Jessica Yoon: Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and her blog, "Jessica's Dinner Party"


Le Cordon Bleu Graduate (Grand Diplôme- Cuisine and Pastry)

Photo credit: "Jessica's Dinner Party" blog

A great many years ago, I left Melbourne to live in Paris for a year. To break up the 24 hour travel time, I decided that I would take a two and a half week layover in Seoul, South Korea. 

It also gave me a chance to spend more time in the country where I was born.

I did not really know many people in Korea but a fellow adoptee friend of mine in Melbourne had been put in contact with some of her friends as well as taught me a few useful Korean phrases. 

Serendipitously, Jessica and found ourselves at a group dinner together. I do not remember us speaking during the actual meal but we had a chat outside when leaving the restaurant.

Something straightforward like this:

"I'm going to go live in Paris"

"Oh, me too!"


We exchanged details and Jessica arrived in Paris the month after me. We met for the first time in Place des Vosges in Le Marais.

Having Jessica's friendship during my year abroad enriched my experience and made it much more enjoyable. 


Jessica was born in Canada and holds citizenship but left when she was 4 years old to live in the United States. After a few years in the U.S, Jessica moved to South Korea where she attended an international school. After graduating from high school, she returned to the U.S to study at New York University.


Jessica's passion for food and photography is what sparked the creation of the blog, "Jessica's Dinner Party," which she began writing prior to her move to France.

"For as long as I can remember, I've loved to cook and bake. It was only after I graduated college, by writing my blog, that I wanted to pursue it professionally. The blog and the movie "Julie and Julia" were really what sparked me forward".

Jessica chose to go to Le Cordon Bleu because she saw it as more of an adventure than going to a culinary school in the United States, namely New York City, where she was residing at that time following her university graduation. 

Even if she had decided to stay in NYC to train she would have needed to leave and come back because of not being an American citizen. If she needed to get a visa anyway, Jessica asked herself, "why not go to Paris instead?"

"I chose to go to Le Cordon Bleu because it felt like an adventure..."

Jessica grew up spending every summer in the US so didn't find living in the US and Korea as difficult as it may have been for others. Moving to yet another country to live did not seem so daunting due to this.

The cheese book
At La Grande Mosquée de Paris Our "Fromage Fridays"

Unfortunately for me, having a friend at Le Cordon Bleu meant that there was quite a lot of necessary tasting involved. But as a loyal friend, I did what I was charged to do. I was regularly spoiled by Jess with various cakes, pastries, and handmade chocolates.

It was a very difficult time!

L-R I still have dreams about this deliciously wonderful raspberry and passionfruit delicacy, croissants and pain au chocolats, homemade chocolates for my birthday, an Opera cake, and cooking Korean at home


"Pastry is my passion and where I feel the most creative and inspired".


What I really enjoyed about being in Paris with Jessica is that she was so curious -wanting to explore and try new places taking me along. 
I remember walking along the Seine together and Jessica was telling me about how she had read many of Hemingway's essays. I learned a lot from her despite the belief that I already knew quite a lot about the City of Lights.

"The Bungalow" in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea, My birthday at "Les Sans Culottes", Before I went back home from my year in Paris, Korean Fried chicken in Seoul, South Korea

"Living in France was definitely a challenge versus living in the US and Korea, which were places I was familiar with. There was the language barrier, a lot more overt racism, and a lot of paperwork that felt very difficult for me. But I'm glad I did it... My only regret is that I had soaked it all in and appreciated it more while I was there".

Jessica at "Angelina's" on Rue du Rivoli. She took me here for the first time and I regularly go back
Photo credit: Libby Crozier

As I also discovered, life in Paris is much different to just visiting. It is a difficult city to live in. Racism is much more acceptable in France in comparison to Australia, at least overtly as Jessica commented. I feel that what occurs there would not be tolerated in Australia and someone such as an onlooker would likely intervene to tell someone that their behaviour was not okay.

This type of attitude was one of the reasons that Jessica did not continue building her career in France and went back to America after completing the two year Grand Diplôme in Paris in both cuisine and pastry.

Jessica at "L'as du Falafel," the most popular place for falafel located in the heart of Le Marais
Photo credit: Libby Crozier

Beautiful Jessica introducing me to a place she wanted to check out for their quiche. It was snowing outside! Photo credit: Libby Crozier

Once back in the US, Jessica decided to pursue a Masters in Food Studies at New York University. and has since gained a lot of working experience in various areas.

Today, Jessica's parents and brother live in Korea. Her sister and her family live in Northern California whereas Jessica and her family live a 7 hour drive away in Los Angeles in Southern California. Jessica feels sad that her family lives all over the place and that they don't get to be a big part of their every day life. 

"I'm glad that we still have a home in Korea to go to. That way Korea can continue to be a part of my and my family's lives' in a significant way".

Jessica is mostly a stay at home mom. She was writing freelance for awhile before having her second baby.

"I really love creating original recipes, but honestly don't have much time for it now. With two small kids I just don't have a lot (or any!) time for myself".

Instagram @Jessicasdinnerparty (click here)


"I'd like to get back to blogging, maybe write a newsletter, and take photos, but again, just don't have any time. Which is sad, but the reality. It was harder to swallow after I had my first baby, but now I've accepted it. There will come a day when I have more time to pursue my interests, but it's just not right now".

Jessica and Brian got married in June of 2018 after meeting at her sister's wedding in 2012 and have now been married for 5 years.

The beautiful couple of their wedding dayPhoto credit: Instagram @Jessicasdinnerparty

Jessica has not returned to France since leaving in 2012. She wants to go back but says that she just has not been able to make it happen.

I'd really love to return on my own and spend a week with Cat (her best. friend who also lived in Paris working in fashion) just going back to old streets and going to new pastry shops. Maybe for my 40th birthday!

I understand the reasons that Jessica did not stay and pursue a career very easy to get swept up in the beauty of Paris when visiting but it is not a city where it is easy to live. I say that if you can live in Paris, you can live anywhere!
"If I'm being honest, I feel a little disappointed that I haven't had the robust career I imagined for myself when I started at Le Cordon Bleu. I've had a lot of jobs related to food, but it hasn't been a straight shot.
On the flipside, I'm really happy with my life today. I don't know if that would've been possible if I had chosen to stay in Paris and become a pastry chef. I would've never had the opportunity to fall in love with Brian, and I wouldn't be here today with my two girls".



I wonder where and when Jessica and I will meet again. A decade is creeping up on us- a very scary thought!

I do highly recommend Jessica's blog, which she has run for well over 10 years. Quite a feat considering my own personal attempts to keep one going and failing.

She is also a talented photographer and takes beautiful pictures. Even if Jessica is no longer able to be as active due to her family and life commitments, she does post from time to time on her stories.

    Monet's Garden, Giverny


For more information regarding Le Cordon Bleu and the various courses and diplomas on offer, please visit their website on: