Taking a class at Le Cordon Bleu, the temple of French cuisine and the training ground of our beloved Julia, has been a dream of mine for decades, but in previous trips to Paris there has never been enough time. The luxury of having a month in the City of Light (and food) allowed me to reach my goal at last. I booked three months in advance, and even so I only managed to score a seat for a morning demonstration, not a hands-on class. There are a lot of us wanna-be’s and foodies out there!
The school was just a few blocks from our apartment, but I was so excited that we walked the route a few days early. Holy citrus zester, I didn’t want to be late. My six-year-old first-day-of-school behavior laying out my clothes and setting the alarm made Tim laugh. He’s a patient man and thank God he really loves to make me happy.
As I rounded the corner early on the big day, young people in chef’s togs were marching into the building clutching their leather knife rolls. More than a soupçon of envy crossed my mind, and although my list of regrets is pretty short, I think that if I could have a do-over I would find a way to make my living in the kitchen. Being a food professional is just about the coolest thing I can think of!
Soon I was in the stadium theater watching assistants scurry to ready the mise en place for chef, who entered to enthusiastic applause. He was informative and hilarious, particularly when he mimed a duck being force-fed to enlarge its liver. He shook his head in disbelief that California has outlawed such a practice. No comment from someone whose husband had asked, as we strolled to our apartment with a hot baguette the night before, “Do we have enough paté for to get through tonight, honey, or should we stop at the duck store?” This, from a former liver-hater! And yes, there is a little store in the 15th, our neighborhood, that sells nothing but duck in all its delicious forms.
Chef prepared an entire meal for us from appetizer to dessert and after each production we were treated to tastes. It was like receiving communion in a culinary cathedral. If you’d like to know more about what I learned that day, please make a comment on this website and I’ll be happy to send you my notes.
Of course I made a stop at the tiny school store where I purchased the best (and most expensive) apron I’ve ever owned. It wraps all the way around and has lots of pockets. I feel terribly grand and official wearing it. Of course, I offered to show off some of my new techniques, but my darling husband took me out to dinner instead, just to celebrate my big day. I am a lucky woman.