I spoke at the graduation ceremony of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris yesterday, at the ultra posh Cercle d’Union in the 8th arrondissment here. It was a great, if surreal experience. Just two and a half years ago, I was in the audience. Now there I was giving the keynote speech.
The best part of the event was watching all the students get their degrees, heading on the stagewith their diplomas along with the chefs, beaming. As usual, there were students in formal dress from their countries, including full kimonos for students from Japan. One of my favorites was Hessa from Bahrain, who earned a grand diplome (both patisserie and cuisine), whom I spoke to before and afterward. She was absolutely dazzling.
It was great hearing what the graduates planned to do with their training. They were a focused bunch. The majority already had internships with high-end establishment they were heading to, and a few already had jobs lined up.
I also got a chance to meet with the chefs from the book, including the Gray Chef (pictured) and Chef Sauvage. One of them, named Chef Dufour in the book but Chef Didier Chantefort in real life, announced that he was leaving the school during the ceremony. He got a standing ovation from the students, and from me, too.