26 Mar 2010

A New Era Has Begun!

Posted by PastryPrincess at 23:51
Hello from London everybody! This is a news round-up to let you know what I've been up to and how my first day at Le Cordon Bleu went! I'm very sorry there won't be any photos today but you've to know things have been crazy around here...!!! I don't have internet at the hotel and the internet issue at my future apartment still has to be figured out, too. It might take a while and therefore posts etc might be a good bit delayed and all but I will do my very best, I promise!
( Right now I'm sitting in a McDonald's at Paddington Station because they have free Wi-Fi, bless'em! )
A girl's gotta eat...
Thankfully my flight went smoothly after all albeit the strike and I got here fine. The Goodbye from my family was obviously sad and the fact they're on holidays in the States now hasn't made things easier...
Right after my arrival I met up with my future room-mate and co-student, Sarah, and I'm happy to say I don't regret my decision so far, she's lovely! ;) It seems like we have loads in common.
We went around looking at places and I wasn't happy at all. Finally we decided on a nice flat and had to quickly take it off the market and I found the whole legal side of things quite intimidating. There have been so many complications and it's been wrecking my head, uuggh. We obviously need to move in asap as in NOW and everything took much longer and was a lot more complicated than we'd hoped. Such a hassle. I had no idea you needed so many documents and it was all so difficult and strenuous. One big problem for me was that I didn't have internet to do all the filling out of forms online and that I badly needed my dad to help me with things and he is in a different time zone and on holidays. He did everything he could though although we had a hard time sometimes. Tomorrow we'll finally sign the contract, get the keys and will be able to move in. Hopefully. Please God! I want to have this out of the way because there is so much other stuff to consider, figure out and think about. Like the internet thing...
Lovely crayfish baguette with capers from "Paul's" Pâtisserie
Seriously though, I haven't had a quiet minute ever since I touched down and school hadn't even started! I'm glad I've Sarah by my side so I don't have to go through all of this by myself. Too bad she isn't in my group at school, oh well...
On Wednesday we met some of the other girls from school for lunch at TGI Fridays in Covent Garden and it was very nice. Somehow I expected there would only be about 20 people starting Le Crdon Bleu with me but it turned out we're actully 100! Can you believe it?! Only 23 are doing Le Grand Diplôme like me though, we're the badass, hardcore people, haha.
Sarah and I also found a bit of time to walk around Oxford Street for a tiny bit and I bought my professional scales I need for school and some gorgeous Pierre Hermé macarons at Selfridges. ( Coming soon! ) Then we went for an all you can eat buffet at Mr Woo's in China Town. They have a nice selection of things and it's very good value. I definitely had too much Chinese food! Ouff.

