High on the wish list for many travelers to Paris is taking a cooking class. What a great idea: learning to cook (or honing your skills) in this world culinary capital! Either book a course, or drop a large hint that this is what you really, really want for a birthday or anniversary gift. To avoid disappointment try to book well in advance; there’s often only room on the wait lists. Here are some of our top picks for culinary schools in Paris. This list was updated in autumn 2020.
Need to Know: You may be required to mask up for your course (the Mairie de Paris rules!) and constant hand washing is necessary as safety, hygiene and health are priority with all cooking schools. It’s part of the security protocol at time of writing, but could change as governmental instructions evolve… Check directly with the schools for reopening dates and regulations.
Originally launched in 1999. “We must open our doors to all cooking enthusiasts and let them get to know, try and understand where the delicious food served to them comes from,” explains Alain Ducasse. In a beautiful private townhouse, near Passy, with wine cellar, boutique, Miele and Perene state-of-the-art equipped kitchens and sunny patio, ECAD offers courses for the whole family– there’s even classes for families to cook together. Other programs include “A Coach in the Kitchen,” “I Love Paris,” “Nature- Learn to Cook Simple, Healthy Recipes,” “Wine Tasting,” “Pastry,” “Like in a Restaurant,” and so much more. Gift certificates make a great gift for your nearest and dearest.
Wine tasting sessions from 65€, classes around 170€. 64 rue Ranelagh, 75016. Tel:+ 33 1 44 90 91 00. A
Created in 1895, this prestigious culinary school now offers a network of more than 50 schools on five continents enrolling 20,000 students annually. Each school offers its own list of culinary short courses and demonstrations. Facing the Seine in the 15th arrondissement, the new(ish) Paris headquarters is housed in a state-of-the art building with a rooftop herb gardens and Le Café Cordon Bleu.
Paris options include: Making Your Own Bread (€190), Foie Gras Workshop (€195), Food & Wine Pairings (€195), Vegetarian (€140), The Art of Sauces (€195), Market Tour & Cooking (€220), Christmas Yule Logs (€95),Les Petits Cordon Bleu for 8-12 years (€90) etc. Most classes/demonstrations include English translations and gift vouchers are available. Workshops are planned to give students as much exposure as possible to the working environment of a professional kitchen, all necessary ingredients and equipment are provided, including aprons and tea towels.
3-15 Quai Andé Citroën, 75015. Tel: + 33 1 85 65 15 00
“For several weeks each year I offer a series of hands on cooking classes in my left bank apartment on rue du Bac. The restored 1850s atelier is designed for cooking and appreciation of the gastronomic bounty of Paris. This five-day movable feast, in a comfortable English-language environment, is designed to introduce eight students to my Parisian food world,” explains Ms Wells, the prominent journalist, award-winning cookbook author, and teacher, who divides her time between Paris and Provence. Students cook with the finest seasonal produce, fish, poultry, and meat fresh from the Paris markets. The week-long program (costing $6,000) includes all visits, tastings, lunches and offers four daytime cooking classes followed by a multi-course shared meal with plenty of discussion (and tasting) of spectacular French cheeses and wine. “Each day’s program offers something different, and, in addition to the recipe instruction, we discuss cooking techniques, kitchen design and organization; give an insider’s look into Paris’s markets and boutiques; indulge in wine and olive oil tastings; visit a master baker,” says Ms Wells.
The week might include a tour of the buzzing market on Avenue President Wilson, followed by a sumptuous lunch at a Michelin three-star restaurant; a visit to Poilâne bakery with its wood-fired oven; a tasting with wine expert Juan Sanchez of La Dernière Goutte wine shop, followed by lunch in our garden (weather permitting!); and olive oil tasting, followed by hands-on class and lunch.
Go to: http://www.patriciawells.com/sample-schedule-paris to tap into the zeitgeist.
10 rue Jacob, 75007.
Re-launched when The Ritz, Paris, reopened after a fab, four-year, $220 million refurbishment. Escoffier helped transform 19th-century kitchens into respectable places to work. He banned smoking and drinking and even asking a French doctor to develop a healthy barley drink to relieve the unbearable heat of the kitchen. “The toque/hat and neckerchief were introduced to prevent sweat from dropping into the preparations,” explains Executive chef Nicolas Sale. Most importantly, Escoffier brought a sense of calm and order to the kitchen; his cookbook, Le Guide Culinaire, is still considered the go-to cookery manual for many chefs today. Whichever course you choose or offer a gift certificate, there’s no doubt some of The Ritz magic will rub off. Escoffier left a legacy of culinary writings and recipes that are indispensable to modern cooks. And, here’s a tip, when you’re piping – don’t be afraid to hold your breath!
15, place Vendôme, 75001. Tel: +33 (0P1 43 16 30 50. Email: [email protected]
Established by the late Gaston Lenôtre, this culinary school boasts a star-studded cast of professionals such as ex-Ritz chef Michel Roth, Sommelier Oliver Poussier and Guy Krenzer (Double MOF – Meilleur Ouvrier de France). Located aboard a barge facing Notre Dame de Paris, the school welcomes small groups, and students acquire the reflexes and tricks of leading chefs. For groups of friends, colleagues or families, Lenôtre provides 200m2 of fully equipped professional and amateur facilities to learn recipes they can take away or enjoy on site. The atmosphere’s friendly; among the 100 or so courses there’s everything from techniques for cooking fish (€140); secrets of bistro favorites (€120); menu Wok Thai (from €120); Perfume of Italy (€120); La Tropezienne (€140); Team Building and Lenôtre’s famous classics.
