Le Cordon Bleu

Life As A Culinary Student at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris

June 30, 2013

If you’re following me on Instagram, you probably already know that I began my Intermediate Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris about 2 weeks ago. I’m so excited about being back at school and hope to make the most of my time here, after having spent a wonderful 3 months each at LCB Paris (Basic Cuisine) and LCB London (Basic Pastry) last year. This time, I’ve decided to document each week of the course so that I can share my progress and stories with all of you. I’ve got Week 1 and Week 2 lined up already, and hope to post about my experience through the week over the weekend.

So, to begin, some notes from the Métro on my way to school on Day 1:

Today is my first day at LCB, all over again.

As excited as I was about today, I waited till the nth hour to pull out my whites from the cellar and to pack my knives. I still need to hone them before practicals.

I also hope that I find some truly talented people in my class who take food seriously. Today is going to be a long day with a 4 hour lunch break (how French). My stop is almost here – gotta go!


Week 1 at Le Cordon Bleu took off with a bang. We had back-to-back classes. I’d leave home at 7:30AM and only return by 10:30PM – 10 if I were lucky and the classes got over on time.

Coming back to school after a year was also a wee bit strange. I was worried about being rusty and about working alongside new classmates. I forgot where the baking paper was kept and that we were supposed to wash our own serving plates, but I was lucky enough to have my chefs from Basic for my first few practicals and they helped me settle in.

I’m really liking Intermediate Cuisine and it does feel like a step up from Basic where the focus was on technique. The recipes now are a bit more complex as we have to do a lot more tasks in the same amount of time. Another difference is that regional French cuisine is a big part of Intermediate – we’ve covered Normandy and Burgundy so far.

One of the most delicious things we made this week was a fish stew – packed with crayfish, scallops, langoustine and sole, thickened with cream and flavored with dry cider. I marked that recipe with several stars and can’t wait to make it when scallops are back in season (we used Canadian scallops). As far as honing my technique goes, trussing a bird is something I need to work on because I don’t do that very often and to add to that we’re trussing using an entirely different technique. I wasn’t happy with how I trussed my guinea fowl this week – it didn’t hold the bird as snugly as I would have liked.

Although it’s just been a week, I’ve established that Chef Poupard is my favourite chef. He doesn’t just go straight on to the demonstration like most other chefs but always begins by bringing out a map of France and goes into the details about the regional cuisine, wine and produce which is great because I have hardly travelled around in France outside of Paris.

I also really like my classmates – a nice bunch of cooks, most wanting to work as chefs unlike Basic where we also have housewives, hobbyists and bankers on sabbatical.

Have a look at the photos of what we made on Instagram!

PS: Here’s what Day 1 felt like, more than a year ago.

PPS: If you’re using Google Reader, you should switch to Feedly (just one click!) before they shut down tomorrow.


  • Reply Pallavi Purani July 1, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    All the best girl.

  • Reply Cams July 5, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    This is very cool, my father is in culinary school as well and he describes his days as being just as long and busy but he sounds like he loves it too. I’m going to recommend your blog to him. The sacrifices you make to prepare food that you love … and we love to eat! lol. Best of luck.

  • Reply Salomeh July 11, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    My dream is go study at LCB Paris. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us readers and for being a shinning example that dreams do come true. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

  • Reply Week 4: Life As A Culinary Student | The Purple Foodie July 22, 2013 at 12:34 AM

    […] Read the previous weeks at Le Cordon Bleu: Week 3 Week 2 Week 1 […]

  • Reply Laavy July 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Congratulations Shaheen !! Wishing you all success in Le Cordon Blue :)

  • Reply Friday Favorites | The Vanilla Bean September 6, 2013 at 10:33 AM

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  • Reply MichaelaWanders September 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    So glad I found your blog! I am considering culinary school after graduation, and maybe le cordon bleu-Madrid. Nice to hear about your experiences!

  • Reply Amber October 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    I really love your blog! I am a South African student and am looking for study options. I will need to get a lot more money before I can study at LCB and was wondering if you reccommend getting a scholarship, which do you know of?

    Kind regards

    • Reply Shaheen October 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      Hi Amber – I have an entire post on how to win a scholarship to Le Cordon Bleu that you might find helpful. All the best!

      • Reply Alice August 15, 2016 at 11:10 PM

        Hi Shaheen,

        Thanks for a wonderful blog! Does this “how to win a scholarship” post still exist? I’m really keen to read it but the links give an error message. If not- do you have any advice you could share here?

  • Reply bellinda August 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Heyy, i’ve been wondering, can you work while ur studying there?

    • Reply Shaheen August 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      You can, but it’s not always feasible with the erratic school schedule. Officially, on a student visa, you can work 60% of the time (21 hours per week).

  • Reply Lahari October 7, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Hi, i was wondering if getting into Le Cordon Bleu is toug for international students..? I’m from India and it’s my dream to get into Cordon Bleu

  • Reply Joey December 27, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    Hello Shaheen

    What do you think about the Boulangerie Diploma on Paris campus?

    Are they worth to take make me as an artisan baker?

    Thank you.

    • Reply Shaheen December 27, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      Hi Joey, I don’t know much about the boulangerie diploma. I would like to know more myself!

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  • Reply Ivar Winkel July 19, 2016 at 11:02 PM


    I have a question regarding the schedule at LCB, my girlfriend is planning to start classes at the pastry program in Januari and is trying to combine this with a job a an Au Pair with a family. The thing is, the work she has to do with the family ends around 08:45 in the morning and starts again around 16;00. Can you tell me if there are a lot of classes which start very early in the morning or go on until late in the evening? In other words, do you think this program can be combined with a job a Au Pair?

    Hope you have the awnser!

    Best Regards

    • Reply Shaheen July 25, 2016 at 3:42 PM

      Hi Ivar, Lots of classes at LCB start at 8:30 , and some even as late as 18:30 so it might not work with this family. I also recommend checking with the school for the schedule because things might have changed since moving to the new building. That’s not to say she cannot work as an Au Pair on the side. She just needs to pick a more flexible family who are made aware of the school schedule. The French especially love English speaking au pairs for their kids. A friend of mine worked as an Au Pair with a family while studying at LCB.

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