We spent a delicious day in Burgundy with The Cook's Atelier for their market tour and cooking class. The Cook's Atelier is run by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini, a mother-daughter duo who are living the expat life in Beaune. Together they have created an oasis for home cooks and anyone who loves good food and wine.
Everyone from Williams-Sonoma to my friend Caroline of Chardonnay Moi raves about the Cook's Atelier, so when we settled on Burgundy as part of our recent trip I was dying to work it into our plans. Our itinerary was already set by that point, so I was thrilled that our time in Beaune just happened to fall over a market day which are Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Classes are capped at 10 people and, as luck would have it, there were two spots left for us too! We had a wonderful and diverse group for our class, including a family from Arizona who had just dropped one child off in Paris for a semester abroad and three lovely ladies from Austin, Texas on a girls trip to Burgundy and Champagne (hi, ladies!) . I thought that was so wonderful that I've already passed the idea along to my girlfriends (let's be honest, I'm just fishing for an excuse to return).
If you're going to Burgundy (and you should!), I can't recommend The Cook's Atelier highly enough. In addition to their market and cooking classes, their shop has beautiful kitchenwares, including some vintage French finds, and they serve the best coffee in Beaune. September and October is busy season for The Cook's Atelier's including a five-day workshop, which they only offer three times each year. The next workshop is coming up next month and, as of yesterday, there were just a few spots left.
As much as I wanted to move into the atelier (which functions as a shop, teaching kitchen, dining room, and the ultimate spot for dinner parties), on a return trip I would love to stay at Marjorie and Kendall's pied-à-terre, which is also in the center of Beaune and originally was their home. If you want to bring a taste of Burgundy and the French good life home with you, Marjorie and Kendall are coming out with a cookbook - their first! It's available for preorder in the U.S., and you bet I'm lining up to get a copy.
Kendall stocking up on charcuterie at the Beaune market.
The sweetest truffle-hunting dog hanging out at the market, who made me so homesick for Foster (especially since Beaune was the last leg of our trip).
Kendall and Marjorie lead the charge through the market.
Those golden fruits on the right are Mirabelle plums, which I've enjoyed all over Europe but can never seem to find in the U.S.
You better believe that I bought one of those excellent market bags just inside the shop door. I'd been on the hunt for one for ages but it was hard to find one that was good quality. The classic French market bags are both beautiful and utilitarian: they carry a ton and can be hosed down as needed.
Let's talk serious kitchen goals. That Lacanche range and the collection of Mauviel copper are the stuff of my DREAMS. My parents have pieces of Mauivel, some of which they inherited from my dad's parents. They're beautiful and functional (cooks like copper because it conducts heat so well) and they last and last. One of the aspects of the Cook's Atelier that resonated with me was Marjorie and Kendall's philosophy that it's worth investing in quality kitchenwares that will stand the test of time and are beautiful to boot.
That's certainly been my experience. I have a flat whisk with a wooden handle that also belonged to my grandparents and it brings me joy every time I use it. It has outlasted a silicone ballon whisk that I bought two years ago, which bit the dust shortly after we returned from France. Lesson re-learned. Maybe my next kitchen purchase will be a gorgeous copper-handled whisk...
That's the look of concentration while whipping egg whites for a soufflé.
Marjorie, a professional pastry chef by training, shows us how to make pâte à choux, the pastry dough used to make eclairs, profiteroles, and here gougeres, the savory cheese puffs traditionally paired with an apertif in Burgundy.
That crock is the chicest tabletop compost bin that I've come across.
With my favorite co-chef. Taking cooking classes (plus one legendary cocktail class, of course) has been one of favorite things to do together. We've enjoyed learning new skills and dishes that we can recreate at home. Our day at the Cook's Atelier was the first time we've taken a cooking class while traveling and it was such a wonderful way to get to know a new place. Burgundy, with its peerless food and wine culture, was the perfect setting.
The table is set, and it's time to enjoy our meal together. But first, a toast!
That famous Dijon mustard (yes, also from Burgundy) to accompany pâté en croûte. It's pastry wrapped around pâte. Wrap your mind around that for a minute. It's delightful, and I want to know where I can find it in New York!
Success! The soufflé rose!
And check out that steamy, cloud-like bite below. Divine.
It was a most convivial meal. Kendall's professional background is in wine and she selected the wine parings for our meal, in addition to curating the Cook's Atelier wine shop.
Doug and I got onboard with the cheese course while en France. (Ed. note: see what I did there? Couldn't resist. Never can!) These cheeses were all from Alain Hess, the fromagerie on the main square in Beaune where we met Marjorie and Kendall to start the day. The melty cheese in the center (near row) is Epoisses, the famously stinky Burgundian specialty. The cheese all the way on the left is Brillat-Savarin truffle, which I MUST track down in NYC.
Night falls, and it's time for madeleines, ripe fruit, and a peach and raspberry cake (not pictured).