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Our Story

Founded in 2008 by mother-daughter duo, Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, The Cook’s Atelier offers hands-on market tours and cooking classes, seasonal suppers, and workshops throughout the year with the goal of educating local and international visitors about seasonal ingredients, classic French cooking techniques, and Burgundy’s wine capital.  Their culinary approach has been increasingly well received, inspiring guests to recreate the experience at home and prompting Marjorie and Kendall to expand the brand with an on-site Wine Shop and culinary boutique, as well as an online retail site.  The Cook’s Atelier has been praised by local and international media outlets alike including being named one of the most “Exciting New Culinary Trips” by Travel + Leisure and an “Insider’s Pick” by Fodor’s Travel Guide.  Marjorie and Kendall's curated products, recipes, wine selections, and entertaining philosophy has also been featured in Food & Wine, Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen, Kinfolk, Anthology, L’Express, Le Bien Public, Côté Est Magazine, and more.

We first dreamed up the idea of moving to France decades ago. Family is very important to us, and we wanted to create a business around the things we love and the life we wanted to live. French culture, food, and lifestyle have always been inspiring to us. As a cook, I chose the route of a self-taught cook and apprenticed in French restaurants and had the privilege of studying at La Varenne under noted teacher and cookbook author, Anne Willan, where I perfected my skills in classical French techniques. Early in my career, I opened my own French-inspired neighborhood restaurant and cooking school in the States.

For Kendall, her love of France began at an early age. She studied French and Art History at university and then found herself living in Paris and working at Christie's Auction House. Over the years, she gained an interest in wine and in her off hours, she pursued this interest by working at Legrand Filles et Fils, a well-known wine bar in Paris. She loved this experience so much that she decided to move to Beaune to study viticulture and ultimately worked for Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in their Burgundian office. As fairytales go, she found her very own Frenchman and decided to make France her permanent home. She has two adorable little French babies, Luc and Manon Clair (tiny cook's in training).

Being a close mother and daughter team, it was important for both of us to live on the same side of the pond and create strong family roots. The time had come to bring together our combined passions and create the life we had always dreamed of. A life where every day was a reflection of our true values and heart's desires. Both of us being very entrepreneurial, we decided to create a business that would reflect our love of all things French, food, markets, family traditions and a life rich in simplicity with a focus on what really matters - family. The Cook's Atelier has been a true labor of love and has evolved over the years, taking on its own momentum. We knew this journey would have its ups and downs and that we would come across a few bumps in the road along the way. We set our sights high and jumped feet first into founding The Cook's Atelier with the intention of creating a special place that supports the connection between the farmer and the cook and where people from all over the world could come together, learn to cook, and have a good time.

In the height of the season, you'll find us busy in the kitchen with hands-on cooking classes, workshops, market tours and field trips to artisan food producers. We will be busy tending our garden, using much of the produce for our cooking classes. You might find us making homemade confiture or driving the tiny vineyard roads in Madeleine, our vintage 2CV, headed to flea markets and brocantes in search of something special for our culinary boutique and online shop. Later in the year, when things slow down, we are hard at work on recipe testing and food photography projects. There is always something simmering on the back of the stove while we are busy planning next year's season. No matter what time of year you choose to join The Cook's Atelier you'll be inspired by sharing a slice of our life in France.

In our epicurean center in the heart of historic Beaune, The Cook's Atelier celebrates the connection between the farmer and the cook through hands-on cooking classes, market tours, workshops, seasonal suppers and wine tastings.

All food styling and photography by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini of The Cook's Atelier. Our work has appeared in several International publications. Please see our press page. For additional information, please feel free to email us.


Images courtesy of Emily Johnston and The Cook's Atelier.