A degree from Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) has pretty much become a prerequisite for any budding pâtissier these days. With over 40 institutes in 20 countries, the French chain also recently entered India with a hospitality course based in Delhi. While it’s yet to set up shop in Mumbai, Fabrice Danniel, executive master chef of LCB Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok, paid a visit to the city recently. We caught up with him for a chat.
LCB has been setting the standards for pastry chefs around the world. What gives the institute an edge over other culinary schools?
I think it’s the best place to learn techniques. We have three levels of training, and our teaching includes taking notes and pictures, observing and then repeating. The facilities and equipment are of the highest standards while the ingredients are premium. The curriculum and recipes are updated frequently and our chefs have reputed backgrounds. We have only 12-14 participants in a class so that the chef can control them easily.
What are the three levels?
‘Basic’ focusses on traditional recipes, while ‘Intermediate’ uses more advanced products from stores in Paris. The ‘Superior’ level is advanced in terms of techniques and new trends in decoration like molecular elements, chocolate and sugar showpieces etc. It’s important to learn basic techniques and then adapt them to different countries.
Comment on the pastry skills of Indian chefs.
Since my last visit in 2005, their presentation has vastly improved. They couldn’t make any showpieces back then. They learned quicker at a session I held with them recently, and some even stayed back to practice. They’re a very motivated lot.
Are you aware of the popularity of French desserts in India?
Yes, whether you talk about cupcakes, macaroons, financiers or choux pastry, their popularity is a great thing. I’m most proud of the macaroon because it’s a dessert that I love too. Indians are yet to discover another pastry — the cronut. It’s currently a big rage in America.
What’s coming up in the near future?
We’d like to come back here and plan some workshops. They can be for professionals as well as amateurs. Anyone who comes to us with a passion can learn a lot, irrespective of how much they already know. Other than that, we do want to open a school with a culinary section in India. We want to train those who want to work in pastry shops, restaurants and hotels.
Are there any Indian teachers at LCB?
Not right now, but we have several students from India. Pooja Dhingra of Le 15 Patisserie is one of our popular graduates. There’s also Kainaz Messman of Theobroma who makes lovely macaroons. I’ve been to her store and I was impressed by the quality of her offerings.