So you want to go to Le Cordon Bleu, We ask Chef Guntas about her experience at Le Cordon Bleu
When did you decide you wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu? Was it your first choice?
After completing my Chartered Accountancy, I decided that I did not want to wait to pursue my dream of being a pâtisser. So I applied right away. LCB was a school I always dreamt of and it was my first and only choice.
Did your family support your decision of giving up Chartered Accounting and move to London?
Yes absolutely, they were ecstatic. I have learnt the culinary arts from my dad so we shared the love for it. My family has been my biggest supporter in every decision and that keeps me motivated too.
There are many Le Cordon Bleu schools out there, why did you choose London?
London as a city is very multicultural and has one of the best culinary experiences to learn from. Also language isn’t a problem. But the main deciding factor was that it is the only LCB with an ‘Intensive’ diploma in patisserie so all of that together fit perfectly for me.
Express your first feeling when you got accepted in Le Cordon Bleu, London?
Ecstatic, overjoyed! A little nervous because I had to move and get everything done but nothing beat my happiness.
How did you decide your course?
LCB offers either the normal duration or an intensive course. I was eager to start my career so I chose the intensive one
What was the first day like?
Very intimidating. You know you go there to learn but the enormity of all that you have to achieve in a few weeks or months was overwhelming. Also feeling a little lost with so many new faces. But soon you get straight to work and everything flows from there.
What sparked your passion for pâtisserie?
Growing up in Guwahati there was limited exposure to pâtisserie but during our frequent trips to Kolkata and Dehradun, I was always fascinated by their pâtisserie culture, Flurrys and Cookie Jar in Kolkata as well as Ellora’s and the numerous homemakers in Dehradun.
And then through MasterChef Australia, I could understand how pâtisserie is both arts and science combined together. And that really drew me in. I wanted to explore how to mix different textures, flavours, the precisions. It’s a world to explore in its own.
Did you really do everything by hand?
Yes every single thing from washing, whisking, folding, cleaning, making meringues, sifting and kneading the dough. Every small step is a part of the process and I did it all myself.
If you could sum up your whole experience at Le Cordon Bleu.
It was an enriching and learning experience in not just about culinary arts but also so many different ways. Meeting people from different cultures and expanding your worldview but also staying independently where you have teach your how the systems work. There is constant physically exhaustions with assignments and everyday is mentally challenging. You learn how being in a professional kitchen was very different than being at a home kitchen. But importantly, all those experiences stay with you for long after and really keep you going through all the challenges in the kitchen and outside, after your course.
What would you like to share with the current batch at Le Cordon Bleu?
You are taught about the art and science behind patisserie which will be your most important takeaway. There is a lot you can create on your own from that so make the most of the techniques, the skills and wisdom they impart. Your creativity will follow based on your understandings of these factors.
How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?
I have been experimenting with new recipes a lot and sharing them online. Also spending a lot of family time and cooking with them.
Are there any online courses you can recommend to aspiring home cooks?
A lot of bakers and chefs are holding online Webinars which I would urge everyone to support. You can also be flexible with what you’d like to learn.