Monday, 15 April 2019

From the castle in the Rockies to the castle in the French country side.............

Institut Paul Bocuse

For those of you who are just joining in on reading this blog, my name is Derek Mc Clelland. I’m a 3rd year student from Waterford Institute of Technology studying in year 3 of a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts. This Semester I am currently studying at Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon France.

In this, my second blog here from France I want to be truthful about my experiences in a way the is respectful and that adheres to our blog posting guidelines.

Since I landed here in France, my time here has truly been a roller coaster of emotions. The last three months has been some of the hardest work I’ve ever had to do.  My Erasmus here at IPB has been a very different Erasmus experience then others may be experiencing now. I’ve been sad and lonely and wanted to go home so many times, but I have pushed on and continued.

Me and My Mother Vieux Lyon March 19
In March I welcomed my parents for a long weekend, it was great seeing them after 8 months in Canada. They loved Lyon all the bustling’s streets and fresh food markets. We ventured to Geneva in Switzerland for a day trip which was a really nice place to see, expensive but nice. 

Lake Geneva 
If you are reading this as a second-year student and are undecided on where you want your international year to take you I really urge you to consider all your options carefully. I do recommend that you consider studying a semester here at IPB the only advice I can give you is that you look at everything from both sides. Yes, if you choose to come to IPB it will be extremely hard work but the benefits you will gain from that will be greater than anything else you will experience at another college.

Classes here at IPB are moving on fast, before I knew it my 4 weeks at Restaurant experience were over and on to my final 4 weeks at Restaurant Saisons.

Restaurant Experience: 
Experience Restaurant is in the research building of IPB and is run by chef Florent Boivin and chef Olivier Pons two incredibly skilful chefs with a wealth of culinary knowledge.  Each chef here has two weeks with a class group.

The first week of this rotation the students are brought back to basics like I mentioned in my previous blog, working on cuts of vegetables, filleting fish, meats, sauces and stock all the classical French techniques you could think of. At the end of this week you were examined on these skills and scored accordingly.  The next week after this brought on the live service of the restaurant with a max of 30 guests, with a menu of chef Boivin. The last two weeks were with chef Pons who’s is an incredible man so focused on the students learning. The final week at restaurant experience was focused on the students own menu with no involvement from the main chef.

The concept of this restaurant as the name suggests is to give the guest a culinary experience.  The service happens Wednesday to Friday with Monday and Tuesday being mise en place days. each night of service two students would be placed in the restaurant with the guest they would explain in depth each course to the guest and would have some involvement in finishing the dish in front of the customer for example pouring of a sauce, spooning a foam, or torching the skin of cured fish all the provides an experience for a guest.  Over all I really enjoyed my time in the class rotation. 
Canapes Restaurant Experience Week 3

Restaurant Saisons:
Three weeks ago, I began my final 4-week rotation at Restaurant Saisons by Chef Davy Tissot. Saisons restaurant is in the castle of IPB an incredible setting for it. The Kitchen is impeccable offering up amazing dishes using equally amazing quality of produce. The work here is very hard going you can expect to be working 16 to 17-hour days. The organisation of the kitchen is something that is a constant, everything has a home, labels must go on boxes a certain way etc some things are a bit OCD, but this organisation keeps the kitchen running efficiently.  The chef is aiming for a Michelin star and nothing, but perfection is expected from each student.

For the 4-week rotation I am working in Garde manger, I am responsible for the snacks and amuse bouche. They gave me the easy job. For the first week or so I was working with my friend Hanna also from WIT in Garde manger this was the first time we had got to work with each other since coming to France, unfortunately she left early as she had commitments back in Waterford.
Saisons kitchen

Pigeon as fresh as it gets, being prepared for the meat section.

As I said above nothing, but perfection is expected of each student working here, which in a way is good as the student is pushed to achieve the best that they can. At the restaurant you are classed as a Junior chef de Partie and everyone has responsibilities within the kitchen as well as the execution of the dishes. The students are responsible for the ordering of produce, stock take, cleaning, organisation, everyday kitchen task etc. Last week we had the pleasure of cooking for Anne-Sophie Pic a 3 Michelin star chef.

Anne-Sophie Pic April 2019
This is my final week studying at Institut Paul Bocuse and I can say that its been a very hard learning experience, some moments more enjoyable then others but at the end of the day I have learned from this experience. Success does not come without hard work but to be successful you must respect those that work for you and around you.

I believe that everything happens to teach us something. I’ve certainly had my fair share of lessons this year. If I’ve learned anything in the last year its this, the most difficult and testing of times are the ones you’ll always remember. Not  for the pain, the struggle, the tears, or the heartache but for the strength of your character and the depth of your heart.

I leave you now to return to my final week of classes, I look forward to writing my final  blog very soon on my experience over the last 12 months.

A Bientot,

Derek šŸ˜Š

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