The Ottawa campus of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, the institute’s first LCB campus outside of Europe and the only one in North America, has reported a huge increase in interest from professionals from other fields who have crossed over to be a part of the culinary industry.
The staffing struggles experienced by restaurants and foodservice establishments have been under a harsh spotlight during the pandemic, with many industry analysts reporting that workers have been leaving the industry for others.
However, it seems that there is still plenty of interest in a culinary career.
Le Cordon Bleu says it is seeing a spike in applications from mid-career workers looking to get into an industry that is currently starved for kitchen workers.
“I’ve seen lawyers, accountants, HR managers, people with military backgrounds – people from all walks of life,” Abhishek Sharma, the sales and recruitment manager at the Ottawa campus, told the Ottawa Business Journal. “The common denominator here is that they should have a passion for culinary arts. That’s what sustains them.”
The OBJ reports that around 90 students are now enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu, a figure that is rebounding after a mid-pandemic dip. Sharma says his office is getting three or four requests a week from restaurants looking for graduates who can start immediately.
Le Cordon Bleu, the advanced industry standard for vocational and higher education programs in culinary arts and hotel management worldwide, trains more than 20,000 students of over 100 nationalities annually.
The Ottawa campus, open in 1988 in the capital’s historic Munross Mansion, offers four terms a year, including a summer intake starting in July that still has spots available. No prior cooking or culinary experience is a prerequisite to enrol at the prestigious institute. Upon completion of the program, students are welcomed into Le Cordon Bleu’s active network of graduates, chefs, and alumni.
Each Le Cordon Bleu course is offered at basic, intermediate, and superior certificate levels with program highlights such as small class sizes, one-on-one mentorship by world-class chef instructors, industry engagement, and career-enhancing networking opportunities.
Course selections include Cuisine (a combination of French traditions, global flavours, and current trends), Bakery, Danish Pastries & Artisan Breads, Gourmet & Short Courses, Gastronomy & Nutrition, Pastry & Confectionery, and Culinary Arts & Business.
Each course consists of theoretical lessons, chef demonstrations, and kitchen practicals to learn and master French culinary skills and techniques and eventually use these learning to create one’s own unique style and inspired take on classic and modern recipes.
“We are inspired every day watching how far our students come in such a short period of time” says Le Cordon Bleu Cuisine Instructor & Executive Chef of Signatures Restaurant, Yannick Anton. “Watching students with no prior culinary experience come in here and turn their passion for cooking into a career is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”