A taste of what's to comeThe creme de la creme cooking school offers
tasty Christmas delights just in time for the holidays
and prepares to open its doors to students next year
Story by PROF BRANFORD JAMES JOHNSON
Its new home, which is presently under construction, will be in the spacious multi-story Dusit Thani Building next door to the Dusit Thani Hotel on Rama IV.
The Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Thailand Academy of World Cuisine (LCBD) represents a joint effort with the luxury Thai hotel group. The French cooking company has 26 culinary and business management schools in more than 15 countries and has offered elite culinary courses internationally for a millennium.
The opening of Le Cordon Bleu in Bangkok is in response to a surging demand locally for high quality culinary arts instruction and hospitality training, and the revered 100-year-old school is poised to become the region's premier culinary arts and hospitality education and training centre.
L'Ordre des Chevaliers
The phrase Cordon Bleu originates from L'Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint Esprit, an elite group of French knights that was created in 1578. Each member of the order was awarded the Cross of the Holy Spirit. The cross hung from a bright blue ribbon, which carried its own intrinsic symbolism of ``the highest and the best''. These knights became legendary for their spectacular feasts that were also called ``cordon bleu''. Needless to say, such extravagances ended with the French Revolution, but the blue ribbon has remained synonymous with exquisite culinary delights ever since.
The classic cycle
While each Cordon Bleu school offers a specialised list of short cooking courses that reflect local demands and seasonal ingredients, the ``Classic Cycle'' is taught at each of its schools.
The Classic Cycle consists of six ten-week courses: three courses in ``cuisine'' and three courses in ifpaaci tisserienf or pastry and cakes made in the French style. Depending on its context, cuisine can mean cooking, culinary art or kitchen, and includes a specific set of cooking traditions and practices, often associated with a certain place or region. Each successfully completed course leads to a certificate at a basic, intermediate, or advanced level.
Le Grand Diplome
Students who complete all three levels in the same field receive the Diplome de Cuisine or the Diplome de Patisserie. Those who complete all six courses are granted the Grand Diplome, which is one of the few culinary credentials that signifies that the holder has mastered the fundamentals of culinary and pastry techniques. Courses will be taught in English by French Master Chefs and translated into Thai by local chefs or assistants. Applicants who are neither native Thai or native English speakers are required to sit for the LCBD placement test, or present a Toefl score of 475 or an Ielts score of 4.5 or above. Classes start in January, April, July and October 2007. Course fees are about 150,000 baht each, plus incidentals, such as insurance, uniform, and application fee. Your personal toolkit will cost 20,000 baht.
Master Chef at work
To promote the courses and the school, the Dusit Executive Development Center organised a patisserie demonstration recently at the Rama IV location of the Dusit Thani Hotel. The featured Master Chef Instructor was Monsieur Fabrice Danniel of Paris. Chock-full of degrees, certificates, awards and blue ribbons, Fabrice is possessed with French charms and an inviting personality, which makes him a joy to watch while he tells jokes during his cooking demonstrations. Despite his heavy training as a chef, you can tell at once that he is really a teacher at heart, and that he takes pride in making the most intricate techniques easy for his student-audience to understand.
During the demonstration, he dazzled us with his just-in-time-for-Christmas preparations of (1) ginger bread with grapefruit covered with a lemon glaze topping; and (2) petite chocolate brownies covered in scrumptious chocolate raspberry cream and ornate pre-molded gold-gilded chocolate and raspberry objets d' art. The presentation by Monsieur Fabrice was nearly flawless as he demonstrated a myriad of techniques, utensils, and styles, all with panache and savoir fair. Although, his English is very good, I often found it a bit easier to follow the translations in Thai by his pleasant assistant than his charming French accent.
Students were intermittently allowed to sample bits and pieces of the finished pastries. They were, indeed, delicious! But the pieces were very small (e.g., a teaspoon-sized piece of chocolate brownie). Next time, maybe they will offer the students a buffet of the delicacies prepared by the master chef instructor. Voila!
For more information on Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools, visit http://www.cordonbleu.edu/ ; for more information on the courses in Bangkok, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02-200-9000 ext 2053.
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Last modified: December 22, 2006