I am in group A this term (and maybe all 3 terms) and there are 16 of us in the group. We were shown around by Chef Franck, a friendly chef from France. At least half of the chefs are French, not surprising as it is French cuisine we are learning.
Group A has all its classes together – demonstration lessons and practicals. The reason there are 16 is that there are 16 places in each kitchen. There are several groups and we have the demonstrations together and split up for the practicals.
Lessons (demos and practicals) are at one of the following times: 8 am, 11.30 am, 3 pm and 6.30 pm and last 3 hours, with a 30 minute break between lessons. We have lessons Monday to Friday and on some Saturdays too, though only until 3 pm on Saturdays, I think.
As part of the 1st day we were given a welcome by the school principal, filled in a few more forms and received our uniforms and tool kits.
The uniform consists of a chef’s jacket (white with Cordon Bleu logo), checked trousers, white necktie, small cap (hat) plus white apron, oven cloth and tea towel. We have to wear the jacket, trousers and necktie to all classes and the apron, hat, cloth and tea towel in practicals. We get marked on our uniform – it must all be present, clean and ironed. We also have to wear suitable shoes and we have to provide these ourselves. I’ve got a pair of black shoes with steel toe-caps. Here’s a picture of me in my full uniform:
The knife set consists of a black fabric case with a set of Wusthof knives plus lots of utensils. It’s pretty heavy and I’ll list all the contents later. I’ve already got them all engraved with my initials (thanks to my lovely wife who had a much better engraving hand than me) as everyone has an identical set and it’s hard to prove it’s yours otherwise if someone else picks up one of your knives.
Fortunately I haven’t had to carry the knife set back and forth every day as I’ve been able to leave it in my locker. We each have a locker in the basement changing room. Not a particularly big locker, but just enough to squeeze my uniform, knife set and bag into. What’s more challenging is the amount of space to get changed in. It’s pretty much just the square foot in front of my locker. There’s nowhere to sit down or put your things on except the floor and people are constantly squeezing past to get to or from their locker. The room basically is reduced to a long corridor and everyone trying to change into or out of their uniform. It can be a bit challenging!