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When my friend Laurence invited me to partake in a “dejeuner” together at the infamous French cooking school called Ferrandi Paris, I agreed to go. Always up for an adventure, I really wasn’t sure what I had agreed to but I never pass up a chance to dive into a French gastronomic experience. Would you?
What I discovered before the luncheon date was that Ferrandi Paris, formally known as Ecole Grégoire-Ferrandi, is indeed a leading professional training school of cooking, culinary arts and hospitality.
Ferrandi Paris has three dining rooms (restaurants d’application Ferrandi) where the students have the opportunity to put their learning into practice. We had a reservation at Le Premier, one of the two Paris training restaurants at Ecole Ferrandi in the 6th arrondissement.
The chefs-in-training creating our dining experience and the servers, in hospitality training, were being watched and evaluated by their teachers. There were definitely a few shaking hands!
Not Always As Expected At Ferrandi
Two days before our November luncheon date, Laurence received a call saying that the lunch was going to be a bit more special and expensive than anticipated. The lunch was going to include nine courses and be paired with local Parisian artisanal beers from BAPBAP and exquisite tea from Pascal Hamour. For an extra 15€, were we still interested in keeping our reservation? Laurence, not a real beer fan, and I decided we would trust what the chefs were creating.
The anticipation mounted as we waited with a group of people clustered on the sidewalk, walked through the courtyard of the cooking school and mounted the staircase to Le Premier.
We handed our coats over to the cloakroom and were ushered into Le Premier where our elegantly laid table for two awaited us.
And then the fun began.
The menu for a Sweety Lunch was laid out before us. What was immediately apparent was that this event was in partnership with Chef François Daubinet, chef Patissier from Fauchon Paris.
Ferrandi Paris Course #1: Tartiflette
Before my luncheon at Ferrandi Paris, I had never heard of tartiflette. After wandering through many Christmas markets I can now recognize it instantly. It usually looks like a big pan of scalloped potatoes. Tartiflette is from the Savoy region in the French Alps and is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese (on my list of must-taste French cheeses), bacon, and onions.
This little bite of tartiflette paired with champagne (les bulles) was just the right amount. The outside was crunchy and the melted reblochon, the superstar of this first dish, was waiting to make its grand appearance. Eaten with our fingers, the Briochette Garnie Façon Tartiflette got the taste buds revved up. Ouf! What a start to the Sweety Lunch!
Ferrandi Paris Course #2: Cauliflower Cream Soup
The Velouté de Chou-Fleur, Sarrasin Caramélisé (Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Caramelized Buckwheat) exploded with flavour. Cauliflower is not always my favourite but this creamy soup packed a subtle and alluring punch. Our waiter advised us to dip the cold slice of raw cauliflower into the warm velouté. Ah. Ben oui. Formidable!
Our waiter very efficiently mixed and shook the stunning orange cocktail “Smoky Sweet Chestnut with Black Tea Lapsang Souchong” before us. A surprising but perfect pairing.
Ferrandi Paris Course #3: Carpaccio Of Scallops
Before tasting the Carpaccio de Saint-Jacques, our waiter carefully explained everything on the plate. He was clearly a bit nervous and had to check the notes in his pocket. His teacher was watching him with an eagle eye.
The yellow flower tasted of anise, the crunchy squid ink rice chip, and the citrus mayonnaise. It was a melt in your mouth course paired with a “Blanc Bec” beer from BAPBAP.
Ferrandi Paris Course #4: Vegetable Purées
The colours alone made this vegetable purée with lemon caviar and Focaccia a winner. The subtle and distinct flavours of each coloured purée tasted separately and together were a sensation for the taste buds. Each flower petal and fresh herb held a story and were carefully selected to balance and enhance the flavours of the purées.
Ferrandi Paris Course #5: Mini Truffled Brie
Should we just fall out of our chairs?
This textured sphere with a tiny gold leaf set on top arrived before us. Our adorable server wet the knife in hot water and in grand style sliced it into two equal pieces.
Brie and truffles. And mascarpone. Light. Airy. Simply divine.
I am not a dark beer fan but this course was paired with a coffee-flavoured Porter beer, Bière Toast, from BABPBAP. Whoever dreamed up this pairing was spot on.
Ferrandi Paris Course #6: Granité Fraîcheur
The sorbet of herbs perched atop the granité was a refreshing and delightful course. Our server was well versed in explaining the leaves, flowers and what region of France they came from.
Ferrandi Paris Course #7: Gnocchi Vanilla with Ice Cream
Chocolate and I are always happy together. Add in a scoop of vanilla ice cream, vanilla gnocchi, an emulsion of tonka, and a little sablé hidden underneath and this dessert gets a round of “Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm” around the table!
Ferrandi Paris Course #8: Dessert with Toast
How pretty is this? Perhaps this dish was created just to be photographed but once set before you it is obligatory to savour. Or as they say in France, “On attaque!”
English cream, toast wrapped in sablé, toast and ice cream placed on top… a showstopper in looks, taste and surprisingly light.
Ferrandi Paris Course #9: Pâte de Fruits
A small citrus square of Pâte de Fruits rounded out the Sweety Lunch. A fine end to an exquisite meal.
After the final course is served, the grand chefs from behind the scene and the chefs-in-training in the kitchen come into the dining room to exchange a few words with the guests.
Make Reservations At the Restaurants d’Application Ferrandi:
If you are keen to dine. at one of the training restaurants at Ferrandi Paris, be sure to check the websites frequently. As the spots open to reserve, they are quickly scooped up by Parisians in the know.
Make a Reservation at the Restaurant Le 28
Look here for which dates are available and book your dejeuner for 35€ (without drinks) at Ferrandi online.
Make a Reservation at the Restaurant Le Premier
Look here for available dates and book your dejeuner for 30€ (without drinks) at Ferrandi online.
More Paris Travel Info…
Gastronomy in Paris:
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the most delectable pâtisseries in Paris. Have you tried all these classic pâtisseries, like the Paris Brest?
These spots will have you savouring the best croissants in Paris.
Looking for a great fromagerie in Paris? Here are my top choices for fromageries. Read up on French cheeses so you will have an idea of what you want to order. If putting together a cheese board, here are my suggestions.
There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. Suggestions for restaurants in the Marais is a popular post along with the best places to eat in Canal Saint-Martin.
If you are in Paris and gluten-free, luckily it is much easier to satisfy the taste buds than it was years ago. Here is my go-to on gluten-free delights.
Looking for a top cocktail bar in Paris? Why not pop by the Hemingway Bar for a legendary cocktail and some literary inspiration!
DELICIOUS TIP: If you are in Paris in January, don’t miss out on this very traditional pâtisserie that only makes an appearance once a year. Find out more here.
Exploring Paris and Beyond:
PARIS: Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller. And this guide on the Paris arrondissements will help you plan the best trip ever!