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‘I didn’t consider anywhere else’: studying at top culinary school Ferrandi Paris

A career in the culinary world is a pipe dream for many. But for those with the passion and determination to make it a reality, Ferrandi Paris is a clear choice.

'I didn't consider anywhere else': studying at top culinary school Ferrandi Paris
Photo: Ferrandi Paris

Paris has quite the reputation among foodies.

“It’s the culinary capital of the world,” exclaims pastry chef Jacek Malarski. “I knew I had to study there.”

Jacek had been running a little pastry shop in Poland with his partner, but he wanted to take his baking to the next level.

“I would visit Paris from time to time, and just gaze at the beautiful pastries in the shops, wondering how they did it,” he recalls. “I bought books and tried to replicate it, but it was impossible.”

Bruce Sherman, who graduated from the school over 20 years ago was also drawn to Paris.

“Where I come from in America, food is not so much a part of the culture. In Europe, in France, food is primary, essential, to life,” Bruce tells The Local. “I started to realise I didn’t need to pursue what I was brought up to do, and that I should follow my heart and soul.”

His heart and soul led him to the same place Jacek’s research did: Ferrandi.

Ferrandi Paris is one of France's most prestigious culinary schools, offering professional training not just in the primary culinary arts but also in restaurant management, F&B and hospitality management. This year the legendary school is launching its Bachelor and Master degrees in hospitality management (partially in English, partially in French).

Jacek and Bruce enrolled in two of the school’s famous Intensive Professional Programmes in English: Jacek in French Pastry and Bruce in French Cuisine, which now are both five-month programmes followed by three-month internships.

Ferrandi Paris graduates Bruce Sherman (l) and Jacek Malarski (r). Photos: Ferrandi Paris

“I didn't consider anywhere else,” Jacek says. “All my research and all opinions indicated that Ferrandi was the best.”

Jacek started out in Poland as a struggling actor. Bruce, with a degree in economics and business, had a top career in the financial world.

But neither was prepared for the intensity of culinary school.

“The sheer quantity of recipes and learning that occurred in such a short period of time – it was intense!” Jacek exclaims. “It completely changed how I thought about pastry and gastronomy.”

“The course was critical for making me who I am today,” agrees Bruce, now a full-fledged chef who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, North Pond, in Chicago.

But the two chefs learned a lot more than just how to cook at Ferrandi.

Find out more about how to enrol at Ferrandi Paris

“We learned everything – even simple things such as the structure of the restaurant,” Bruce explains. “Being a chef isn’t just the cooking – you start prepping before service, and you finish once you’ve cleaned up and turned the lights off.”

Jacek agrees.

“We were not only taught how to make cakes, but also how to organise, how to think, and how to run companies,” he says. “In fact, after I graduated my professor came to Poland to help me run my company – that shows the dedication on his part!”

Bruce recalls his amazement at the wealth of opportunities available at Ferrandi, and the unparalleled expertise apparent in each department.

“There were entire departments devoted to specialties,” he says. “There was such a diversity. It really allows students to dive deep.”

The sentiments of Ferrandi alumni Bruce and Jacek are echoed by student Emma Le Sellier de Chezelles, currently enrolled in the Hospitality Management programme.

“There’s a great spirit at Ferrandi, because everyone here has the same passion for food, and passion for the French way,” she explains.

As part of all three programmes, students are required to undertake internships. Bruce worked at three different places to gain insight in different areas.

“It was amazing to see a restaurant operate at a nuts and bolts level. I witnessed exceptional creativity but also a typical French dedication – the chefs were breaking their backs in order to make things work,” Bruce recalls.

Emma meanwhile, has landed internships in both Paris and London.

“The school is very well-connected which allows us to be challenged in new ways and experience new things,” she says.

Jacek completed his internship at a well-known patisserie in Paris, specifically recommended by his professor to suit his goals and needs.

Learn more about studying at Ferrandi Paris

“It was superb,” he says. “It made me realise even more that this is my passion.”

Nurturing passion is perhaps what Ferrandi does best. The school allows students to delve deep into what really interests them and turn dreams into reality. Indeed, 90 percent of graduates land jobs within six months after graduation and more and more are launching their own businesses both in France and internationally.

Jacek, who runs one of the best pastry companies in Poland, and Bruce, with his Michelin restaurant, are not exceptions – they're the norm.

“Ferrandi was a thousand times better than I could have imagined,” Jacek says. “I came back from my education refreshed and inspired, and three years later, I still feel the same energy.”

“I would recommend Ferrandi to everyone – to anyone who is serious about a career in the culinary world,” he continues.

With the development of tourism and the food/restaurant industry worldwide, there has been an exponential growth in job opportunities. And with the new programmes at Ferrandi Paris in the works, there have never been more opportunities for foodies from around the world to achieve their goals.

Click here for more more information about Ferrandi Paris

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Ferrandi Paris.

 

FOOD & DRINK

RANKED: The 11 worst food crimes you can commit according to Italians

From fruity pizza toppings to spaghetti bolognese, an international study has revealed which of the most common 'crimes' against Italian cuisine are seen as most and least offensive.

Pasta with sauce on top and vegetables on the side.
The Italian food police are on their way. Photo: logan jeffrey on Unsplash

It turns out that putting cream in carbonara is not actually the worst thing you could do when holding a dinner party for Italian friends.

And, while not ideal, neither is snapping your spaghetti before cooking it, or even serving it as a side dish.

