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!