When Marjorie and Kendall, an American mother and daughter duo, moved to a small town in Burgundy, France, they wanted to create something that combined everything they loved about France—food, wine and culture. So, in 2008 they opened The Cook’s Atelier, a cooking school, epicurean center and wine shop where they built an extended family of cooks, wine lovers and food artisans. Here is their story.
I fell in love with France at a very early age and decided to move here in my early twenties. I began studying art history and I embraced everything about French culture. Then I got into wine and decided to come to Beaune in 2008 to study viniculture and work with local wine makers.
At the time I had a little restaurant and cooking school in the U.S. and I’d travel back and forth to visit Kendall. I saw how much she loved France and eventually it dawned on me that maybe she wasn’t going to come home! We’re a very close mother-daughter team and so I decided that I was going to move to Beaune. We combined our passions of food and wine and opened up The Cook’s Atelier.
The Cook’s Atelier focuses on cooking in Burgundy, the region where Beaune is located. Happily, Beaune is known as “the wine capital of Burgundy” and the beautiful Hospices de Beaune, built in 1443, is now the site of world-famous wine auctions.
Living in Beaune is very different from living in the United States. It’s quite the experience. Beaune is a very small town, about 25,000 people, but it’s very focused on international visitors because of the wine business. We chose Beaune specifically because we fell in love with it the minute we saw it. It’s very small but very authentic — it still feels like real France.
From the very beginning, Kendall and Marjorie wanted to keep The Cook’s Atelier a family affair. Laurent, Kendall’s husband and a native of France, has the official title of “Go-to Frenchman” on staff and Kendall’s children have a dedicated kid’s table in the back of the wine shop where they can eat, color and play.
Family is really at the forefront of The Cook’s Atelier. Obviously as a mother-daughter duo we have our share of time together. But also my children come home from lunch every day. We experience the long French lunch together. My husband also runs our culinary boutique and wine shop. So family is very much an important part of what we do every day.
So, it’s no surprise that attending a cooking class or workshops at The Cook’s Atelier feels like being part of a wonderful French family. From shopping at the local market and prepping veggies, to sitting down together around a simple yet elegant table to enjoy the meal with plenty of wine, Majorie and Kendall focus on giving every guest an authentic and transformative experience.
The Cook’s Atelier is a very magical place. When we decided to create the epicurean center we wanted to create a place where home cooks could come from all over the world to learn about Burgundy through a cook’s view. The training and techniques are all French, of course, and it’s very market inspired.
We’re very lucky also to be able to share our vision with people who come visit us. The whole idea is to get everyone and involved and really loving the process of shopping and cooking so they will be inspired to take that feeling home with them.
See more of our day spent with The Cook’s Atelier below.