Arguably, the focal point of any great guest experience onboard a Superyacht revolves heavily around what is produced in the galley, and the highlight of the working day for most yacht crew is typically meal times! Therefore, we wanted to recognise the hard work of Superyacht chefs by bringing you our chef focused monthly blogs, courtesy of Montclair Chef, the largest network of Superyacht chefs in the industry.

In this new Galley Crumbs series, highly experienced Superyacht chef Chris Demaillet talks all things galley, starting with the best short professional courses for busy yacht chefs…

The Top 7 Short Professional Courses For Busy Yacht Chefs In Europe

Chefs, the season is almost coming to an end!

Many of us are either planning our holidays or mapping out our next professional move. But most of us are also thinking about what professional courses or short classes we could take to level up our skills and get familiar with the latest trends. After all, working alone, or in a 2-chef team, doesn’t really allow us much time for inspiration, and as we all know, there is not much time for experimentation during the season.

I keep seeing the same question asked over and over on chefs’ chats and Facebook pages: “What is the best pastry school in Europe?” Well, you’re in luck! I did a bit of digging and put together an easy-to-read list of the best places to improve your skills in Europe. These schools have all been tested and approved by fellow yacht chefs, and many of them by me too.

Here is the full list, with web links to the schools, basic prices, and the length of the classes. You can just copy and paste the one you fancy and send it straight to your captain to get the green light and book the course!

ENSP École Nationale Supérieur de la Pâtisserie (by Alain Ducasse)


Location: Near Lyon, France.

Available Courses: French Cuisine, Michelin Star Dishes, Themed Menu, Fish & Seafood, Traditional and Innovative Pastry, Healthy Pastry, Ice Cream, Chocolate, French Confectionery, Bakery, etc. 

The ENSP École Nationale Supérieur de la Pâtisserie is a world-renowned pastry school, overseen by Alain Ducasse who is one of the most celebrated chefs in the world. The school offers a variety of short courses for professional chefs, as well as longer programs for those who want to pursue a career in pastry. The ENSP is a great option for chefs who want to learn from the best and gain the skills they need to succeed in the pastry world.

École Ferrandi Paris


Location: Paris, France.

Available courses: French Cuisine, Pastry, Bread Baking. Starting from €3000 for 2 weeks.

Overall, Ferrandi Paris is a great school for those who are serious about their career in the culinary world. The program is rigorous, but it is also very comprehensive and prepares students for success in the real world. The faculty is excellent, the facilities are state-of-the-art, and the school has a strong reputation for academic excellence. However, the program is quite expensive and the city of Paris can be pricey to live in – but since the school is located in the very center of Paris, this is a great place to make the best of both worlds: studying and discovering the Parisian scene.

École Bellouet Conseil


Location: Paris, France.

Available Courses: Pastry, Bread, French Patisserie, Ice Cream, Chocolate, etc. Starting From €985 for 2 days.

École Bellouet Conseil is a smaller culinary school in Paris that offers a more intimate learning experience. Some experienced chefs proudly wear the blue-white-red collared jacket to represent their title of “France’s Best Craftsman”. Bellouet Conseil is a great option if you want to learn from the best pastry chefs in the world in a small group. École Bellouet Conseil is located in the heart of Paris, only 10 minutes from the Eiffel tower.

École Lenotre


Location: Plaisir, France.

Available Courses: Pastry, Bread, Charcuterie, French cuisine, Patisserie, Ice cream, Chocolate, etc. Starting from €976 for 2 days. Click on their website course calendar to find out all availabilities.

École Lenôtre is a French culinary school, founded in 1971 by Gaston Lenôtre. The school offers a variety of programs, including culinary arts, pastry arts, and wine and beverage studies. École Lenôtre is considered to be one of the top culinary schools in the world, and its graduates go on to work in some of the most prestigious restaurants and hotels around the globe.

Today they are located in the suburban area of Paris, in a building that looks more like a warehouse than a fancy school. But they do offer a wide range of short courses for professional chefs, as well as longer 12-week programs. The courses are taught by very experienced and active professional chefs and cover a variety of topics. École Lenotre is a great option if you want to brush up on your skills or learn new techniques while avoiding expensive Parisian costs of living. Located 30 minutes from Paris Orly Airport, it is very easy to reach.

El Mon’ Dolce de Claudia

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Location: Barcelona, Spain.

Available Courses: Pastry, French Patisserie, Ice Cream, Chocolate, Modern Pastry, etc. Starting from €900 for 2 days.

El Mon’ Dolce de Claudia is a great option for chefs who are looking for a more intimate and personalized learning experience. The premises are located about a 20-minute taxi ride from the famous avenue La Rambla. Claudia Planas, a pastry chef with over 20 years of experience, owns and operates the school. The courses are easy to follow, with only 10 students per class. This allows for a lot of individual attention from Claudia and her team of experienced pastry chefs. The courses cover a wide range of topics, from classic French pastries to modern trends. And who doesn’t like to spend some time in Barcelona? There are more restaurants and bars here than there are pizzerias in Napoli 😉 

Gastronomicom International Culinary Academy


Location: Agde, France (2.5 hours from Marseille).

Available Courses: Pastry and Cooking Workshops, Molecular Techniques, Canapes, Chocolate, Sugar Showpiece, Macarons, etc. Starting from €100 for a half-day lesson.

Gastronomicom is an international culinary school founded in 2004. The campus offers cooking and pastry classes, and also French lessons in a charming town in the south of France. Their programs are intended for both professionals and beginners who want to improve their skills in French cooking or pastry. All of the cooking and pastry courses are conducted in English. They have special short courses of 1 or 2 days for professional chefs as well as longer 2-to-3-month-long courses, or even 7-or-12 month-long programs that include an internship at the end! You can even get a course that includes some French lessons if you’re interested.

Basque Culinary Center, Spain


Location: San Sebastian, Spain.

Available Courses: Pastry, Plating and Presentation, Modern Techniques, Fermentations, etc. Starting from €705 for 4+ days. Online courses available.

Founded in 2009 by a group of chefs and entrepreneurs from the Basque Country, the Basque Culinary Center is a cutting-edge culinary school. The school is located in San Sebastián, which is considered to be one of the culinary capitals of the world.

They offer a variety of short courses for professional chefs, as well as longer programs for those who want to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Some of the best chefs in Spain teach the courses. The school is known for its innovative approach to teaching that includes many different online courses.

The BCC is also home to a number of research and development facilities, used to develop new culinary techniques and products. The school actively promotes Basque cuisine around the world. San Sebastain and the Spanish Basque country is also a must-see place for any serious chefs out there. The food (especially the seafood they prepare) is some of the best in Europe. And go to Galicia if you are there – you won’t regret it!

Final thoughts

With a perfect 5-star rating, the ENSP by Alain Ducasse, Belouet Conseil, and École Ferrandi in Paris are the top 3 best schools on the list. These schools are both highly respected and their excellent chefs offer a wide range of courses.

But don’t get me wrong – the other schools are great options, though they may not be as well-known as the top 3. For a more affordable option, Gastronomicom International Culinary Academy, El Mon’ Dolce de Claudia, or Basque Culinary Center are good choices. My favorite based on all the videos and photos posted on their socials would have to be: El Mon’ Dolce de Claudia!

Ultimately, not everyone wants to go to Ducasse and can actually afford it. Your best school will depend on your availability, the price you are ready to pay (or get reimbursed for), and the topic you want to explore.

Good luck to all, and I hope you get to try some of the schools. If there are any schools you feel I have missed, hit me on Instagram at @superyachtchefchris.

Montclair Chef specialises in Yacht Crew and Private Chef recruitment globally.

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