Trying to think what to do with my interest in gastronomy lead me to many roads, one of which intrigued me the most. Last year, my wife and I debated on whether to save money for a house or go on a dream vacation. We ended up traveling through rural and urban France, experiencing the land, talking to people, and absorbing the gastronomy, drawing much inspiration of what it is, and what I might want to do about it. During one such moment, I met a lady at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris (one of the more well-known culinary institutions in France), talked to her about my interests, and came away with the idea of perhaps attending this gastronomy program – the HEG or Hautes Etudes du Goût (Advanced Studies of Taste).
The HEG program intrigued me for several reasons: its structure, its affiliation, its duration and the opportunity it provides to write a university thesis on an original gastronomic topic of choice. The structure of the program reminded me of a small conference (about 20-30 people), with lectures given by people with expertise in diverse fields of gastronomy, including history, economics, neurobiology, physics, chemistry, psychology, business, law, sociology and geography. Classroom lectures were complemented by outdoor visits to markets, and themed-meals. The lecturers came from academic and research institutions like the Sorbonne, the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). Organized in affiliation with the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne and Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, the program is spread over a two-week period followed by a written exam, and about six months to write the thesis.
As much as the program intrigued me, the availability of two partial scholarships, one administered by the HEG and the other by the Culinary Trust, USA, made it easier for me to seriously consider applying to the program.
Fortunately for me, I was awarded the scholarship from the Culinary Trust, and was accepted into the program.
I just returned from France, my mind is bursting with the experience, and I hope to write.