Le Cordon Bleu

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Le Cordon Bleu
Le Cordon Bleu logo.jpg
Established 1895
Students 20,000
Address Worldwide
Nickname LCB
Website www.cordonbleu.edu

Le Cordon Bleu [lə kɔʁdɔ̃ blø] (French for "The Blue Ribbon") is the world's largest hospitality education institution, with over 50 schools on five continents serving 20,000 students annually.[1] Its education focus is on hospitality management, culinary arts, and gastronomy.


Duc de Saint-Aignan holding the Blue Ribbon with the Order of the Holy Spirit.

The origin of the school name may come from the French Royal and Catholic Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint Esprit. This was an select group of the French Nobility that had been knighted, the first creation of Royal Knights at the French Court was performed in 1576. The French Order of the Holy Spirit was for many centuries the most important highest distinction of the French Kingdom, each member was awarded the Cross of the Holy Spirit, which hung from a blue silk ribbon. According to one story, this group became known for its extravagant and luxurious banquets, known as "cordons bleus", at the time of the French Revolution, the monarchy and the Order were abolished, but the name remained synonymous with the excellent French cooking. Another theory has it that the blue ribbon simply became synonymous with excellence, and this was later applied to other fields such as cooking.[2]

The name was adopted by a French culinary magazine, La Cuisinière Cordon Bleu, founded by Marthe Distel in the late 19th century,[2] the magazine began offering lessons by some of the best chefs in France. This grew to become a cooking school that opened in Paris in 1895 and which became recognized as one of the most elite cooking schools in the world, the school closed during the German occupation of Paris (1940–44). After the war, Madame Elisabeth Brassart relaunched the school both on rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris and at the Chateau de Montjean.[citation needed]

Brassart managed the school until 1984; at the age of 87 she retired. She sold the school to the previous owner, André J. Cointreau, a descendant of both the Cointreau and Rémy Martin dynasties.[citation needed]

International campuses[edit]

In 1933, former student Dione Lucas helped to open a school under the Le Cordon Bleu name in London, England;[3] in 1988, shortly after buying Le Cordon Bleu, Cointreau[4] purchased the London school, and has since launched schools in Adelaide and Sydney, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; Ottawa, Canada; Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama, Japan; Lima, Peru; Mexico City, Mexico; and Bangkok, Thailand. Le Cordon Bleu was due to open its first rural outpost with partner UCOL in Martinborough, New Zealand in early 2009, but the deal fell through, causing controversy there;[5] in total, more than 20,000 students attend a Cordon Bleu school each year. Le Cordon Bleu has also expanded, issuing cookbooks and a line of kitchenware.[citation needed]

United States closure[edit]

Le Cordon Bleu school in Ottawa, Canada

In the United States, 16 schools have operated under the Le Cordon Bleu North America name through a marketing relationship with the Career Education Corporation (CEC), a for-profit education company.[6][7][8] Their deal in 2009 was estimated to be worth $135 million.[9]

However, in 2015 CEC attempted to sell the 16 campuses, but failed to find a buyer.[7][10][11] It announced on 16 December 2015 that it will close all 16 Le Cordon Bleu campuses in the United States in September 2017.[10][12][7] CEC also announced then that it will stop accepting new students in January 2016, and that its current students will be taught out by 2017,[10][7] the North American campuses of Le Cordon Bleu generated $172.6 million in revenue and $66.6 million of operating losses in calendar year 2014.[13]

In June 2016, The Securities and Exchange Commission requested documents and information regarding Career Education's fourth quarter 2014 classification of its Le Cordon Bleu campuses.[14]

Other programs[edit]

Apart from the culinary programs, Le Cordon Bleu also offers hospitality management education with up to 2000 students studying bachelor's or master's degrees, they have master's degrees in Korea and Australia and an on-line gastronomy tourism program. Their Bachelor programs in Hotel Management, Restaurant Management, Food Entrepreneurship and Wine Entrepreneurship programs are delivered in Mexico, Australia, Peru, and Korea.[15]

Aside from the CEC-run schools, each Cordon Bleu school offers its own list of culinary short courses, matching local demand. Most diploma programs consist of three ten-week courses; three in "cuisine" and three in "pâtisserie" (pastry making). Each course leads to the award of a certificate at basic, intermediate, or advanced level. Students who complete all three levels in the same field are awarded the Diplôme de Cuisine or the Diplôme de Pâtisserie, those who complete all six courses are awarded the Grand Diplôme. The "Grand Diplome" is one of the few culinary credentials that signify mastery of both pastry and culinary fundamentals.[citation needed]

Modern issues[edit]

Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris

Following Cointreau's purchase of the school, Le Cordon Bleu began to clamp down on unauthorized use of its name, as one example, in 2006, Cordon Bleu threatened legal action against a small family-owned restaurant in Ste. Anne, Manitoba, Canada, for trademark infringement. Although the restaurant had been operating under the name "Cordon Bleu" since 1963, and the owners asserted that no one could have mistakenly believed any connection between their "little hick restaurant" with the corporate giant, they felt that taking the issue to court would have bankrupted them, as a result, the Ste. Anne owners agreed to change their name and reached an undisclosed settlement with the larger company to pay for new signage and other costs.[16]

In 2008, a student at the London school reportedly pulled out a chef's knife and threatened to kill himself after being told that he'd failed his Basic Cuisine exam. London papers reported that the ordeal led to a four-hour standoff with police.[17]

In 2017, another student, who had spent her life savings of £40,000 in fees for the course, sued the college citing constant criticism, bullying, a money making attitude, and unfairness.[18]

In books and films[edit]

In her memoir My Life in France (Knopf), Julia Child, aided by her husband's great-nephew Alex Prud'homme, discusses her experiences attending the school in the late 1940s.[19] This is one part of Julia Child's life portrayed in the feature film Julie & Julia (2009).

In 2007, an American writer, Kathleen Flinn, wrote The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, the first insider's account of attending the modern Paris flagship school.[20] Flinn's best-selling memoir recounts the modern day-to-day trials of the program, and provides a further history of the school, the film rights for Flinn's book were purchased by the TV division of 20th Century Fox; an adaptation is expected to be filmed in Paris.

Le Cordon Bleu school in London

In 1991, Le Cordon Bleu published its first English-language cookbook, Le Cordon Bleu at Home, as printed in the inside cover, the book:

In the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, villain Francisco Scaramanga says of his manservant Nick Nack, "He's a Cordon Bleu."

Another book about attending Le Cordon Bleu was published in 2008 in the United Kingdom, Sacré Cordon Bleu: What the French Know About Cooking by Michael Booth (Jonathan Cape). Like Flinn's book, it also features numerous classic French recipes.

It is often assumed that the character Audrey Hepburn played in the 1954 film Sabrina attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris; however, the school's name is never mentioned in the film. She did visit the school for the film's launch.[21]

In the Artemis Fowl series, the Butler Family is taught Cordon Bleu cooking as part of their training to protect a Fowl, this is why Artemis has no other servants because Butler can do it all.[citation needed]

List of affiliated schools[edit]


Alumni of the Paris location include Julia Child and Giada De Laurentiis. Alumni of the Los Angeles location include David Burtka

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". Le Cordon Bleu. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b Le Cordon Bleu. "A Brief History". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved 2012-01-23.  correlates to accounts in the school's introductory text of Le Cordon Bleu at Home and other books.
  3. ^ "Dione Lucas - A tribute". Adgitadiaries.blog-city.com. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  4. ^ A message from school president André J. Cointreau at Le Cordon Bleu Archived August 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Wairarapa Times-Age: UCOL pulls plug on cuisine school[dead link]
  6. ^ Cordonbleu.edu/usa: Official Le Cordon Bleu USA website . accessed 21 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Inside Higher Ed Blog: "Career Ed Corp Closing Down Le Cordon Bleu Operations", 17 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Le Cordon Bleu schools in the U.S". cordonbleu.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  9. ^ http://www.careered.com/press-room/press-releases/culinary/cec-announces-purchase-of-lcb-brand
  10. ^ a b c Cordonbleu.edu/usa: Le Cordon Bleu USA discontinuing in the USA acknowledgment . accessed 21 December 2015.
  11. ^ Davis, Janel (December 19, 2014). "Le Cordon Bleu culinary colleges for sale". ajc.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2015-12-18.  |Retrieved December 17, 2015
  13. ^ "Owner Shutting Down 16 Le Cordon Bleu Campuses - CoStar Group". www.costar.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  14. ^ http://seekingalpha.com/filing/3132365
  15. ^ "Le Cordon Bleu course information". cordonbleu.edu. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  16. ^ Cordon Bleu sues Manitoba eatery, Winnipeg Sun, January 23, 2008. Archived January 25, 2008, at Archive.is
  17. ^ Sears, Neil (2008-06-06). "Cookery school siege standoff". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  18. ^ Smith-Squire, Alison (2017-01-23). Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4146556/How-lemon-tart-bullies-ruined-40-000-Cordon-Bleu-dream.html. Retrieved 2017-01-23.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Grimes, William. "Julia Child's Memoir of When French was Scary", The New York Times, 8 April 2006.
  20. ^ Flinn, Kathleen. "NPR's Talk of the Nation: 'The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  21. ^ LCB International history at Le Cordon Bleu Archived September 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Le Cordon Bleu USA: Campus Locations . accessed 21 December 2015.
  23. ^ Crawford, Amy (17 May 2016). "What happened with Le Cordon Bleu, and what it says about culinary education in America". Boston Globe. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 

External links[edit]