Wednesday, 27 February 2019


Vieux Lyon January 2019
What an incredible two months its been here in Lyon so far read below all about life so far in Lyon, my top tips for surviving your first 2 weeks and all the in and outs of my classes at Institut Paul Bocuse.

The last 9 months of my life have been some of the best times I’ve ever had. From living and working in Banff national park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies to living and studying in a world-renowned culinary college in Frances 3rd biggest city is just amazing.
Leaving Canada was hard, but I was open to all the new experiences and challenges that Lyon has thrown at me so far.

If you’re thinking of moving here id tell you to go for it. Lyon is an amazingly diverse city. So much to see and do in your free time. if you’re a foodie then Lyon is a city for you. Markets every day of the week located all over different parts of the city offering local farm fresh veg, fish, meat, cheese, bread and pastries the list is endless. You can buy you veg for the week for nearly €6 a bargain!! Lyon is full with great local lyonnaise bouchons these are small little eateries, and endless bakeries to be discovered offering up mouth-watering pastries.
Top tips and life in Lyon:

Some top advice if you are thinking of moving to Lyon to attend classes at IPB:
Public transport is bar far one of the best I have ever seen in Europe, its definitely worth purchasing a TCL transport card, this can be obtained with your IPB student card it costs around €31 and works for all city public transport (bus, metro, tram) which is very frequent.

Before making the move here is crucial to have some form of accommodation lined up. The college does offer accommodation which is 5 mins walk from the campus, a bit like Riverwalk in Waterford just not as nice and shared kitchens between lots of people.  I came here with my friend Hanna, we looked for months while we were in candida and Budapest but just couldn’t either find something cheap and decent or couldn’t agree on it. It came down to Hanna doing a long-term rent Airbnb and myself subletting from another IPB student who moved away for the semester for his internship.

Learning and speaking French is a must. To live comfortably and have some form of social life with other students. Hanna is nearly fluent in French and has really progressed. Me on the other hand I am really struggling, I can get by and have a basic conversation, read ingredients and recipes etc but beyond that I’m hopeless. A lot of young people here at the college will speak English some better than others. You will find the older generation reluctant to speak English and I have experienced this in supermarkets etc and they are very rude about it but ca la vie. 

Classes at Institut Paul Bocuse: 
I didn’t really Know what to expect before I started classes. Its been touch and go since we have got here, anything I say is my honest opinion and I don’t want to speak for Hanna. Being an Erasmus student in a different college and country is always going to be challenging.  Originally, we were promised and offered the English option for the courses, this is what we expected when we arrived, but at our orientation we were told that all the classes were in French which came as a bit of a shock and a worry, but we pushed on. Before we arrived here we did receive a copy of the classes/modules that we will be taking, they seemed fine until we got into the class. They placed us with the first years as it seems that they didn’t quite no our skill level or what to do with us.
Here at IPB they do their classes very different instead of having multiple different classes each day/week, they do block classes of one module in 3 to 4-week rotations. I started with a 2-week rotation of pastry, it was back to basic which I found okay as a lot of the stuff was repetitive, but it was nice to see the basic items done right and the French way. 

We found that first year wasn’t going to suite us, so we talked to our international officer to see if we could move to the 3rd year of the program. This took some time to organise and back and forth conversations with the culinary lectures to see if we would be able for it. They basically said that I could move to the 3rd year of the program but Hanna had to stay in the class she was in and prove herself which was unfair but out of our control. 

While waiting for my new program I moved on to a two-week rotation in a module called “Economat” this is all the receiving and distribution of produce for the college. It’s completely run buy students with the supervision of a lecture basically like the stores in WIT run by Brian. It was a very interesting module. This was also split into a rotation where half the class would take in the produce and sort it according to weight, chef etc. This would then be placed in the correct fridge etc. the other half of the class was responsible for getting the carts ready in including these fresh produce orders along with dry goods etc and distributing them to chef who ordered them. It’s a module that WIT could really do with introducing. 

During my last week here I received my new program, I would be starting with a 3-week rotation at the L’institut Restaurant Place Bellcour, 4 weeks at Restaurant Experience and our final 4 weeks in Saisons resultant which is in the Castel of the college and is very fine dining. All these three restaurants are run by the students on rotations. My three weeks in L’institut restaurant have come and gone already. They were amazing. My Passion is pastry however on my first day I was working in the hot kitchen, again as they didn’t know what to do with me but one of the students swapped with me, so I could work in pastry. The Restaurant itself is in ‘Hotel Royal’ which is owned a run by Accor hotels with the branding of the hotel Gallery by Sofitel. 

Here at IPB they really make the students work. Classes are long some begin at 7am and going to 6/7pm at night. At bellcour you start at 8:15 to 2:30 for the lunch service with a break for lunch in between then you have a break until 5:15 until 11/12pm for the dinner service again have a break for dinner in between this just before service starts. You work here Tuesday to Saturday.  It was a very busy restaurant doing 50/60 covers each service. It was very long and tiring 3 weeks but very worth it, for the experience and knowledge I learned. The Menu here doesn’t change very often as the frequent rotations of students. I aslo liked that the kitchens at bellcour were open to the public so that they could view in in and see the hands that make the 
food and the hard work of the student chefs.
Kitchen Team Place Bellecour

Pastry Kitchen Bellecour


This week I have just started at Restaurant experience which is more self lead by the students. The students design their own menu based around one key ingredient e.g. asparagus and mackerel for the starters. This restaurant is smaller maybe only 20 covers with one dinner service and focuses on an exceptional gastronomic experience for the guest. The students are encouraged to think outside the box when it comes to how the present the food, how to prepare, to use modern techniques and using molecular gastronomy. 

The first week of the rotation, the restaurant is closed, and we get examined on the basics of cooking. Filleting a fish, deboning and chicken (head and organs included), mastering basic stocks and sauces including mayonnaise and hollandaise. The students get graded from 0 -5 on these items. If there not done correct the chef has no problem telling you that they are shit.   

I’m very much looking forward to my remaining time here studying in France and many more experiences to come!!

A bientot,

Derek :)


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