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Le Cordon Bleu - The Blue Ribbon
I love to cook. It is a skill that allows artistic and culinary creativity. Each time I cook something, I am thinking about making it perfect. I think about the flavors as well as the color, texture and how it looks on the plate. I want the smell and taste to infiltrate the senses so that my guests or family can truly enjoy the entire meal.
Food is love in my family. Our holidays are centered around the meals, each member bringing a dish to add to the table. The cooks in my family enjoy challenging each other so we have a smorgasbord of appetizers, olives, cheeses, home-made Sangria, Whisky Sour Slushes. We start with appetizers while we graze and catch up, tell jokes and stories. Then we move on to the main event, most of us helping to prepare the final meal around the kitchen island.
Cooking is important in my family and always has been. I have seriously considered going to a culinary arts school. I was invited to attend media night at Le Cordon Bleu in my area recently so I couldn't resist the temptation. I was thrilled and my mouth was already watering!
A Look in the KitchensClick thumbnail to view full-size
Le Cordon Bleu, St. Peters
I attended media night with author and writer Christopher Reilly who regularly contributes to Alive Magazine. They offered a tour of the school and culinary delectables prepared by the instructors and students.
Christopher and I hooked up with Brian and Mitchell for the grand tour. Brian is a senior student at Le Cordon Bleu and Mitchell is his partner in crime. I was so excited that we got them alone! I knew I could be pretty liberal with the questioning. I wanted to find out the nitty gritty about attending Le Cordon Bleu.
"Do you love it?" I asked them while we toured Kitchen 1 where all the bread action happens.
Mitchell blushed, "I do love it."
Brian, the confident senior, also admitted he loves attending Le Cordon Bleu. He took pride in showing us the class rooms, answering our questions which proved to me they were both in their element.
"What's the worst kitchen, "faux pas" you have ever endured?" I wanted to know.
Brian slapped his hands over his eyes and buckled with laughter. Mitchell blushed again and I watched a knowing sort of look pass between them.
"Do tell!" I egged them on. "Brian half laughed and half explained how working as a team one of them misread an ingredient on the whiteboard. The team knew they had a problem when they checked the oven and found small, balls of hard dough. Everyone else had giant, puffy balls. They were embarrassed but also amused about their own mistake.
"It was the salt. We added way too much salt."
Some lessons are learned the hard way but it was obvious to me that neither one of those cooks would ever underestimate the result of over salting.
"Tell me," I begged, "are there any cooks that just can't cook no matter how many classes they take?"
Both students began to laugh. "Yes. They keep on coming and trying though."
I expected this answer. While many people attend art school - it doesn't necessarily mean they will become a well known, or great artist. Le Cordon Bleu, is a cooking school that teaches the fine art of all aspects of cooking food. They teach everything from pairing wines to selecting and serving dishes that are appealing and prepared properly.
The Blue Ribbon of Fine Cooking
Le Cordon Bleu first opened it's doors in Paris, France in 1895 and has been turning out the finest culinary artists since then. Julia Childs attended Le Cordon Bleu as well as other known greats such as Ming Tsai, and Giada De Laurentiis. Gaston Acurio
Le Cordon Bleu has instructors that offer students a chance to learn the skills necessary to cook among the stars of gastronomy. Some of them excel, some of them falter and some of them outshine the competition because they have talent and creativity that is personal genius. Those are the Ming Tsai's, Julia Child's and Giada's.
The students at Le Cordon Bleu St. Peters were proud of the food they cooked. They served hors d'oeuvres of a magnificent truffle popcorn! I swiped an appetizer of perfectly cooked braised pork served on top of a bed of fried rice noodles and garnished with scallions. The next time she passed by I wanted to take the whole tray and just give one back to her. It was the bomb.
I asked a group of about 30 students if they watched my favorite cooking show, Top Chef. Several of them raised their hands or said, "when I'm not cooking!" Who wants to be on the next Top Chef I asked? Andrew May's hand shot up. I love rooting for a home boy so lets give it up to Andrew! I hope to see you on Top Chef in an upcoming season!
The Next Top Chef?
Showcasing Artistic TalentClick thumbnail to view full-size
Want to Rise to the Challenge?
Interested in Attending a Cordon Bleu?
If you have a passion for fine food and cooking you may be a great candidate for Le Cordon Bleu. They offer classes that specialize in different culinary techniques to the prestigious "Grand Diplôme."
Each Le Cordon Bleu across the nation works with and gives to the communities where they are rooted. St. Peters teamed up with a student who connected them with local farmers to use all the pumpkins left over from Halloween to produce pumpkin puree to help feed the homeless.
I am also excited that Le Cordon Bleu are the official caterers for the St. Louis Rams. You might see their students cooking and serving magic to the crowd at our stadium.
I am proud to live in a community where so many entities work together to utilize our resources collectively. Their director closed with a few words and said his hope was to change the life of one student, who would change one family and in turn change the world to make it a better place. A goal well worth pursuing.
"Food brings people together on many levels. It's nourishment of the soul and body; it's truly love." ~Giada De Laurentiis