Founded in 1920, the Ecole Ferrandi technical school has been turning out élite chefs (as well as garden-variety steak/frites flingers), bakers, pastry chefs and front-of-the-room staff for nearly a century. Recent Michelin star-crossed graduates include Mathieu Viannay (La Mère Brazier, Lyon); William Ledeuil (Ze Kitchen Galerie, Paris) and Adeline Grattard (Yam’ Tcha, Paris).
The school board consists of more than thirty renowned chefs including (President) Joël Robuchon, Anne-Sophie Pic, Eric Briffard, Philippe Etchebest, Alain Dutournier, Eric Frechon, Pierre Hermé, Régis Marcon, Thierry Marx, Olivier Roellinger, Michel Roth and Guy Savoy.
“We’re more ‘hands-on’ than other cooking schools and that gives our students an edge,” explains Adrienne Burton Lorite, International Project Manager. And what an edge: 96% have jobs six months after graduation. The school’s emphasis on time-honored recipes like oeufs à la Florentine is balanced by weekly visits from innovative chefs like Yannick Alléno and Philippe Mille.
Ferrandi state-of-the-art professional kitchens, generally populated by high school/college-age French students, open for older and international gourmets for intensive, three- to ten-day sessions, taught in English, during the summer. The classes include French regional cuisine, bread-baking and snacking, pastry, French wines, and two separate sessions (3 or 5-day) devoted exclusively to macaroons.
These classes do have a professional spin, so check with Adrienne Burton Lorite, or international student coordinator Stephanie Curtis, to make sure you’re not going to get lost in your first millefeuille. These classes are serious and award a Ferrandi certificate. Longer and more intensive English-language courses with restaurant internships are available for people with a motivation to cook professionally.
It’s possible to get a taste of the next generation’s flair at the school’s in-house restaurants. On the week we visited, the students were preparing a meal influenced by the two guest-star chefs – Akrame Benallal (Akrame) and David Toutain (Agapé Substance) — who had given demonstrations the day before. Lunches or dinners are 25€ to 40€, but this is not a ‘secret’ bargain. Tables are hard-to-get.
28 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006. Tel: 01.49.54.28.00. Fax: 01.49.54.28.40. www.ferrandi-paris.fr M° St-Placide