Tag Archives: culinary schools in France

First stop: Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon

cooking school in a chateau

L’Institut Paul Bocuse

Okay.  On Friday, in five days, I step onto a plane in St Louis to head to Paris.  I arrive in Paris at 6:30 on Saturday and immediately bolt to catch a TGV (the fast train) to Lyon, 2 hours to the southeast.  At 12:30 I meet the other 9 students of my three week intensive class for lunch at the school’s restaurant on the Place Bellecour, Lyon’s main square, on Presque Ile (“almost island” – the peninsula between the Saone and Rhone rivers.  Lyon is called France’s Gastronomic Capital.  It is the home of Paul Bocuse, one of the developers of Nouvelle Cuisine in the 60’s.  The great annual cooking award in France is the Paul Bocuse Award.

The class list arrived last week.  There are 10 students.  I’m the only native English speaker and there’s only one nationality repeat – two men from Holland.  Malaysia, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Uruguay and Japan.  Half men, half women.  Why do I feel as if I’m heading off to my junior year in Madrid, where I threw everything into a suitcase the night before and boarded a plane for a continent where I knew not a soul?

At least they issue us a set of knives, the hat and seven league cooking boots. This must be last year’s class:

Et si la cuisine traditionnelle était un tremplin vers la cuisine contemporaine ? Au-delà d’une initiation aux fondamentaux de la cuisine, ce programme intensif de 3 semaines vous emmène à la découverte de techniques culinaires et des tendances gastronomiques les plus actuelles.

You get that?  Standing at the top of the luge run, shaking off the tension… this is exciting.  Next post from the other side.