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cmckee

Best cooking schools in Paris

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Cave and others, a question.  I've been passing the Institute Vatel on the Rue Nollet in the 17th (I even entered the resto one day to find out their hours etc) and had the impression these were young, clean-cut and eager French "kids" and I've also been to the Chambre de Commerce School's restaurant (I think on l'Abbe Gregoire in the 6th) which also seemed to focus on young French citizens.   Do you have any info on these two schools?

Concerning the school on l'Abbe Gregoire in the 6th:

This school is quite large and has several programs in it, including one catering to foreigners (which I have written about above). That being said this is also a French high school for "metiers" - pofessions. They have programs in everything from boulangerie, patisserie and cuisine to textiles, interior design and a bunch of others - all for those clean-cut french kids. See:

http://www.egf.ccip.fr/presentation.asp

They also offer "formation continue" - adult continuing education for professionals much like the CIA's Greystone campus does.

There is also a very noteworthy cuisine program which we called "Sup" level. I can't find any official web presense for it. It is an elite French spoken-only program for individuals who have a CAP, and/or the culinary experience equivalent of the comis level. It is meant to churn out chefs de parti. Only about 24 students are accepted per year and there is stiff competition - most are 20-something French students. The program is 6 months of school work (in kitchen, and in teaching restaurant) plus 6 months of stage and this goes on for 2 years. I know one graduate of the foreigners program (which I described above) who is going to be doing this program starting this month (she is very gifted and has months of work at Helen Darroze behind her). Her French is passable, but not fluent. She understands and can communicate - this is all she needs.

The program which concerns us (primarily), on egullet, is the Anglophone, foreigner's program. About 24 students are accepted. No prior experience is required and it is built for beginners. The acceptance rate is about 60%, I've been told. I wrote about it above. It is geared to adults (my class ranged from 23 to 50 year olds), not the teenagers you see milling about on the sidewalk in front of the school. The program is held in the same building that teaches hundreds of French teenagers and is funded by the Chamber of Commerce. Yup, there is a teaching restaurant and all the rest I've mentioned above. Keep in mind that the anglophones are going to be in the teaching restaurant kitchen only one day per week and cooks stay in the kitchen, so you may not see them. Also, there are two restaurants at the school, so unless you picked the right restaurant on the right day, and you asked and got a kitchen tour, you will only see French kids. If you really want to see the anglophones at work, call Stephanie Curtis (the communications person for the program) and ask her to hook you up with the right day and place.

There is a (really bad, IMHO) web site concerning the Anglo program:

http://www.egf.ccip.fr/ESCF/english/

If you go by the school again ask for Sebastien de Massard - he is the head chef for the anglo program and/or Stephanie Curtis (American) who handles marketing and other "communincations" tasks for the school. They just moved the program to its own dedicated kitchen and offices (good thing), so you have to be persistent to find them... it is a big place.

I take this opportunity to re-state my opinion that I consider this to be the best professional culinary program in France. (sorry, they get so little press :rolleyes: )

I know they have an open house sometime in the spring...

- Cave Pullum

PS. I know you speak French, my amateur translations above are meant for those who do not.


Edited by CavePullum (log)

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There is also a very noteworthy cuisine program which we called "Sup" level. I can't find any official web presense for it. It is an elite French spoken-only program for individuals who have a CAP, and/or the culinary experience equivalent of the comis level. It is meant to churn out chefs de parti. Only about 24 students are accepted per year and there is stiff competition - most are 20-something French students. The program is 6 months of school work (in kitchen, and in teaching restaurant) plus 6 months of stage and this goes on for 2 years. I know one graduate of the foreigners program (which I described above) who is going to be doing this program starting this month (she is very gifted and has months of work at Helen Darroze behind her). Her French is passable, but not fluent. She understands and can communicate - this is all she needs.

I know they have an open house sometime in the spring...

Cave,

great to meet another ferrandi alumni. Do U know about the pastry course that they offer? Is it as highly regarded as their culinary course? (Any ways to get the exact syllabus taught and hours spent) Or do you have any ferrandi alumni web groups that I could find out more?

I have gotten some info from stephanie via email. But would like to know more exact details about their pastry program which she cant provide over the email.

