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The Culinary Legacy Unveiled: The Untold Truth of Le Cordon Bleu

The Untold Truth of Le Cordon Bleu: A Storied Culinary Institution

Le Cordon Bleu, the renowned Parisian cooking school, has a rich history and prestigious reputation in the world of culinary arts. From its groundbreaking beginnings to its global influence, Le Cordon Bleu has shaped the culinary industry and produced some of the most talented chefs and culinary experts.

The vision of a pioneering woman

In the late 19th century, professional cooking in France was dominated by men. But Le Cordon Bleu challenged that norm from the start, because it was founded by a pioneering woman, Marthe Distel. Distel, a French journalist and lover of fine food, founded the publication “La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu” and later expanded her project to offer free cooking classes to her subscribers. This led to the birth of the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in 1895, with Charles Driessens, one of Paris’ most prominent chefs, teaching the first cooking class.

A legacy of excellence

Le Cordon Bleu quickly gained local and international recognition for the quality of its culinary training. The school’s initial focus was on everyday cooking, known as “la cuisine pratique,” but soon expanded to include instruction in the elegant and refined “haute cuisine classique” served in fine dining establishments. Over the years, Le Cordon Bleu has attracted students from all over the world, reflecting its global appeal and diverse student body.

Julia Child: The Famous Alumna

One of Le Cordon Bleu’s most famous and influential alumnae is Julia Child, the American culinary icon. Child enrolled in the school’s 10-month program in 1949, with her tuition paid in full by the U.S. government because of her previous work during World War II. Despite being the only woman in her class, Child excelled and graduated in 1950. Her experience at Le Cordon Bleu laid the groundwork for her groundbreaking cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which introduced French cuisine to an American audience.

The Culinary Education at Le Cordon Bleu

Le Cordon Bleu is known for its comprehensive culinary training, covering both the savory and sweet aspects of French cuisine. The school offers the Grand Diplôme, a prestigious degree that combines the Diplôme de Cuisine and the Diplôme de Pâtisserie, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of French culinary techniques. Students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities equipped with the highest quality tools and utensils.

A global culinary influence

Although Le Cordon Bleu was founded in Paris, it has expanded its reach around the world. With 35 locations in 20 countries, the school attracts students from around the world who want to learn the art of French cuisine. While its U.S. locations closed in 2016 due to changes in financial aid regulations, Le Cordon Bleu remains a household name in America thanks to its famous alumni who have made significant contributions to the culinary industry.


The Untold Truth of Le Cordon Bleu reveals a culinary institution that has shaped the world of cooking and produced extraordinary chefs. From its founding by a pioneering woman to its global influence, Le Cordon Bleu continues to uphold its prestigious reputation as the guardian of French culinary technique. Whether you aspire to become a professional chef or simply want to enhance your culinary skills, Le Cordon Bleu offers a world-class education that combines tradition, innovation and a passion for the culinary arts.


Founded in 1895, Le Cordon Bleu is one of the first modern culinary schools. It began as a free cooking class offered by Marthe Distel, a French journalist, and later evolved into a renowned culinary institution with a global presence.

Who are some famous graduates of Le Cordon Bleu?

Famous Le Cordon Bleu alumni include Julia Child, Yotam Ottolenghi, Ming Tsai, and Gastón Acurio, among others. These esteemed culinary personalities have made significant contributions to the culinary world and have helped elevate the reputation of Le Cordon Bleu.

What programs does Le Cordon Bleu offer?

Le Cordon Bleu offers a range of programs for both aspiring culinary professionals and amateur chefs. Its most comprehensive degree is the Grand Diplôme, which combines the Diplôme de Cuisine and the Diplôme de Pâtisserie. The school also offers shorter courses in bread specialties, wine and spirits, and nutrition.

What makes Le Cordon Bleu different from other culinary schools?

Le Cordon Bleu’s legacy and reputation set it apart from other culinary schools. It is known for its emphasis on French culinary techniques, its distinguished chef instructors, and its state-of-the-art facilities. The school’s long history and global influence contribute to its unique position in the culinary world.

Does Le Cordon Bleu only focus on French cuisine?

While Le Cordon Bleu is renowned for its expertise in French cuisine, it also offers a comprehensive education in both the savory and sweet aspects of cooking. The school’s programs cover a wide range of culinary techniques and cuisines, providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the culinary arts.

Can anyone apply to Le Cordon Bleu?

Yes, anyone with a passion for cooking can apply to Le Cordon Bleu. The school welcomes aspiring chefs, culinary enthusiasts and individuals who want to improve their culinary skills. Admission requirements may vary by program and campus, so it’s best to check the school’s official website for detailed application guidelines.

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