Students of our culinary arts courses recently went on a three day tour of Paris to take in both culinary and cultural sights of the French capital
Students of the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts and the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Culinary Arts (WD172/WD194) this week returned from a three day tour of Paris, taking in many of the culinary and cultural iconic sights that the French capital has to offer.
Accompanied by programme leaders for the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts, Edward Hayden, BA (Hons) in Culinary Arts, programme leader, Lorain Walsh and Senior Lecturer in French and International Placement coordinator, Dr Don O’Neill, the tour began with a 4:30am visit to the world’s largest fresh produce market at Rungis, south of Paris.
According to Dr O’Neill, ‘the students got to experience first-hand how French restaurateurs purchase their produce with a tour of the various markets at the Rungis complex which included fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy produce and fresh flowers. The tour was followed by a traditional breakfast in the heart of the market which employs over 12,000 people’.
Over the course of the study tour, the students enjoyed meal experiences at well-known Parisian restaurants which included dinner at a typical bistro in the 15th arrondissement, lunch at the famed brasserie ‘Le Grand Clobert’ and a fine dining experience at the Michelin star, Alain Ducasse, restaurant, Benoit, in the heart of the Marais district.
Commenting on the value of these experiences for the students, programme leader, Lorain Walsh said that ‘enabling our students to sample varied menus at three different types of restaurant, has provided them with unique learning experiences which they will use as part of their continuing curriculum of culinary study at WIT.’
The students also enjoyed a visit to some of the best-known kitchen equipment shops in the French capital. The iconic Dehillerin store, which this year celebrates its 200th anniversary, delighted the students with its range of specialist utensils in a magnificently preserved retail environment. This was followed by visits to the equally well-stocked Mora specialist culinary store and the Grande Epicerie de Paris, gourmet retail outlet.
According to Edward Hayden, ‘one of the highlights of the study tour for many students was a visit to France’s largest Culinary School, the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française at the Ecole Ferrandi’. Chef Hayden commented that ‘it was great for our students to get a behind the scenes view of the workings of the school, visiting the various kitchens, production areas, restaurants and school shop where students sell the dishes they prepare’.
The tour also included a visit to the Eiffel Tower by night, and a walk through the city, which included historic sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville and the Centre Georges Pompidou. The students were also treated to ice cream at the renowned ice-cream maker, Berthillon on the Ile Saint-Louis, before attending the ‘Salon de la Gastronomie’ food exhibition at the Palais des Expositions.
Speaking about the importance of this international study tour for students, Head of Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality, Ray Cullen, commented that ‘internationalising the curriculum is a key objective in WIT’s Strategic Plan, and tours such as this provide fantastic learning opportunities for our students, opening their minds to other ways of seeing the world, and in this case, learning about the rich traditions associated with French cuisine’.