Day 1: The Introduction

This morning Sarah and I made our way to LCB where we were given our amazing, massive knife and utensil kit first of all. Then we received to big bags full of our uniforms and course manuals and shedule. Now I'm the proud owner of 3 chef jackets, 2 pants, aprons and towels, my knife kit, a silicone mat and my course manuals as well as my student ID with security card. Too bad I gave them a passport picture I look like an idiot in and not a nice one, eekk.
Turns out we're all devided into groups of 10 and obviously I would have like to be in a group with Sarah and another girl I like but I'm not and no, I can't change groups. Apparently there's specific reasons why certain people are in the same group... aaaahhhh.....huh?! What kind of reasons?! I'm in Cuisine group C by the way and there's only 3 other girls and the rest is all guys and only one of them is doing the whole same thing as me. Maybe there's some more girls in Pâtisserie...
First of all they explained the difficult looking schedules to us and I realized I will be a very busy girl and will have classes on Saturdays. There's 4 periods a day and you can have up to 3 I believe which means you'll have a break at some point but sometimes only 10 minutes. That means that apart from a free period or so I'm gonna be in class from 9am in the morning until 10pm at night on a good few days... just imagine! Intense! Which is exactly what the chef, my mentor for Basic, explained. It starts of easier and they will slowly but surely put the pressure on. Superior is supposed to be very hard and intense and generally some people crack and cry and all that. A wee bit scary, especially because I have twice the workload as most people! Oh gosh. The chef was nice and funny though and later on another student who's about to start superior was able to calm my worries by telling me it's fun and doable after all, pppphhhh! If she can do it, I can too!
The director welcomed us and she seems to be a very nice lady and I generally really like the athmosphere and attitude of people at LCB. Except for that one stressed-out girl at reception, oooyyy. There also were refreshments and delicious, freshly baked and still warm croissants, yum. They were prefect and I will learn how to make them, yay!
After the introduction we got our lockers for all our stuff and tried on our uniforms. I had to exchange them because they were too big. After that we had an hour of lunch break which Sarah and I used to get out knife kit engraved with our initials. We were told to get all our stuff marked and we were smart enought to go to the place before everybody else did! That way we didn't only get an extra discount on top of the LCB one (they have many partner places where we get discounts!) because the guy liked us but our knives were done very quickly and we were able to pick them up right after class and put them back into out lockers so we don't have to carry them around.
Actually, if we want to carry our kits around we always need to have our student IDs with us, otherwise we'll get into trouble with the police. Basically we're deathly weapons now, ah hahaha! ;P The engraving look absolutely amazing and every single tiny item is engraved, it's great and made me feel so proud! All this gorgeous equipment and it's all mine and so professional!
When we took our kits back to school we decided to look at every single item more closely and I actually managed to cut myself straight away, eejit that I am! Haha. Proved Sarah wrong who thought the knives weren't actually sharp... Ouch.
My kit was missing a couple of big knife guards but I was eventually given one while I was sucking on my thumb to stop the bleeding. Ooops. Nah, wasn't that bad really but very typical of my clumsy klutziness!
Anyway, after our lunch break we were split up into our groups and met our mentors i.e. one of our teaching chefs. He answered all of our questions; I asked most of them... and some answers where even more intimidating. It's gonna be very intense, that's the same word I have to repeat over and over again in this context. I will be more or less living at the school basically, will have very long hours, up on my feet all day, having to get used to all the hard physical work and will have to do well at the same time. Wow. Every single tiny thing will be graded and I can never fail. That's quite scary. Besides I wanna try my best to get one of the merit medals, hehe. That might be wishful thinking though, now that I know more about the reality of things.
We were given a tour of the school which I had already done when I visited the school with my boyfriend in December. Then there was a fire evacuation drill because apparently the sensitive smoke detectors set off the fire alarm a lot and we'll probably have to evacuate a good few times during our time at LCB. Come on, it's a culinary school, things are bound to get burned! ;)
Tomorrow I will be in school from 9am until 4pm, doing a food saftey and hygiene course with an exam at the end. An exam! They're getting right down to the nitty-gritty but this certificate is essential for obvious reasons. Still, we're thrown in at the deep end because I will be in school until 10pm on my first actual day, Monday, too! Hardcore.
Well, today after school I bought my safe, non-slip kitchen shoes and just like all the bare essentials such as a duvet and pillow from Ikea I will have to move all this bulky stuff from my hotel to the apartment tomorrow... Hopefully everything goes smoothly, please keep your fingers crossed for me in these stressful times!

I will try to keep this baby as updatet as possible and will eventually put up pictures. Please bare with me while I don't have internet and am still trying to wrap my head around things. It's mental! I will try to write things down everyday about what I'm doing at LCB, it's just that I don't know yet when I'll be able to post it all. Thank you for your understanding and I can't wait until I can finally show you things I made and learned and FYI... I did bring my good camera solely for that purpose! ;)

This is it. My life is changing drastically. I'm an official Le Cordon Bleu student now. Wow. Amazing. Scary. Overwhelming. Extraordinary. Intense. Exciting!

4 comments on "A New Era Has Begun!"

natalie on 27 August 2010 20:11 said...

Hi, I found your blog randomly when googling for Le Cordon Bleu London. I'm planning to attend LCB London for the Grand Diplome too. I would love to hear your experiences during your training there :) I heard that it's quite intensive and am just wondering if I will be able to pull it off. So I would really love to hear your experience so far.

PastryPrincess on 30 August 2010 18:25 said...

hey natalie! i can absolutely recommend going to lcb and doing le grand diplôme! yes, it is definitely intensive and many people find it tiring at times... but its also great fun! everybody is different so it depends on how you deal with things individually. personally i would love to have even more classes sometimes but thats just my personal craziness. opinions vary greatly, as with everything in life, so its up to you wether you wanna do it all at once or one after the other and get work experience at the same time. as you may have noticed ive completely neglected (or more like given up...) blogging ever since i started lcb - that tells you something! im thoroughly enjoying myself and being surrounded by like-minded people from all around the world though. when are you thinking of starting? send me an email if you need anymore advice!

Randy Tsang on 6 June 2011 13:55 said...

I'm starting at the end of this month, but it has only just dawned on me to search the blogosphere for other student experiences. I was looking for some comfort and inspiration, but instead i'm now dead scared! eeeeek... kit looks cool though!

PastryPrincess on 6 June 2011 14:11 said...

randy, dont worry! i had the BEST time of my life and loved every second of it. incredibly sad that its over. make sure you thoroughly enjoy every moment of it because its gonna pass very quickly!

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