‘Cordon Bleu chef’ has become a phrase that carries weight. For while the Jamies and Gordons of the world work their way up from the grimy kitchen floor, students of French (and French-ish) gastronomy with a bit more capital behind them can fork out for one of the Cordon Bleu’s cookery courses, lasting from 11 weeks to nine months – usually to then practise their craft at dinner parties, not in the bowels of the pressure cooker environment of big city restaurants. Based in Marylebone since 1933, Le Cordon Bleu London has now relocated to Bloomsbury Square, to a spanking new, seven-storey development costing £15 million. This new school opens on January 13 with the cafe opening a few weeks after on January 30. Even if you’re not planning to do sign up for a course (£27,750 for the nine-month one), it’s worth a look for the new café, open to anyone (from 7am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 7am-3pm on Saturday). Of course, French-style patisserie is to the fore, plus boulangerie and viennoiserie. Guy Dimond
For info, see lcblondon.com.