February 2010 issue

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French & cooking

Students who appreciate French gastronomy will delight in a course that focuses on French cooking techniques as well as language acquisition. Nicola Hancox explores some of the different options available in France.

It’s no secret that the French are passionate about their food and language schools all over France have developed add-ons that give students the opportunity to experience this passion first-hand.

The city of Lyon is synonymous with good food and fine dining and students at local school, Lyon Bleu International, can take a French & Cuisine course with 15 lessons of French per week as well as two practical workshops, visits to places of gastronomic interest and an evening meal at a traditional Lyonnaise restaurant. Frederique Di Tullio, Director of the school, notes that the course made its debut in March last year and is “quite popular”.

At French in Normandy in Rouen, students can opt for one of two French and leisure programmes; Gourmet French (comprising language lessons in the morning and three afternoon sessions tasting local produce) or French and Cuisine. The latter is run in conjunction with a regional cookery school where students “have lunch, then a demo and then a practical” explains Eleri Maitland at the school. Aside from the language plus courses, the school also runs a series of French and Professional Vocational Training options, including work placements, that are particularly popular with those keen to pursue a career in hospitality.

For many, this type of academic programming is a relatively new venture. Christine Barge from Cavilam in Vichy says that they launched their French and Gastronomy programme in the summer of 2009. “We only had six participants [to begin with] but they were all very satisfied with the course,” she says. Meanwhile, at the Institut Européen in Montpellier, Damien Boucard relates that increased demand led to the introduction of a French plus cooking course in November 2009. “It is too early to know if it will be successful but we are very confident it will be,” he notes.

However, at Ecole des Trois Ponts in Grand Roanne, Valeria Perez asserts they have offered a cooking option from the very beginning. “The school has been running for 18 years, our French courses are popular and the combination of French and cooking is part of our reputation”, she observes.

With demand picking up, providers plan to harness newer markets by being adventurous with course content. According to its programme guide, students at Cavilam can take seminars in “the history of French gastronomy, traditional and country recipes, wine, bread and cheese, restaurant reviews and guides and great French chefs from the nineteenth century onwards”, while, hands-on wine tasting classes are on offer at the Institut Cesar Langues in Montpellier. Ienke Keijzer at the school explains that as well as learning how to make wine, students are given the opportunity to visit a local vineyard where they can quiz experts about the wine-making process.

Another popular alternative is French plus tasting courses where students are encouraged to sample local delicacies. “We thought that mature students would enjoy food and wine themes and a hands-on approach meeting shepherds, tasting their cheeses, tasting different olive oils that a producer proposes and enjoying the variety of local wine and seafood,” says Claire Wakely at Au Clair du Sud in Montpellier. She adds that feedback thus far has been extremely positive with plenty of students signing up again.

The beauty of these types of courses is that they have wide appeal and according to Andrew Kinselle from LSF Montpellier, there is real diversity where uptake is concerned. “We have all sorts of ages and nationalities for this course, male and female, from 18-year-old gap year students to mature students,” he says. However, some providers have observed a definite pattern in enrolments. “[Students] are normally around 25 years old, mainly Asian, in particular Japanese and Korean,” says Virginia Vias from Ifalpes in Annecy. Basma Jebon from Université de Stendhal Grenoble III – which runs a two-week French and cooking course in June – agrees, noting a distinctly Asian following while Boucard at the Institut Européen has seen large numbers of females enrolling on the course. Although, he adds, men are starting to take more of an interest.

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The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
MEI Ireland  
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences  
International House
      World Organisation  
British Boarding
      Schools Workshops  


LTM Digital  
Your World on

Office de Tourisme

Twin Group  
English Bay College

Ability Education  
English Australia  

Access International
      English Language
Canadian &
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English Bay College
Global Village  
Public Schools of the
      Canadian Rockies  
IH Tremblant /
      Explorencia Centre  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada  
Public Schools of
      the Canadian Rockies
Red Leaf Student
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Richmond School
      District #38  
Rocky Mountain
      School District  
Saint Mary's
      Kootenay School
Stewart College
       of Languages  
Vancouver English

IH Cairo  

      Language Schools  
Beet Language
Cambridge Academy
      Of English  
      Education Group  
Churchill House  
Devon School Of
Discovery Summer  
Eastbourne School
      Of English  
Eckersley Oxford  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
English Studio  
Excel English  
Frances King School
      of English  
Hove College
ILS English  
International House
      World Organisation
Kaplan Aspect  
Kings Colleges  
Lake School of
Lewis School of
LAL Language and
(The) Language
Living Learning
(The) London School
      of English  
Malvern House
      College London  
Millfield English
      Language Holiday
Professionals UK  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburgas
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
Twin Group  
University of Essex -  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

Accent Francais  
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Office de Tourisme

BWS Germanlingua
F+U Academy of
inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

ATC Language and
Language College
Cork English
MEI Ireland  
The Linguaviva

Alpha School of
Clubclass Residential
      Language School  
Easy School of
Feltom Malta  
Global Village
      English Centre  
Inlingua Malta  
ETI Malta  

Rotorua English
      Language Academy
Worldwide School
      of English  

EAC Language
      Centres and Activity

EC Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape
      Town- One World
      Language school  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town  
Interlink School of
International House
      Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  
Language Teaching
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  

Boston School of
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Inlingua Language
IH New York  
NYC Language
University of
      California Riverside  
Zoni Language

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