Tokyo Table

Culinary Adventures at Le Cordon Bleu, Tokyo

The Journey Begins


Tomorrow begins my first day at Le Cordon Bleu – Tokyo.  You might wonder why I’m taking French cooking lessons in Japan.  Strange? Maybe,  maybe not.  Tokyo is one of those magical cities where the more you discover, the more you see the depth and charm of the place.   Tokyo values diligence, attention to detail, and beauty.  This blend is a perfect environment for French cooking.

And there’s another reason I’m taking classes in Tokyo at France’s most renowned culinary school: I live here.

One year ago our family moved 6000 miles from Los Angeles to Tokyo.  We have been expats before, but never with four teenage children.   Our last move was to England when they were very young.  There, we could all speak the language, order from the menu, and speak to the taxi drivers.  But surprisingly, it wasn’t long until we could do the same in Tokyo.  With some very polite phrases – one special one, “do you have an English menu” – and our address card translated into Japanese, we could start exploring the city.  And one of our first explorations was Le Cordon Bleu.

Not long after we arrived, my husband and I took a cake class.  We had no idea how yummy a cake could be.  It was hazelnut sheets, filled with chocolate and pralines and frozen chocolate mouse.  It was like no other dessert we’d tasted.  The crunch of the pralines and the richness of the mousse was otherworldly.  After that class, I kept finding more  that looked interesting.  Over the course of a year, I took no less than 13 separate courses.  It seemed that my next step was to sign up for the full program.

The program, Le Grande Diploma, is nine months, four days a week, six hours a day.  It consists of five months of cuisine and four months of patisserie.  Each day we have a three-hour lecture followed by three hours of practical.  Oh, and then a grade.

My children tell me not to worry about the grade; just do my best and enjoy the class.  I guess that’s all I can do!  It is intimidating.  Each class will be taught in Japanese or French, depending on the chef, and translated into English.  I hope I can keep the terms, techniques and languages all separated.  It’s a bit overwhelming, but it’s also immensely exciting.

Over the next nine months, I will share with you the ups and downs, the excitement and the anxiety of taking the Le Cordon Bleu – Tokyo program. Thank you for reading this and encouraging me!



7 Comment

  1. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it, but I suspect your family will get even more out of it. There’s nothing like investing in cooking skills, at least for the people who eat your cooking.

    (That was half joking.)

    Seriously, it’s awesome that you’re pursuing something like this!

  2. Good work Kelly — both getting the blog up and getting all those bits and pieces of uniform together! I’m happy to go along on your exciting ride “with you.”

  3. Kelly – your dear mother-in-law has been effusing to me for quite some time about this exciting oddesy you are experiencing and I admire you so much fir taking on such a loving challenge – on behalf of your family, of course! But today Donna directed me to your blog site, and now I am thrilled to be able to go back to your beginning class and get all the available details myself on my own time. Can’t wait to get started! Thank you for allowing your “fans” to share in your adventure!
    Carolyn H Gilbert

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