If you're looking for French cooking classes in central Paris and taught in English, La Cuisine Paris cooking school is a great option. Particularly for amateur cooks and foodies who are looking for a relaxed atmosphere to learn in and value the enjoyment factor over absolute rigor and precision, the palette of cooking classes offered by this company shouldn't disappoint.
Established by a Franco-American couple with a real passion for gastronomy sans snobbery, La Cuisine Paris offers a decidedly friendly, laid-back ambiance where even total rookies won't feel intimidated.
- Relaxed, unintimidating ambiance
- The chef leading my class was friendly and experienced
- Clean, attractive facilities and warm staff
- Centrally located, with gorgeous views of the Seine and the city
- Offers a wide variety of courses in both English and French
- Class was a bit too short to allow a fully hands-on approach
- School doesn't offer predefined multi-day or multi-week course packages
- Course content: Traditional French, organic, pastry and chocolates, and traditional market shopping are among the most popular.
- Instruction Languages: English or French
- Course Prices: Contact La Cuisine Paris for prices of individual classes.
- Address and Location: 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4th arrondissement, Metro Hotel de Ville, Pont Marie
- Telephone: +33 (0)1 40 51 78 18
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit the official La Cuisine Paris website
- Class duration: From two to four hours
The school is located right on the banks of the Seine river near Hotel de Ville (Paris City Hall). Incidentally, the large kitchen windows afford great views of the river and the city.
In their former lives, owners Jane and Olivier worked in corporate banking and management consulting, respectively.
Both avid foodies, the couple decided to make a jump and create a cooking school catering to English and French speakers. "Thanks to my previous life as a Corporate Banker, as my mother likes to tell people, I went from out of the frying pan, and into the fire.... or maybe the other way around," Jane says.
Upstairs in the kitchen (sunny, pleasant, with state-of-the-art equipment), the affable chef Justin Ward (one of ten working at the school) was getting to know the students. Originally from Texas, Justin trained in Paris at the prestigious Gregoire Ferrandi culinary school, and also works at Wedding Cakes Avenue in the city.
On the Menu: Chocolate Soufflé and Lemon Meringue Tartelettes
Justin sets the class to work (around 10 students, all English-speakers) on two classic French recipes: chocolate soufflé and lemon meringue tartelettes. It seemed ambitious for a class of only two hours, but we eagerly got to it, measuring out ingredients, stirring bubbling pots of chocolate, stickying our fingers with lemon juice, and learning how to perfectly line tartelette molds with dough.
The most challenging moments? Working the mixture of chocolate, eggs, and butter for the soufflé (you really have to get your whole hands in there, using a handle-less spatula).
Learning to make perfect meringue, and piping it out artfully onto the tartelettes using a pastry bag (probably the most intimidating but also the most enjoyable part). Making sure the souffles don't collapse before eating. There were some small blunders and moments of confusion, but overall the recipes turned out beautifully.
One critique? The class was a bit too short to allow enough time to make the two desserts at your own novice speed, and the chef had to intervene and do some of the tasks on his own. This took away a bit from the otherwise hands-on approach.
Overall, the class was enjoyable and accessible. The results were delicious, and you'll feel motivated to try what you learned in your own kitchen. La Cuisine Paris is perfect for English or French speakers who love to cook and want to boost their culinary arsenal, but above all like to have fun doing it.
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