Saturday, 27 September 2014

Le Cordon Bleu - induction day

After what felt like eons, induction day at Le Cordon Bleu FINALLY arrived! After very little sleep (Sleep?! I was far too excited to sleep), I got up, showered and got ready for the first day of my new life as a pastry chef in training. Unsure of the 'casual' dress code, and airing on the side of caution, I popped on a little dress and flat boots, made myself a cup of tea in my new Keep Cup and then left on my 45 minute walk across London to Bloomsbury Square, Holborn. 

Although a little grey outside, nothing could dampen my spirits, I was about to enrolled as a student at the finest culinary school in the world! So when I spilt my tea down my front I reminded myself of this and quickly stopped to remove the stain. Typical.

Along the canal I strode with a spring in my step, passing runners, cyclists and other fellow commuters, all who were probably off to do what I was doing only a matter of days ago. I'm so happy that I wasn't one of them however. My days of sitting at a desk, staring into a screen are over for now. 

When I finally arrived at Bloomsbury Square, I was 25 minutes early. I sat in the park, staring up at the flag hanging from the wall of the school, my stomach full of excitement and butterflies. I spotted a few fellow newbies taking pictures and noticed one trying, and by the expression on her face at looking at her phone, failing to take a selfie. She spotted me and came running over "I'm new", she gushed with delight, "would you take my picture please, and make sure to get the whole logo in!" I of course obliged. After taking a few pictures she came over to access and promptly swiped both hers and my phone from my hand. "Your turn!" I'm not a huge fan of a photo but as it was the first day of school I went for it. 

We then got chatting and walked through the school gates for the first time together. Ky is from Thailand and enrolled on the basic culinary course in the hope to learn all she needs to know in order to set up a cafe in Bangkok!

In reception we met may other students, eager for the day to begin. Each student was then called upon and asked to go to various rooms throughout the school. I was sent to one of the demo rooms where I met 200 plus other patissieres in the making! A quick scan of the room told me that I was in the majority, I clocked about three men - all who looked terrified, I also noticed that at 5ft 4 I was one of the tallest. Very strange indeed having been used to being the small one for most of my life. Age was my next observation - yup, everyone looked about 20, making me the oldest. I then spotted a yummy mummy or 3 and felt a little better. And finally, what a mix of races and cultures! The school boasts students from over 60 countries and this was clear to see. I was stood behind a German girl, next to a Danish girl and in front of a lady from Brazil! How wonderful to meet people from all over the world under these circumstance. I look forward to talking to them all and to hearing their stories! 

I joined a very long queue which snaked along the room - we were about to be presented with our uniforms and knife set. I felt like Harry Potter waiting to be presented with his wand or the worst witch waiting for her pristine black kitten! 

When I made it to the front, I was presented with a huge plastic bag full of various items. Hats, aprons, tea towels, oven cloths, trousers, jackets and much more. We were then asked to be seated and given a specific row - I was asked to sit on row 1. Alone! I looked behind me at the 200 other students and considered breaking away from my assigned seat and lonely row and then thought better of it. After all I had the best view of the stage and that meant I wouldn't miss a thing. 

The head mistress was first to come on stage and welcome us. Ms Gray had a warm, comforting tone and wore pearls so naturally I fell in love with her immediately. She started by telling us that the course we'd chosen was a tough one but that we'd benefit immensely from the experience - I was hanging on her every word. She then went on to talk about punctuality and its importance. Le Cordon Bleu do not tolerate unnecessary or unexplained absences, unlike other higher education establishments, at LCB students are more than just a number. You will be missed therefore you must attend every session or risk failing or at worst, dismissal. 

Her points regarding punctuality reinforced my decision to avoid public transport whilst living in London. A brave decision and one my feet aren't currently thanking me for, but just imagine the horror of being trapped in a tube, underground, unable to re surface when you are supposed to be creating a suflet! So, I'm sticking by my decision. No public transport unless it's taking me home. 

Next we were issued with our timetables which frankly you need some sort of degree in coding to crack! Fingers crossed I've got it and will be in the right place at the right time. I'll soon find out - on Wednesday. That's right, my first class isn't until Wednesday and then it's straight in at the deep end with two classes every day and a full day followed by an exam on Saturday! It sounds intense and I cannot wait. 

Following a tour of the school and quick dash to the fire meeting point, it was time to find our lockers and try on our uniforms. I was dubious as to how an extra small could possibly fit me as well as the other tiny girls and quickly went into panic thinking I'd ordered the wrong size. I hadn't. The extra small is still too big for me and my trousers are currently with the tailor having about a foot chopped off the legs. I may feel like the tallest in my class but the trousers say otherwise. I think they must be based upon the vital statistics of a super model. 

At the end of the day we were told to take our uniforms home, wash them, press them and label them so that, my friends, is exactly what I'm doing. I'm having a wild night in with a glass of wine, a needle and thread and a rom com. One down, and abut 15 more labels to go...

And so the wait continues. Wednesday can't come quick enough! 

*Please note that the views I express are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my place of study* 


  1. What a wonderful journey that lies ahead for you. I'm rather envious as I usually am when people take up classes at prestigious cookery schools like Le Cordon Bleu and others. I'm sure the 45 min walk each day will keep you fit and awake for the strenuous foodie fun days.

    Do remember to pace yourself with these blog posts and don't feel that you have to let us know your goings on every day, even though, I for one, will want to know everything about it. x

    1. How wonderful to know that someone other than my Mum has read my blog! I'm glad you've enjoyed the contents so far. The 45 min each way walk is so far doing me good. I've rewarded myself with macarons to maintain my blood sugar levels ;o) Thanks for the advise - I've decided to post each weekend, be that Saturday or Sunday. It's a great way for me to recap and stay on top of what's about to be a very steep learning curve! Thank you for your support, Niki x