At home in Burgundy, France, Kendall Smith Franchini and her family have plenty of reasons to celebrate this season. She and her mother, Marjorie Taylor, are marking the 15th anniversary of The Cook’s Atelier, their cooking school in Beaune, France. A few years back, they published their first cookbook, The Cook’s Atelier, a recipe-filled chronicle of small-town life in the French wine region. Thanks to Kendall’s husband, Laurent Franchini, their Burgundy-accented kitchen boutique and wine shop is fully open in their headquarters and online—providing Marjorie and Kendall with the perfect excuse to prowl the local flea markets. And to top it off, the boutique was recently named one of the 24 most beautiful shops in the world by Veranda magazine.
All of this, mother and daughter tell us, is the result of a long-shared dream for the two of them. “Kendall has been a Francophile since she was a little girl,” says Marjorie, explaining that she herself as a 25-year-old single mom had apprenticed at a series of French restaurants in Phoenix, where they lived, “because I wanted to learn classic French technique.” Marjorie became a pastry chef and co-owned a small Phoenix restaurant and cooking school. Nearly a decade later, to begin a new chapter, she spent six months in Burgundy working under Anne Willan at La Varenne cooking school. Meanwhile, after a formative high school trip to Paris, Kendall earned her BA—in French and art history—and went on to study viticulture at the Centre de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion Agricole, the main wine school in Beaune, and to work for Berkeley wine importer Kermit Lynch. Together, mother and daughter set their sights on Burgundy as a place to sink their roots and create a business. All of that has come to pass, along with two children and a charming fixer-upper for Kendall and Laurent. Kendall invited us to have a look at her family’s remodeled place and their holiday festivities.
Kendall and Laurent introduced new cabinets from Ikea and a farmhouse sink, but preserved the stone fireplace and exposed beams. The farmhouse dining table is paired with classic Tolix Marais A Chairs.
Kendall learned to cook from her mother, who is shown here making a béarnaise sauce to go with a côte de bœuf; both recipes are in their book. “We always serve fish on Christmas Eve and keep it very South of France for Laurent’s family who visit: fresh oysters, sometimes a bouillabaisse,
often moules marinières. For Christmas, we’ll do a rib chop like you see or wild game, such as a filet of venison. We like to prepare the meal in courses,
starting with a festive aperitif and ending with the thirteen desserts.”
When they move their bedroom to the other attic, this space will be used as a kids’ study room.N.B.: This post is a favorite from our archives; the original story ran on December 20, 2017. Go to A Year in Burgundy: The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune to see our post about the school: Marjorie and Kendall offer daylong market tours and cooking classes, as well as five-day programs.
For more festive—and simple—decorating ideas, see:
- The Monochrome Holiday: 8 High/Low Design Tips from Tricia Foley
- 10 Favorites: No-Cost Holiday Decor Ideas
- The English Holiday: 8 Easy Ideas from London Designer Rita Koenig
Frequently asked questions
Who is the Franco-American family behind Cook's Atelier?
The Franco-American family behind Cook's Atelier is the Poliafito-Karamalis family.
Where is Cook's Atelier located?
Cook's Atelier is located in Burgundy, France.
What is Cook's Atelier known for?
Cook's Atelier is known for their cooking school and boutique in Burgundy.
What can visitors expect at Cook's Atelier?
Visitors can expect to participate in hands-on cooking classes, shop for artisanal kitchenware, and enjoy a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Is Cook's Atelier a family-owned business?
Yes, Cook's Atelier is a family-owned business run by the Poliafito-Karamalis family.
What kind of recipes are taught at Cook's Atelier?
At Cook's Atelier, recipes focus on traditional French cooking techniques using seasonal and local ingredients.
Can I buy kitchenware at Cook's Atelier?
Yes, Cook's Atelier has a boutique where you can purchase artisanal kitchenware.
Do I need prior cooking experience to attend a cooking class at Cook's Atelier?
No, the cooking classes at Cook's Atelier are suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experienced cooks.