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Le Cordon Bleu.

Le Cordon Bleu

When Madame Distel opened her Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris in 1895, she added her own legend to the lore surrounding French gastronomy. Today, having expanded with schools in London and Tokyo, Le Cordon Bleu has become a name that in itself, and especially outside of France, stands for the art of French cooking. To this day the school's 10 master chefs represent a perhaps unrivaled body of knowledge as to traditional haute cuisine in the French style, a knowledge which they impart to hundreds of students each year who attend the Le Cordon Bleu courses from nations around the world (and pay well for the experience, too).

Capitalizing on the international status of the schools, and the reputation of the teaching staff and of the graduates, Le Cordon Bleu initiated a product line about three years ago tailored alike to the needs of chefs and sophisticated home cooks. The products have been selected by the school to represent the finest in their categories, which include an assortment of condiments, preserves, cookies, kitchen utensils, and tableware as well as coffees, teas, herbal teas, and chocolates.

Patrice du Jeu, the product manager for Le Cordon Bleu explains of this, rather ruefully, that the problem has not been to keep standards high for the product range but rather the opposite--some products chosen were so fine and rare that to add a profit margin proved difficult. As a result, although ever careful to protect its reputation, the school tries to walk a careful line between excessively high standards and practical commercial considerations.

100 Store Dot the World

After months spent readjusting contents, refining packaging, and enlarging the line and array of products, Le Cordon Bleu is at last seeing the fruits of success. Sales during the recent Christmas season were particularly encouraging.

The line is available through the seven Le Cordon Bleu tearooms in Japan and at the school's showroom in the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York. Also, several hundred specialty and gourmet stores now feature the products, including about 100 stores in the U.S. Japan and the U.S. are the leading markets.

Tea Product Range

Le Cordon Bleu offers a range of 15 teas, in bulk only; eight coffees, single origins plus a house blend and a decaffeinated coffee (all ground), and six herbal teas, which were launched at the Fancy Food Show in Washington last year. The line of preserves include unusual tea and coffee jellies, that are soon to be available even as trendy single-origin items.

The teas include such classics as Yunnan and Darjeeling, plus an assortment of fruit flavored teas. The coffee line features single origin selections from Colombia, Brazil, Kenya, and Jamaica. The products are presented in tins only, all stoutly bearing the Le Cordon Bleu emblem.
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Title Annotation:On the Continent with Jonathan Bell; cooking school
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Cote de France.
Next Article:Another Dutch specialty: the not-so-easy art of making espresso pods.

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