I have always loved cooking. I have even been told in the past that going to culinary school might have even been a possibility for me. Even though I never chose to go in that direction, I always loved learning about cooking and about food. Food for me is something that brings forth memories and good feelings and for me, this is something that I want my own kids to experience in their lives too. With that being said, the Hundred-Foot Journey movie was a perfect movie that I connected with, as it shares the story of family and how food connected the family together. While my own experience is different that that of the movie, it is still important for me to create those experiences for my family as well.
After watching the Hundred-Foot Journey movie, the group of bloggers that I was with all had the opportunity to go to Le Cordon Bleu Hollywood Campus to learn about the school but also to have the experience to be taught and to experience the tastes, flavors and more of Indian/French cuisine. This was the perfect end to a great experience. The Hundred-Foot Journey talks about how every bite takes you home. For me, when I think about this, I think about meatloaf. Whenever I have meatloaf, I am always taken back to being a child with my mom in the kitchen. This is just one example, as there are other foods that do this too, but meatloaf does it every time.
In walking into Le Cordon Bleu, I found it to be very professional looking. As a higher education professional, I am always looking at this when I walk in and first impressions count. While I had never been in a culinary arts school before, I have been in many higher education institutions, and I have to say that this place was a great mix of professional and practical. The school had everything that you would expect that a culinary school would have and more. The person that we met with was Chef Chanel Martinez, one of the lead Chef instructors and from the resume that she shared of herself, you can see why she is there teaching. That being said, she was also SO helpful and knowledgeable and you can tell how passionate she is for what they do at Le Cordon Bleu.
After a short tour, we had the opportunity to try a few dishes (appetizers) while we were instructed by another chef about the steps that we would take to make our main course, a Parisian Mumbai Salad (See below Recipe). The instructor was fun, energetic, and instructed well and after eating a bit and some final instructions we paired up and were on our way. Drew Bennett (benspark.com) and I partnered up and started to divvy up responsibilities. We had a few of the students helping us, but Drew and I were doing pretty well ourselves (actually there were even a few times when we asked for clarifications and I think we got leaded in the wrong direction, but oh well, the salads were still great).
The setting in which we cooked was amazing. I was in awe of the professional environment and actually would have loved to have some of the same equipment in my own home (to a lesser degree of course). The smells, flavors, etc, all brought forth memories of the past. However, I think the smell of cardamon seeds will forever now be linked to this experience.
After taking the time to cut fruit, marinate and cook chicken, make salad dressing from scratch and create the salad itself (with much flair I must admit) we were able to sit does to enjoy the fruits of our labors. The flavor was amazing and even the presentation was much more that I would have expected (as I usually do not worry about this at home – but it does make a BIG difference).
After dinner we were able to make a Chai Creme Brulee (See below for recipe). I had never made this, or used the heat source to create the crispy top like you see in restaurants. We added out sugar to the top of this and flame on and we were off. The flame is a bit scary at first especially with my history with fire, but I did a great job and my teacher even commented on how well I did in the end, so I was very proud of my achievement.
In the end I have to say that I loved this experience. I was so impressed with the facilities and the instructors at Le Cordon Bleu. After leaving this experience I would have to say that I would have no qualms in recommending the school to anyone interested in pursuing their culinary arts dream! At the same time I have to say that if I ever smell cardamon or curry again it will definitely bring me back to this experience! Food does such an amazing job at bringing you
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