The many unwritten rules around eating and drinking in Italy are often baffling to foreigners, while Italians themselves are famous for raging against what they see as “disgusting” interpretations of classic dishes.

READ ALSO: Seven surprising Italian food rules foreigners fall foul of

But in Italy, some of these food-related faux pas are viewed as far more upsetting than others, according to the results of a international study published by YouGov.

At the end of last year, researchers compiled a list of 19 ways in which foreigners are often accused of abusing Italian cuisine and asked people in 17 countries, including Italy, whether each was acceptable or unacceptable.

Of these, eight culinary practices were judged as being either fairly acceptable or divisive by Italian survey respondents.

Eating pizza at lunchtime instead of in the evening was deemed wrong by only a minority of Italians; while many also reserved judgement on people combining Bolognese sauce or ragù with spaghetti – which is famously not the done thing in Bologna.

Putting sauce on top of pasta, as opposed to serving the pasta coated in the sauce, meanwhile, was seen as mildly controversial.

However, the majority deemed 11 of the listed transgressions to be completely out of order, issuing a clear warning against certain habits which are widespread outside the country – and which, for the most part, were not seen as problematic by the majority of respondents in other countries surveyed.

Here’s the list of the very worst crimes against Italian food according to the study – ranked from the offences seen as deeply disturbing to those deemed slightly less terrible.

1. Putting ketchup on pasta – this was by far the most distressing item on the list according to Italians, scoring -82. It was one of only two food crimes on the list that Americans also deemed unacceptable (-48), with Spaniards similarly against (-46). However, in 11 countries people said this was perfectly fine, with Indonesians (+76) and Hong Kongers (+79) the most enthusiastic. People in Sweden also seem to enjoy pasta with ketchup, the survey found (+46).

2. Putting pasta in cold water and then boiling it – the results are clear with a score of -71: don’t do this in front of an Italian unless you want them to run screaming from the kitchen. Of course, you’re supposed to add the pasta to water that’s already gently boiling. Adding pasta to cold water was the most disdained practice around the world overall, including by Americans, with only Chinese (+16) and Hong Konger (+31) respondents more likely to be ok with it. 

3. Putting pineapple on pizza – there’s a reason you won’t see a Hawaiian listed on the menu in many pizzerias in Italy – it’s seen as the third-worst thing you could do to the national cuisine with a score of -63 .France isn’t keen either (-15) though Australia appears to have plenty of fans of fruity pizza toppings (+50).

4. Serving pasta as a side dish – think a mound of spaghetti would be a nice accompaniment to your grilled meat or fish? Think again if you’re in Italy, where the idea of having pasta as a contorno ranked as one of the worst possible food crimes with a score of -63. As all Italians know, pasta is served before the meat, fish or other main course, as a primo. No other country surveyed had a problem with this, though, and the French were especially big fans of pasta as a plat d’accompagnement.

5. Cutting long pasta with a knife while eating – the message is clear: don’t snap it, don’t cut it; you’ll need to learn how to twirl your spaghetti elegantly around your fork if you want to be invited back to an Italian home for dinner. This habit is another one people in the country apparently find disturbing, with a score of -46.

6. Putting cream in carbonara sauce – perhaps surprisingly, this famous crime against Italian cuisine – which regularly provokes furious online outbursts and stern warnings from Italian chefs – came in at only 6th place with a score of -45. As any Italian will tell you, there’s no need for cream in the authentic recipe.

7. Topping seafood pasta with cheese – this rule may not seem obvious to non-Italians, but we don’t recommend asking for the grated parmesan after being served a steaming plate of spaghetti alle vongole. It’s a major faux pas in Italy, where it scored -39, while Americans gave a far more positive rating of +38.

8. Rinsing cooked pasta in cold water – while many people abroad may think they need to rinse boiled pasta, Italians wouldn’t do this. Instead, many recipes call for the starchy pasta water to be conserved and used to finish the sauce. While perhaps seen as more senseless than revolting, this practice scored -23 in Italy.

9. Drinking cappuccino after lunch – Long, milky coffees are for breakfast in Italy, and while the barista probably won’t refuse to make you a cappuccino at 3pm, be aware that this might cause confusion and could turn other customers’ stomachs, as Italians gave this habit a score of -23. That’s despite the rest of Europe being fine with the concept; it scored +65 in Spain, +62 in Germany and +53 in France.

10. Boiling pasta without salt – Italians will tell you that a pinch of salt is essential in the cooking water for pasta, and leaving it out is highly controversial, with a score -17. Meanwhile, the British don’t see a problem (+15).

11. Eating garlic bread with pasta – While the rest of the world may ask what could possibly be wrong with this, the concept of filling a baguette with garlic butter and baking it just doesn’t really exist in Italy – even if it does seem to exist in every Italian restaurant on the planet outside of the country itself. Americans are particularly enthusiastic about this combination (+83), as are Brits (+80) but Italians gave it the thumbs down with -14.

The results also showed that attitudes to some of the established food rules are shifting among young Italians.

The biggest difference comes with drinking cappuccino after a meal, something which 18-24 year-old Italians tend to think is fine (+24), but which older age groups – and especially the over 55s (-36) – say is unacceptable. 

READ ALSO: The common Italian food myths you need to stop believing

Young Italians are also substantially more likely than their older peers to say that eating garlic bread with pasta or having risotto as a side dish is ok.

However, younger Italians seem to have turned against the practice of adding oil to the water when cooking pasta. Those aged 18-24 and 25-34 tend to consider this unacceptable, whereas their elders tend to see it as fine, the survey found.

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