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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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AUSTRIAN TRADITIONS

Austrian traditions: How to celebrate St. Martin’s Day in Austria

Austrians celebrate St. Martin's Day, also known as Martinstag, even if it is not an official bank holiday. From traditional food to parades, here's how to enjoy the day.

Austrian traditions: How to celebrate St. Martin's Day in Austria

Austria is a very catholic country and several important dates for the church are official bank holidays. However, even the dates that are not holidays are still often celebrated by the population – even if just by preparing a traditional meal.

Martinstag, or St. Martin’s Day, is one of those dates that people don’t get off from work, but still, many Austrians will commemorate every November 11th. 

Who was Saint Martin?

According to Catholic tradition, Saint Martin of Tours was a “conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was manoeuvred into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics”. 

As the legend goes, Saint Martin, a Roman soldier, gave a beggar half his red cloak to protect him during a snowstorm. 

READ ALSO: Five things you will find in (almost) every Austrian home

Through this good deed, Saint Martin is considered the patron saint of travellers and the poor and is seen as an example to children to share and be giving.

One legend has it that he hid in a goose stall when he was summoned by the church to become a bishop, as he felt unworthy. But the geese cackled so loudly that Martin was found – and now geese are eaten on his name day.

How is the date celebrated?

The main festivities revolve around the evening meal; traditionally, Martinigansl goose often served with cabbage and dumplings.

Mid-November was the time of year when farmers completed their autumn wheat seeding and slaughtered the fattened cattle before the winter.

READ ALSO: COMPARE: How do Austria’s public holidays stack up against the rest of Europe?

But across Austria, St Martin’s Day, and the weeks leading up to it, is marked by eating Martinigansl – roasted goose served with aromatic chestnuts, red cabbage and fluffy bread dumplings. The meal is just as important for some people as Easter and Christmas dinners.

Traditionally, the day is also the occasion for naming the year’s new wine. Therefore, it has special significance for the wine regions and villages in Burgenland around Lake Neusiedl.

Where can I try the traditional meal?

If you’re planning to try Martinigansl in Vienna, the Kurier newspaper recommends Rudi’s Beisl in the 5th district. Their goose is served with red cabbage, white cabbage and potato or bread dumplings for €29.90.

If you don’t eat meat, you could try the ‘goose’ at Cafe Harvest, Vienna’s second district. It’s made from soy fillets and served along with red cabbage and potato dumplings. It’s already available for €17.80.

READ ALSO: Vienna Christmas Markets: Here are the dates and locations for 2022

A goose broth with baked Kaiserschöberl croutons is followed by free-range goose breast with goose praline, red cabbage, and Waldviertel dumplings. Dessert is a sweet baked apple served with gingerbread foam. 

Mahlzeit!

The St. Martins procession

In parts of Austria, children celebrate Martinstag by carrying paper lanterns they have made in school in an evening procession. In some places, the lantern procession ends with a Martinsfeuer (bonfire).

“Der Laternenumzug”, or lantern procession, is an annual celebration in honour of St. Martin’s Day. 

However, while St. Martin’s Day is an occasion celebrated by Catholics across Europe, including the UK, this children’s tradition seems to only be commonplace in German-speaking regions (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and some areas of Belgium, Italy and Poland).

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Der Laternenumzug

The procession is usually organised through local kindergartens and schools, and the children themselves often make the lanterns during their classes. The children are often accompanied by a man dressed as St. Martin in his iconic red cloak.

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