A semester immersed in the cuisine and culture of Japan for our Culinary Arts students

Matthieu Frey, a 3rd year student on the Bachelor’s programme in International Culinary Arts Management and a scholarship recipient from the G&G Pélisson Foundation, is currently in Japan with several other students as part of the Cuisine and Culture of Japan programme for their 6th semester. In partnership with the Hokuto Bunka Academy, the students are experiencing a full immersion into Japanese culinary culture and traditions.

During this semester in the land of the rising sun, students have the opportunity to discover the secrets of both Japanese cuisine and culture. Between practical cooking classes and the discovery of Japanese culture and traditions, through various workshops and modules.

We asked Matthieu Frey a few questions, which he agreed to answer.

Matthieu Frey’s experience in Japan


What made you want to choose the “Japanese” specialisation in the third year?

We really liked the programme presented around Japanese cuisine and culture.  We are all fans of Japan for various reasons: culture, culinary culture, values conveyed by the country … It was therefore an obvious choice for us to pursue this specialisation and to experience the programme offered by Institut Paul Bocuse in partnership with the Hokuto Bunka Academy.

How did you feel about leaving for Japan?

We were a bit apprehensive about a 6-month experience in a country that was totally foreign to our culture and far from our family, although this quickly faded away thanks to the fact that we were going together as a group.

What are you learning over there, in terms of skills and also from a human perspective?

We are learning the basics of Japanese cooking at the moment, and gradually this will be stepped up in terms of culinary skills by learning more elaborate recipes and techniques.

There is also a cultural component to our programme: tea-making, karate and ikebana (a traditional Japanese art based on flower arrangement) are taught, which gives us lots of new insights into the Japanese way of life and way of behaving. Language courses are also available for a good learning experience.

What have you learnt from the Japanese culture?

The Japanese are very methodical, diligent and committed to their work. It’s a culture based on ancient traditions and values, which they have managed to evolve and bring into the new era. A very welcoming country towards the French. The exchanges are very pleasant, we learn every day about their culture and we also try to share our culture because they are a very curious nation that likes to learn.

What has surprised you the most since your arrival?

The warmest of welcomes, the diversity of the produce, the Japanese way of life, not to mention the restaurants and their pleasant culinary diversity.

Do you think that this specialisation will be a springboard for your career?

Of course, learning a new language, a new culture and a new culinary culture is always interesting. We will come back with a lot of new ideas about cooking and life in general. Everyone will be free to interpret them as they wish, but it will be a plus in terms of education, and our career paths.

Discover some photos of their stay:

As part of their programme of studies, our students have the opportunity to customise their course by choosing one of the six areas of specialisation offered in their final year: Gastronomic cuisine; Cuisine and culture of Japan; International cuisine; Nutrition, health & pleasure; Organising: the art of entertaining by Potel & Chabot; Culinary Resort Management by Club Med.