Marthe Distel and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School in Paris

Continuing our Women's History Month special project, may we introduce you to Marthe Distel?


You may be asking yourself what Marthe Distel and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris have in common.  Actually, due to Marthe Distel’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision, Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School was established.  Let me take you back to the year 1895…

Marthe Distel was a French journalist who decided to publish a weekly cooking magazine.  The name of this magazine was La Cuisiniere Cordon Bleu (The Blue Ribbon Chef).  Each week Marthe would get the Paris Chefs to write recipes, including the list of ingredients, how to prepare the dish, even including the history of the dish.     

Being the savvy business woman that she was, Marthe Distel decided to have these Chefs demonstrate these recipes with free cooking classes.  That way, the magazine subscribers would be given the opportunity to watch the Chefs prepare these dishes, and even learn a trick or two during the class.

In an effort to promote her cooking magazine, Marthe Distel helped to establish the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School in Paris.  When the doors were opened on January 14, 1896, the first cooking demonstration was performed on an electric stove.  The subscribers to the magazine actually got free membership to the School.

The classes were a big hit and this lead to more people becoming interested in these wonderful cooking classes.  In a very short time, the reputation of the school grew and the school expanded. Le Cordon Bleu Cullinary Arts School enrolled the first Russian Student in 1897, and the first Japanese student in 1905 becoming multicultural.

When Marthe Distel died in the late 1930s, her cooking publication, La Cuisiniere Cordon Bleu, had 25,000 subscribers. Oh and that free cooking school ~ Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School ~ had become very well known and was drawing in cooking professionals from around the world.

For 70 years this wonderful La Cuisiniere Cordon Bleu cooking magazine continued week, after week, after week.  These wonderful recipe articles were to become the worlds’s largest recipe collection.  Just think of that for a moment, 70 years of documented culinary delights.  Does it make your mouth water when you envision all those delicious dishes?

Now, the next time you hear someone talking about the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School you will remember Marthe Distel.


Photo Credit McFlossy Ron Bullard