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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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DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

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