The term ‘Cordon bleu’ originates from the French words for ‘blue ribbon.’ The phrase was used by the Bourbon kings as an order of chivalry, and since then was used as an term for very high quality or first class recognition.
The now widely recognized phrase began its relation to food in 1827. It was the title of a cookbook published in Paris called Le Cordon Bleu: Nouvelle Cuisinière Bourgeoise. Before then ‘cordon bleu’ could be used as a noun for a nobleman.
Now, the term rarely goes without its association with cooking such as chicken cordon bleu. Le Cordon Bleu is also used as the name of a culinary arts institute. It’s name is well-known thanks to its famous graduate, Julia Child. Albeit the term simply means ‘high quality.’