Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions!

For the last couple of months I have been getting several phone calls, emails, messages and people showing up at the kitchen to discuss their career options! I am extremely flattered that you would like to get my opinion on what career move to make. And while I really appreciate the number of CVs and job inquiries we get, it’s unfortunate that we are such a small organization and can’t hire anyone at the moment.
However, I am more than happy to share my views and experiences; but, please keep in mind that what worked for me and may not necessarily work for someone else.
I have put together a small list of questions that I get asked. I hope it helps!


What course did you do?
- I did a bachelor in Hospitality and International Business from Cesar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland and then a Diploma in French Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
While to be a chef you don't require a business degree, it definitely helps when you want to start something of your own.

How did you manage your accommodation in Paris?
-I was very lucky in this aspect; I stayed with my best friend Marie who organized the accommodation for us. However, the school gives you a list of hostels and studio rentals. There are several websites that help you with the same.

Can you please share your experiences at Le Cordon Bleu with me so I get a better insight of what it means to actually take it up for real?
- My personal experience at the school was fabulous. I got to stay in the city I loved, cook with the best chefs, and meet people who were insanely passionate about food!
- When I joined, I had very little kitchen experience and that was challenging some times. What really helped me was doing an internship at the end of the course.
- The idea is to go with an open mind and a passion to learn.
- I am not the kind of person who learns by books but through people and practical experience and for that the school was a perfect fit.

Two years living alone in Paris...Is it all worth it?

I don't have a culinary degree or experience, so do I even qualify?
-Yes you do. I didn’t have any experience before I joined.

Do I need to speak French to live in Paris?
Ermmm…well, it definitely helps! I strongly recommend doing a course before going. Visiting France as a tourist and living there are two different aspects all together. So learn French, it will help when you’re looking for accommodation or want to open a bank account!

I want to quit my job and take up baking. How should I go about it?
-This is the hardest question that people come to me with. I have had 10 people in the last week itself ask me that.
It’s great that you’re so passionate about baking! However, before making a big decision like this it is advisable to first, make a list of goals of what you would like to do with the baking and second (most important) to go and get hands on experience in a professional kitchen. The food industry may seem glamorous, fun and exciting but it can be extremely harsh and ruthless! If you work for a while and still want to continue then think about the switch.

How easy is it to start your own business?
-When I have this one figured out I’ll write a book! Every day is a battle…starting is not the hard part…it’s the day to day running that requires a lot of courage and stamina. I started planning Le15 when I was 22 and was lucky to have my parents support me financially and emotionally. They leave all the decision making to me and sometimes it can get overwhelming. But, I'm learning everyday, and at the end of the day there is no greater joy than working for yourself!