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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.

 

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FOOD & DRINK

You are not Swiss until you try these seven weird foods

Switzerland is not exactly known for innovative cuisine but for hearty and, some say, uninspiring food. But can some of the country’s dishes be qualified as ‘weird’?

You are not Swiss until you try these seven weird foods

Unlike its neighbours France and Italy, Switzerland’s culinary tradition is relatively plain.

After all, how many foreigners would actually say “I am going to Switzerland for the food”?

Still, don’t rule out some surprises on the culinary front. Whether you consider these dishes as ‘weird’ or just very unappetising depends mostly on how adventurous you are and how solid your stomach is.

So let’s begin.

The Berner Zungenwurst (Bernese tongue sausage)

Some of the wackiest foods have a regional flavour — literally and figuratively.

One of them is a traditional “tongue sausage” from Bern.

A cookbook from 1835 states that two or three pig tongues should be used as ingredients, along with meat and blood from pork and beef. What’s not to like?

These days, however, the tongue has been phased out, but the name remains. Contemporary cookbooks call for Zungenwurst to be made from pork and beef meat, along with crackling and spices. 

In 2019, Zugenwurst achieves EU protected status, which prevents imitators from reproducing the sausage, unless they do so under a different name.

If you can get over its appearance, you might actually enjoy it.

Photo: Photo: Tamorlan, CC BY-SA 2.5/.

READ MORE: Three things to know about Switzerland’s protected ‘blood tongue sausage’

Saucisse de choux

West of Bern, in Vaud, another sausage reigns: the so-called “cabbage sausage”.

No tongue or blood here; this traditional smoked sausage is made from white cabbage, pork and bacon, and eaten boiled with potatoes and leeks — another typical Vaud dish called “papet”.

According to legend, the origin of this sausage dates back to the year 879, when the family of the Emperor of Germany stayed in the Vaud town of Orbe for several weeks.

As the meat ran out, locals mixed cabbage with the sausage meat to fill the stuffing. The smoking stage appeared in the Middle Ages, when it was realised that by smoking the meat, it could be kept longer.

Cenovis

Unless you grew up eating Marmite in the UK or Vegemite in Australia, it may take you a whIle to develop your taste buds to accept, and actually like, Cenovis —  the dark brown paste made from yeast extract.

This very salty paste is spread on a slice of buttered bread.

READ MORE: Six common myths about Swiss food you need to stop believing

How did this idea originate in the first place?

According to the company website, “it was in the mind of a visionary brewer from the Rheinfelden region in the canton of Basel-Country that the idea of using the precious yeasts from the production of beer germinated”.

Spiny thistle

If you think this plant is unfit for human consumption, Genevans will disagree with you.

That’s because cardon épineux genevois is not only a local specialty, but it is also  the first vegetable to be included in the official Swiss registry of origin.

It can be eaten, for example, as a gratin — grilled with (Swiss) cheese on top — to accompany meat or fish.

First consumed around Europe in the 16th century where it was widely cultivated, these days canton of Geneva is the only place that still produces thorned thistle.

Genevans make a dish out of this plant. Photo by Pixabay

READ MORE: Ten varieties of cheese you should be able to identify if you live in Switzerland

Rivella

That Switzerland has its own beverage is not in itself unusual (and certainly not weird) — after all, it does have plenty of cheese and chocolate of its own.

What is slightly odd, however, is that this carbonated drink is made from milk whey.

Perhaps it is because Swiss cows produce too much milk and this surplus had to be used somehow — we don’t know. What we do know is that in 1950 two men, Roberth Barth and the biologist Hans Süsli, got together in Zurich and used a recipe initially conceived to produce a whey beer to create a soft drink that tastes a bit like a mixture of ginger ale and bubble tea.

As is the case with Cenovis, you probably have to train your taste buds (or trick them) to like it.

Chestnut paste tarts

To the untrained eye, these little tarts, called vemicelles, look like worms piled on top.

In fact, in Latin “vermiculi” actually means “worms”. But if you can get past the appearance and the name, these pastries are actually quite delicious.

And making them from scratch (rather than buying them ready made) is almost an art form: traditional recipe calls for about half a kilo of chestnuts.

An incision has to be made in each chestnut before boiling. Then, chestnuts should be shelled, simmered with milk and sugar before being pressed through a special machine to create the long “worms” of chestnut paste.

Photo by Robert Patti on Unsplash

Last but not least…cholera!

OK, what is actually weird about this dish is not its content  but the truly off-putting name.

There is a reason for that: this dish was invented during the cholera outbreak in the 1830s when people were scared to leave their homes and made a pie with whatever leftovers they had on hand: potatoes, onion, apples, bacon, leek and cheese.

As far as we know, this is the only food still in existence that was created out of necessity during a health crisis. To this day, there is no dish called Covid (although all of you budding chefs out there may see that as a challenge). 

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