The high temple of French cooking has 50 schools in over 20 countries.
At the Paris base of the Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, the temple of French gastronomic tradition, the students, many of them Asian, all sport uniforms: large white aprons and bakers hats. A young man comes down stairs carrying a tray of fresh éclairs. We are light years from the housewives who packed the school in the 1950s: today, Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) is a passport to a career in one of the trendiest industries around.
“What interests students most is our professionalisation. This is no place for amateurs and culinary school is expensive. Students want to learn all they can in the time they’re here,” explains André Cointreau, school CEO since 1984, when LCB was bought up by the famous liqueurproducing family.
The fees are steep: at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, the complete Culinary Arts degree costs €25,200, the Pâtisserie and Baking programme runs €19,600.