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Odds and Ends

Le Cordon Bleu

The tastes you savour in France need not recede into memory. Le Cordon Bleu, the century-old, standard-setter for classical French cuisine (Julia Child earned her toque blanche here), offers a variety of courses at their Paris headquarters.

Aimed at both professionals and dedicated amateurs, the lecture-demonstrations are given in French by master chefs, with simultaneous translation into English. Practical courses allow you to chop, whisk and cream at your own workstation under the intimate supervision of a chef and an assistant.

Programs range in intensity from four-day workshop sessions focusing on a single aspect of cookery, such as bread-baking or holiday menus, to the 11-week classic cycles in cuisine and pastry-making. Single demonstrations, groups workshops, private classes and children's courses are also available.

You might, for delicious instance, spend three hours watching Laurent Duchene, master pastry chef, create a trio of restaurant desserts: a hot chocolate tarte with diced pears and pistachio sauce; a crispy chocolate biscuit with sliced pears, caramel ginger sauce and vanilla cream; and cinnamon shortbread with apricot compote, almond cream and lavender juice. So how is it that Monsieur le Chef is skinny? "Don't count your egg yolks before they are cooked," he says sternly. Remember that in France the portions are small.

And not to fret if there aren't any lavender blossoms in your home port. Cordon Bleu has students from more than 50 countries; their aim is to teach the techniques that will let you make the most of your local products, whatever they may be.

Le Cordon Bleu Paris, 8 Rue Léon Delhomme, 75015 Paris, France. Tel. +33 (0)1 53 68 22 50. www.cordonbleu.net/flashindex.html

--Nancy Weber

Fall 1995