The Culinary Institute Lenôtre, caterer to Paris's rich and famous, is considering whether to run its professional pastry school and cookery classes in UAE.
French pastry school sifts UAE plan
ABU DHABI // A French culinary institute could be teaching UAE residents how to make professional-quality pastries and chocolate by the end of next year.
The Culinary Institute Lenôtre, caterer to Paris's rich and famous, is considering whether to run its professional pastry school - L'Ecole Lenôtre - and cookery classes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
"We are looking into the possibility of opening a school here in the UAE by the end of next year," said Bertrand Lebugle, the institute's director of expertise.
"This is a test to find out what the culture is like and see if there is a market for such a school here."
Lenôtre has schools across the globe from Paris to Sao Paulo.
In the Middle East it has 35 shops; the first in the UAE opened on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai in 2005.
Mr Lebugle remains unsure about whether French and Emirati cultures are similar enough for a school to survive.
"In the UAE, women cook, prepare the food and know all about it, whereas in France, they work maybe more - so our first market there is men," he said.
The institute held five workshops for adults and children at Abu Dhabi's Shangri-La Hotel last week. All proceeds were donated to the Al Noor Centre for Children with Special Needs.
At one workshop, around 20 children learnt how to make chocolate chip cookies with Alain Blanchard, a Lenôtre pastry chef for 20 years.
"They're simple recipes, teaching kids how to transform the raw material into the final product," said Mr Blanchard, who taught in the Paris pastry school for six years.
Julie Griffond, 8, from France, said she learnt a lot from baking her five cookies. "I'm looking forward to seeing the end product and learning more about cooking," she said.
Karl Salman, also 8, from Lebanon, enjoyed his time so much he was already planning baking sessions at home. "My mother has taken down the recipe so I can bake more," he said.