.
I forgot to mention that sometimes, due to the timetable, there is a three-hour gap with no classes. Hats off to the genius who wrote that timetable. This, coupled with the two 30 min breaks PLUS the fact that the demo finished early meant I had five hours to kill before my last lesson of the day. Great for those who live in London, which is around 90% as they are all oversea students but boo for me. I couldn’t really go home and back in that time, I was sorely tempted to just go home & sod it. But that’s the wrong attitude so I went to the British Museum & killed around 4 hours looking around, It was actually brilliant. Highly recommend an exhibition called ‘Cradle to Grave’ by Pharmacopoeia. Really brings home how precious life is & how quickly it goes. Deep eh. www.cradletograve.org