Quai Henri IV, 75004. Tel: + 33 (0)1 30 81 44 96
Masks are optional for the online video classes! Choose from Croissants & Breakfast pastry, Classic French Sauces, Macarons, Souffles (€30 per class). This is step-by-step instruction, and, once a video is purchased it can be watched and referenced as many times as you want! However, La Cuisine Paris doesn’t just offer fabulous cooking classes; they also escort city food tours introducing students to, say, Le Marais district. Discover the myriad foodie shops then cook a mouthwatering 4-course meal back at the school (€165). Or, spend the morning “like a local” at Maubert, Monge or Bastille Markets (€165). French Holiday Cuisine – Thanksgiving in Paris (€130) sounds fun and, for wine and cheese lovers, there’s Cheese and Wine Discovery. For dessert classes, students are welcome to eat on site, but La Cuisine provides boxes for you to take home and show off your hard work. And, the €69 gift voucher makes a fabulous present. English spoken.
80, Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004. Tel: + 33 1 40 51 78 18
This Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) has worked with the greats (Le Royal Monceau, Lucas Carton, Le Crillon) but he loves to teach, share, pass on his knowledge. His kitchen is near the picturesque Place des Vosges in the heart of the Marais. The team are most welcoming and will plan courses, in English, to suit you; call them to discuss. Buy products at the nearby Marché des Enfants-Rouges and then transform them into a delicious three course meal; pop in for a Saturday morning brunch; there are so many possibilities that take place around chef Martial’s wide wooden table. “Change the world while eating a delicious dish,” is his mantra. Chef Martial arranges courses on request as the office stays open year-round. “The world is your lobster!” he says.
80 rue des Tournelles, 75003. Tel: + 33 1 44 54 02 18
ChefsSquare (formerly L’Atelier des Sens)
Natacha Burtinovic founded L’Atelier des Sens to allow professional chefs to share their know-how in an environment close to everyday life. The concept grew, expanded to Lyon, and is now known as ChefsSquare. Choose from three locations in Paris. Atelier Bastille is located in a former artist’s studio at 40 rue Sedaine in the 11th. Meanwhile Atelier Beaubourg, at 10 rue du Bourg l’Abbé in the 3rd, is next to Les Halles, the former market once referred to as the “Belly of Paris.” The atelier is situated in an industrial designer gallery space divided into two levels. And Atelier Haussmann, 32 rue Vignon in the 9th, is near Galeries Lafayette, at the rear of L’Atelier des Sens boutique, well stocked with cookery books, kitchen equipment, and essential supplies. There’s a wide array of classes and immersive culinary experiences. Get out on the field chez Aurore et Louise for “Une Immersion en patisserie” at La Cave a Desserts €150. Join the Dim Sum Party (€68); sharpen your knife skills (€92); Pizza Party (€68).
This is a really cool space in the trendy 10th arrondissement, located in a former pottery studio dating from the 19th century. Situated on two levels, the Purgatoire-54 is devoted to art and cooking. There’s a warm welcome from the talented chef Alain Cirelli (who’s worked at prestigious posts at Lasserre, Michel Guerard, Alain Dutournier etc). Classes are in French but “most of our chefs speak English and really it’s the gestures you’re learning,” says chef Cirelli. “It’s important that students leave time (about 40 minutes) to relax and eat after the course, you can take a 2 hour or 3 hour lesson,” he says. As well as contemporary exhibitions mixing art and cuisine, there are courses in mixology. Average fee 2hours €65 – 3 hours €85
24 rue Condorcet, 75009. Tel: + 33 1 48 78 77 13
Created by chef Olivier Berté, this cooking workshop takes place in a handsome hôtel particulier. Groups are limited to eight people and menus are themed by season, with market visits, pastry workshops, etc. Learn how to construct a full dinner– with starter, main and dessert– and then eat it with the chef, washed down with lots of wine! Want to learn the mysteries of molecular cuisine? It’s here (€100). If you love cooking and traveling, chef Berté also organizes unique three-day trips for up to 10, to, say, southern Morocco or Krakow, Poland, with visits to the market, restaurants, Chopin’s house, and more. Contact the office for details or e-mail: [email protected].com
English spoken. Why not gift an Olivier Berté Video Conference (€240)? Counting calories? Why not try the “Detox, diet Lunch Box Cooking” (€30)? 7 rue Paul Lelong, 75002. Tel: + 33 1 40 26 1400.
Chef Guy Martin
Chef tells us: “I sold my school but I’m still offering private lessons, depending on requests. The prices are based on where I cook and also the number of people and number of days. I have requests from Asia, USA, and of course in France.” Who wouldn’t want to cook like superchef Guy Martin? He holds two Michelin stars at the iconic Le Grand Véfour in central Paris. Contact him by email on: [email protected]
Want to be inspired by more French foodie experiences and enjoy classic French food, wine and recipes? Head to our sister website on Taste of France here.
Lead photo credit : École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse/ Photographer Pierre Monetta