The young chefs on the trip had either achieved the Graduate Award or they achieved a top three finish at the Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the Year competition.
On the way to Halles Bocuse, which was named after legendary French chef Paul Bocuse, director of Grande Cuisine Steve Hobbs told the young chefs that ‘Lyon is the gastronomic centre of France’ and that they would have a great time enjoying and tasting the local cuisine.
Halles Bocuse had over 50 artisan producers of cheese, fish, meat and desserts for the young chefs to explore. After 30 minutes of exploration the young chefs gathered to enjoy a selection of cheeses, quenelles and pate croute as well as a platter of seafood.
The young chefs then had the opportunity to meet a passionate artisan chocolatier who works closely with the best producers to provide ‘exceptional and authentic experience’ of chocolate. The young chefs were given a brief explanation of the chocolate making process from bean to bar before going into the laboratory to view the equipment used and most importantly to taste the chocolate.
Hobbs said one of the aims of the culinary trip was to highlight to the young chefs that ‘sometimes it is better to work with more artisan companies’. To end the first day the young chefs visited the Per’gras restaurant in Grenoble after a short cable car ride. The chefs enjoyed a fine dining seven course meal in a local restaurant at the top of the Bastille with a great view of the city of Grenoble.
Speaking about the educational culinary trip Hobbs said: “Any travel broadens ones horizon and should be embraced – I have had the opportunity to travel extensively in my working life and it’s good to go, see, taste, smell, live and learn the experience of others.
“Lyon is the gastronomic centre of France and steeped in a fine heritage – a huge amount of what ‘chefs’ do today come, in same way from the ‘classical French kitchen’ and it’s good for the younger generation to understand and appreciate where it came from. I believe that in order to know where you are today and where you going to be in the future, you need to know and understand where you have come from. This is 100% true when it comes to food.
“It was great to be able to pass on things that I have had the great pleasure to experience to others and see them inspired by it. Just being able to spend time with the next generation of chefs and listen to them gives me great comfort, and knowledge that our amazing industry is in good hands or the future. A huge thank you to the Craft Guild of Chefs for having the confidence in us as Grande Cuisine to run such an event for such a prestigious group as Graduate Award achievers.”
On the second day the chefs visited Grande Cuisine’s purpose built Athanor factory, to see how the concept, manufacture and delivery of a bespoke one-piece cook suite is created. Grande Cuisine rely on their customers to provide them feedback 6/9/12 months after purchasing a stove in order to improve their product.
The young chefs finished the trip by visiting Brasserie Georges in Lyon where they enjoyed a three course meal. After the meal finished they had the opportunity to go into the kitchen to observe the chefs in action. More than 300,000 people a year and up to 2,000 covers a day come to eat at this historic establishment.
Steve Munkley, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, added: “As chairman of the Graduate Awards I was so proud to be part of the Grande Cuisine educational trip for the young chefs that graduated in 2019 and 2020 from the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards.
“The talented bunch of chefs got the opportunity to visit the Paul Bocuse Market, Sandrine Chappaz specialist chocolatier and the Athanor factory where they were blown away with the attention to detail when building bespoke stoves. This was all dovetailed with some fabulous foods, wines and amazing conversation. Each Graduate was a credit to our industry and bodes very well for the future.”
Grande Cuisine is hoping to deliver a similar educational trip in September 2022 to celebrate the success of more young chefs who made the Graduate Awards standard.