There’s a lot to love about French cooking, whether it’s getting creative with recipes, exploring the culture or the simple satisfaction of serving up something delicious.
For aspiring domestic chefs there are few better places to hone your skills and expand your cooking know-how than the world’s culinary capital, Paris.
Practice makes perfect and France offers an abundance of top-class culinary schools catering to those who want to know their Roquefort from their ratatouille. Below we’ll be looking at some of the best options on the menu.
Le Cordon Bleu
Starting off with a cornerstone of the French culinary experience is Le Cordon Bleu (which actually means ‘the Blue Ribbon’).
Founded in 1895, this world-famous Paris-based institution offers a veritable buffet of culinary education and helpfully garnishes all its short courses with tutoring in English via a translator.
Le Cordon Bleu has a wide variety of courses to choose from, with favourites like traditional breadmaking and chocolate workshops, as well as less conventionally ‘French’ options, such as vegetarian cuisine.
For those looking to make living in France more rewarding, Le Cordon Bleu can also teach you how to pair up foods with classic wines, as well as navigate your way around a typical French farmers market to find ingredients.
La Cuisine Paris
Taking French culinary exploration a step further, La Cuisine Paris can provide expat cooks with informative kitchen lessons and ‘foodie’ tours around the capital.
Classes offered by La Cuisine Paris are in English and cover all the bases of French cooking, whatever your desire.
If you have a sweet tooth you can get lessons on making macarons and florentins, while those looking to wow in the kitchen can receive instruction in a sauces masterclass or learn the art of making the perfect soufflé.
Adding a little something extra to this mouth-watering menu, La Cuisine Paris offers all kinds of culinary tours around Paris, whether your taste is in cheese, wine, pastries or all of the above.
Les Coulisses du Chef
Proving that Paris is the heart of French culinary excellence, the next entry on the list is another Parisian school of gastronomy, Les Coulisses du Chef (‘Behind the Scenes with the Chef’).
Founded by Chef Olivier Berté, this company has a variety of choices for those looking to expand their culinary knowledge, all in the convivial company of the chef.
Among the options available at Les Coulisses du Chef are lessons on ‘molecular cuisine’, which merges science and gastronomy, as well as the more traditional French culinary arts such as patisserie.
Keeping up to date with the contemporary, Les Coulisses du Chef also offers cooking classes for those with specific dietary requirements, such as coeliacs.
École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse
École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse is another Paris-based French culinary school operated by a renowned chef, in this case multi-Michelin Star holder Alain Ducasse.
In Monsieur Ducasse’s own words, the school’s aim is to:
‘Open our doors to all cooking enthusiasts and let them get to know, try and understand where the delicious food served to them comes from.’
To that end, the school offers a smorgasbord of choices for aspiring chefs, with hosts giving lessons in English and French.
Infusing all lessons with Monsieur Ducasse’s own style of cooking, students can learn pastry-making and various technical skills such as how to prepare meats.
Lesson subjects vary depending on when you visit, so it’s worth browsing all the options to find courses that best match your culinary interests.
L’Atelier des Sens
Last but certainly not least on the list, L’Atelier des Sens (‘The Workshop of the Senses’) rounds off an excellent selection of French culinary schools for UK expats.
Alongside three locations in Paris, L’Atelier des Sens also offers lessons in the city of Lyon; all four locations feature English-spoken courses for those not well versed in Francais.
Fans of French cooking will find all their needs catered for with the available lessons, which include market shopping trips, immersive kitchen experiences and even parent-child patisserie workshops.
So, if you were looking for an extra little reason to move to France, improving your culinary capabilities is certainly a good one, and if you’re hungry to learn why not take a lesson from the masters?