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Le Cordon Bleu in Paris

Serving English cooking. The photo is about 10 years old.

If you saw Julie and Julia, in which Meryl Streep plays Julia Child, you saw the film version of what Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris was like in the 1940s. It’s been 10 years since I was in Paris, but I came across these photos recently while pulling files off an old computer.

The event in the photos is an international buffet cooked by the students at Le Cordon Bleu. They make foods from their native cultures. A friend of mine was a student at Le Cordon Bleu at the time, and he took me to this event. I was not surprised to see that the Asian students’ tables were mobbed, while there was only a small group around the English students’ table. That kind of snobbery is a shame, because the English students had cooked an amazing example of an English Christmas dinner.

Le Cordon Bleu does these international buffets several times a year, I believe. They are mobbed.

Serving Asian cooking…


I’ve eaten in lots of places — Bangkok, New Delhi, London, Ireland, Denmark, and all over Mexico and the United States. Paris is not my favorite food city. Parisian food is just too rich and meaty to appeal to me, so I found myself going to Asian restaurants or to this vegetarian restaurant near Notre Dame, Le Grenier de Notre-Dame. The vegetarian food there is only so-so. Americans do vegetarian food much better. The cities with the best vegetarian food, in my opinion, are New York and Los Angeles. The food in Ireland is about a million times better than the food in England, especially outside of London.

I don’t aspire to, or fawn over, haute cuisine or trendy food. To me, it’s all about honest foods skillfully prepared. I’ve been asked a few times to name the restaurant that I’ve most enjoyed. That’s pretty easy: Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Alice Waters‘ restaurant.

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