It’s our 3rd week here at Gastronomicom in southern France, and I think we’re finally getting a handle on the overall operations. Upon arrival a student takes a French test to determine their fluency and then placed in a group according to their ability. The range is basically from butcher to almost fluent; I fall into the former. Students have 3 hours of French sometime in the day and then usually 3 hours of either Cuisine (savory cooking) or Pastry (breads and sweets), or Sommelier (wine appreciation and drinking heavily).
Although, some people have opted out of French and taken up another course that they originally were not signed up for. My new friends Trudy and Kyle have done just that, where Trudy was originally in pastry and now has added cuisine after dropping French, and her husband who was just in cuisine has now also added pastry….so now they’re a mad cooking duo, making delicious meals with beautiful dessert to boot! I see a potential weight problem forming there, so I’ll stick with my original plan of cuisine and French.
It’s been a challenge for most for various reasons. First there are the language difficulties. Not only do most of us not know French, but also most are ESL (English as a Second Language)….including the instructors, who are teaching in English. Some of the countries represented are: Zimbabwe, Australia, Estonia, Brazil, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, India, England and Greece! So essentially everyone’s mother tongue is one that is never being spoken throughout the day, while we bumble through both English and French hoping to get our messages across. One of the more ironic situations is there is a French born student here and he can’t understand the cuisine chef during our 3 hour lesson because the chef is teaching in English (sort of) and the French student doesn’t speak any English….because he’s French, in France, at a French school cooking French food.