I do have a sample of their daily schedule, but cant really make out of it.

The 2yr course you mention above is only for french speaking and experience person yeh.

Im currently researching on Ferrandi pastry courses from all sources available. Pls provide any insights possible. (Well, in fact im still comparing them to Bellouet and the FPS and shorter courses)

thanks

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There is also a very noteworthy cuisine program which we called "Sup" level. I can't find any official web presense for it. It is an elite French spoken-only program for individuals who have a CAP, and/or the culinary experience equivalent of the comis level. It is meant to churn out chefs de parti. Only about 24 students are accepted per year and there is stiff competition - most are 20-something French students. The program is 6 months of school work (in kitchen, and in teaching restaurant) plus 6 months of stage and this goes on for 2 years. I know one graduate of the foreigners program (which I described above) who is going to be doing this program starting this month (she is very gifted and has months of work at Helen Darroze behind her). Her French is passable, but not fluent. She understands and can communicate - this is all she needs.

I know they have an open house sometime in the spring...

Cave,

great to meet another ferrandi alumni. Do U know about the pastry course that they offer? Is it as highly regarded as their culinary course? (Any ways to get the exact syllabus taught and hours spent) Or do you have any ferrandi alumni web groups that I could find out more?

I have gotten some info from stephanie via email. But would like to know more exact details about their pastry program which she cant provide over the email.

I do have a sample of their daily schedule, but cant really make out of it.

The 2yr course you mention above is only for french speaking and experience person yeh.

Im currently researching on Ferrandi pastry courses from all sources available. Pls provide any insights possible. (Well, in fact im still comparing them to Bellouet and the FPS and shorter courses)

thanks

There is a dedicated thread to Ferrandi here -> ESCF Ferrandi culinary school.

I am an alumnus of Ferrandi Anglophone Pastry program (attended the 2003/2004 school year). My primary instructor was Didier Averty. He is very skillful and talented; you will be in good hands if he is your instructor. Actually, all of my instructors were the best.

You are going to learn all of the classics of French Pastry. Take a look at the French Professional Pastry series (Vol. I - III) and that's pretty much the kind of stuff you'll learn. The books were written by instructors at the school and it could loosely be described as a syllabus for the pastry program. Even if you decide not to go to Ferrandi, the books are great as a reference.

In our program, we had boulangerie once a week on Friday and cuisine classes once every other Wednesday. Generally, we'd be in the kitchen from about 7:30am to 1pm or so every day. Then in the afternoon, there would be some little pick up class like language or computer work. If you're having trouble making out a sample schedule, why don't you post it here and someone will explain it.

The school is very well connected to the top places in Paris and beyond. If you work hard and do well, you can be placed at some amazing establishments.

Also, I'd say that the school is in a GREAT area of Paris. I have always wanted to live in France and become fluent in French, so it was a good fit for me. If these are not your goals, then consider the French Pastry School in Chicago. I've only had one class there but it seemed like you could have a very similar experience. I don't know about their program of stages and how well they're connected.

You mentioned Bellouet and I think that he has expanded his program since I was in Paris. He's very well respected, so that might be another France option for you.


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Do U know about the pastry course that they offer? Is it as highly regarded as their culinary course? (Any ways to get the exact syllabus taught and hours spent)

I don't have lots of details on the Pat course, other than I know it is very well regarded. Last year I know they had a week (or was it two week?) Pierre Herme workshop that most pastry fans would kill to do. Doubt you'll get that elsewhere.

If the Pat program is at all like the Cuisine program they are going to have different schedules for each day of the week. So a single day's schedule isn't going to tell you much.

Here is what I know about last year's program:

1. It is shorter than the Cuisine program, but still very intense

2. You get a day every two weeks of cuisine, which I think is invaluable for a Pastry student, and a unique feature of the program.

3. You will get good exposure to boulangerie in addition to pastry

If you send me a personal message I will forward your email address to some of last year's pastry folks and ask them to email you ... can't promise anything, but if they have the time, I think they will be happy to answer questions.

If you are in Paris, you should ask Stephanie for a tour. She should be able to arrange a visit with the Pat chef and you'll see the current students in action. You'll be able to ask folks who are in the thick of it questions - invaluable.

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