French cuisine continues to satiate tastebuds around the globe with selections like the creamy decadence of crème brulee or a cheese drenched croque-monsieur, upholding its world-renowned reputation of exceptional culinary prowess without a snail’s pace (which eventually became a dish of escargot). Perhaps you’ve visited France, or maybe you have a longing to learn and taste what true French culture is really like. One of the best ways to explore and integrate yourself is through an culinary based internship, which are usually based in the romantic city of Paris or in stunning southern France.
Several culinary schools offer internships that not only focus on culinary skills, but also include language education and immersion. The Center for International Career Development offers a paid internship that is a 12-week program located in Montpellier that has two phases. The first phase integrates and helps interns adjust to their new French surroundings by living with a host family and attending classes for basic French language skills, while the second phase takes place at a 3-5 star hotel where interns exercise their culinary knowledge while receiving a monthly stipend. The Gastronomicom International Culinary Academy has the option for those with student visas, if you hail from an EU country you also qualify, to partake in an internship in a luxury restaurant or hotel in France. The GICA also has a French Diploma Course, which also works in phases the first three months include French cooking and language classes, followed by a four-month internship at a gourmet restaurant. The Experiment in International Living program is unique in that you can attend for the amount of weeks that works best for you, either 3,4 or 5 week programs. Compared to the other institutions, The EIL phases include a homestay in a beautiful French city or town for a number of days between 11-16 days, and their culinary course focuses on sustainability and food systems in France.
This ‘Culinary Internship Opportunities in France’ website is a helpful medium for students interested in possible internship French culinary opportunities and works in affiliation with a variety of Universities and Culinary School Placement Departments. This website is much less formal and offers a more realistic perspective on the internship programs, rather than professionally marketed institutions webpages. This site also includes recipes for French dishes such as pomme farcie to photos and testimonials from other internships around the country.
Do you have a chocolate fetish? Another, more specific culinary program can be found at Ecole Nationale Superieure De Patisserie. The ENSP’s program is the study of French Chocolate & Confectionery Arts, and takes students through a five-month course that prepares them for a two month paid internship that allows interns to practice the skills they’ve learned in the chocolate laboratory. If you have more of an interest in developing your skills as a wine connoisseur, Ducasse Education wish is based in Paris offers a course titled ‘Wine Essentials’, which is well suited for people wanting to get involved with the wine industry. It is only a month long and is comprised of training about oenology, French wine regions, wine related careers and other fundamental knowledge, which culminates in a 5 day wine tour throughout the most popular and successful wine regions.
The power of French food continues to serenade many individuals and the opportunity to study and eventually intern in a foreign kitchen is some of the best and most valuable experience you can have if you are aspiring to enter into a culinary career. The methods and techniques learned in class are truly valuable and being able to speak the local language is incredibly important, especially since there aren’t too many English speakers in France and communication in the kitchen is of utmost importance. Studying in a classroom is a cherished component of learning to become a master of food, but when it comes to flinging steaming sauce pans, chefs shouting instructions and inevitably someone burning one dish or another, the experience of working in a real restaurant or hotel kitchen is crucial to one’s expertise. The ability to survive in a French culinary establishment is an accomplishment that will undoubtedly help future chefs when it comes to managing kitchen stress, fast-paced yet accurate cooking skills and an understanding of how one of the most revered food-nations in the world operates.