With a history dating back to 1895, Le Cordon Bleu needs no introduction in the world of culinary arts. Its legendary reputation has placed it in a class of its own, globally recognised for its embodiment of the spirit of French cuisine and culture. To many in the culinary arts and restaurant management field, Le Cordon Bleu provides the ultimate training and mastery of classic French culinary skills.
Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia was established a few years ago in the Sunway University Campus in Bandar Sunway. Since January 2012, Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia has applied its Blue Ribbon’s distinctive teaching methodology in their Certificate and Diploma programs. The programs offer intensive and comprehensive training in French culinary techniques and Patisserie.
Recently I had an opportunity to participate in a rare weekend workshop in the Sunway Le Cordon Bleu School. The 2-day workshop was a great eye-opener on how the school is run and gave me a practical feel of what it’s like to be a student in this prestigious international culinary institute.
First of all, even before going for the class, I was advised of some of the rules, for example: wear covered shoes, long pants/skirts, no jewellery (not even ear studs!) or watch is allowed and long hair must be tied up. Once I was in the kitchen, I was given an apron, hair net and a chef’s cap.
The kitchen is fitted with state-of-the art equipment (and there are quite a number of these kitchens there!). Commercial grade ovens, refrigerators, freezers, induction cookers and just about any cooking utensil are available, with a place and purpose for everything. Everything is kept neatly in the huge kitchen.
Our instructor for the 2-day workshop was Chef Sapna Anand, a famous cookbook author and an alumni of Le Cordon Bleu. She’s very meticulous and methodical in her instructions with lots of patience for the students. She couldn’t emphasise enough that at Le Cordon Bleu, students are taught the “techniques” and not the recipes.
The recipes given to us had only the ingredients listed out. No cooking instructions were included. Students have to take down notes on how to execute the recipe based on their observation and understanding during the instructor’s demonstration.
Chef Sapna taught us the classic short crust pastry and this was used in the 2 recipes (with slight adaptations) done over the weekend. On the first day we did a Lightly Spiced Chicken Chestnut Mushroom Tart and the next day, we did a Passionfruit Raspberry Tart.
The making of “Lightly Spiced Chicken Chestnut Mushroom Tart”
It’s fun observing how the other participants went about working on the recipes. We had lots of help from Chef Sapna herself and several assistants (students of the institute) during the classes. The student assistants helped us with washing up, putting the tarts to bake in the huge ovens and then placing them in the blast freezers to chill them – all these menial tasks will actually have to be done by yourself if you are a student there. Keeping the kitchen spick and span is part of the training.
Let’s get cooking!
Chef Sapna disbursed lots of useful culinary tips during the classes. Tips like “season as you go!”, “beat up the eggs before you start rubbing the butter into the flour” and “remember to use the right chopping board for vegetables or chicken” (they are all colour coded!).
Listen and watch!
How my Passionfruit Raspberry Tart turned out – not bad eh?
Passionfruit Raspberry Tart plated by Chef Sapna with her favourite gold pieces!
I didn’t have much problem baking my tarts – they turned out quite beautifully and of course, they were delicious. Both the tarts were polished off at home in no time.
If you are interested to pursue a career in culinary arts, Le Cordon Bleu will give you that invaluable experience, grounding and impeccable training. Mind you, their programs are intensive. Whether you are a new learner, established professional or intend to switch careers to the culinary or restaurant business, Le Cordon Bleu’s professional culinary programs is something to consider.
For more information on their programs, check out their website here.