“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child
I arrived at my school, Le Cordon Bleu, about ten minutes early for orientation. I walked into a jury of French administrators standing at attention in the lobby to guide me. Leading me back into the classroom was Jane, also a girl from the states that took a job in the administrative department as a way to stay in Paris. Once in the room, I was given a stack of papers to fill out. There were several other students seated already… I could not yet tell if anyone else was from America, or at the very least spoke any English. Even at my age of 30, there was still this nervousness about starting anything new. “The first day of school” feeling where you are on observation mode and a million thoughts are running through your head. As I started to fill out my Parisian address I was lightly bumped. “Oh, excuse me.” I looked next to me as the girl sat down. She smiled, “Hi, I am Sarah. How are you- please tell me you speak English- a little?” Phew. We exchange a few sentences and I found out she was twenty-eight and from Seattle. Instant comfort. An American girl like me, I quickly speculated why she had decided to come here. Unexpectedly, two other women introduced themselves. Anna was from Greece, specifically the island of Rhodes. Suzette was from Bordeaux and spoke perfect English as her father is American and hails from Virginia. I already had a good feeling. These girls were nice, and seemed to feel the same uneasiness, as I was experiencing. We took our seats and I counted fourteen women, and six men. Wow- it would be a woman’s world here in France attending Sommelier School I thought to myself as a grin lined my face.
A few moments later, our Professor, Franck Ramage waltzed in. Along side him, our British translator, John Porter. I made note that both were dressed to the nines wearing none other than Hermes belts with the signature H at the buckle. Their suites must have been Gucci.
“Wine is an integral component of gastronomy. Wine has a place at the table. It is the heart of the meal. We are going to be following the Latin module for tasting. We are going to be experts at expressing the emotion and the sentiment of a wine to allow others to enjoy the pleasures of the mouth.”
This was said in French by Professor Ramage as the opening statement, and quickly translated by Mr. Porter. The entire course would be taught in French, however translated into English. I was captivated. Professor Ramage went on to recite a few more poetic sentences about wine. I didn’t know I could feel so consumed and taken with words, and I suddenly realized wine was a long lost passion.