Recipes from a Burgundy cookery school

Marjorie Taylor runs a cookery school with her daughter in Burgundy. Here she explains their cookery philosophy and offers three recipes

I have always loved feeding people and gathering others around the table. Although I come from a large family, where big holiday gatherings were a normal part of growing up, the food prepared was never really the focus. I certainly didn’t come from a long line of great cooks, and so I spent many years teaching myself. I’ve always been hugely inspired by the writings of Julia Child, M. F. K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, Madeleine Kamman, and Alice Waters, and essentially taught myself to cook following many of their recipes.

I admired their passion and the way they described how to cook in detail, using the techniques required to prepare each recipe by hand. Of course, these women all happened to be Francophiles, and I’m sure it’s not by accident that I’ve always felt connected to French food in the same way that Kendall has been drawn toward France.

One of my very favourite cookbooks is Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters. I have a very well-worn copy that I continue to read to this day. I especially love the passage: “Good cooking is in the very best sense a craft, involving the heart, head, and hands simultaneously. . . . Teach your hands, above all, to remember that you are preparing food, not culinary artwork, that is to be savoured and shared with others at your table... This is cooking.”


Our goal at The Cook’s Atelier is to help guests become more confident cooks. We welcome a wide variety of cooking levels, from total novices to restaurant chefs, in our Atelier kitchen. Our cooking philosophy is simple: It’s all about using seasonal ingredients, mastering classic French techniques, and developing intuition in the kitchen. Rather than focusing strictly on classic Burgundian cuisine, our recipes are inspired by the bounty of the region, with seasonal vegetables and artisanal products always front and centre.

Your cooking will only be as good as the quality of ingredients you use. No matter how gifted you might be in technique, the end result will never be quite as good if you don’t take the time to pay attention to the seasons, and to where you source your food. Living in Beaune, we are fortunate to be able to find our ingredients locally and quite affordably.

France, for the most part, still puts a significant value in the pleasure of eating well and supporting small farmers and artisan producers. As the world gets more and more homogenized, we feel that traditions such as kitchen gardens, small farms, and charcuterie- and cheese-making, as well as artisanal baking should be protected. We do our best to help support these crafts by shopping locally and sharing these traditions with our guests as well. We enjoy teaching our guests what to look for when buying artisanal products, and encourage them to support their own small, local food producers back home.

We are big believers that less is more when it comes to good cooking, and when you use best-quality ingredients, even the simplest dish will shine. Like the French, we shop for food more frequently and in smaller quantities, planning a menu around what’s available. We have a knack for spotting authentic farmers at the market and enjoy engaging with them and learning about their stories. To us, a true artisan food producer is someone who is growing, harvesting, and producing food, rather than just selling it at the market. We gain immense satisfaction in knowing that we are supporting small farmers and eating clean food. It’s important to strive to buy fresh produce in season – not only does it taste better, it’s also healthier and generally more affordable.

Having a strong grasp of classic cooking techniques and basic core principles – from how to hold a knife properly, to mastering classic sauces and stocks, to understanding how to properly sear, sauté, roast, braise, season, and so on – is the key to becoming a better cook. We always teach our students how to first make things by hand, instead of using a food processor or stand mixer, so they really get a feel for the process.
Not that we are against machines, but there’s no substitute for your hands in the kitchen. When making bread or pastry dough, for example, using your hands gives you a memory of exactly how the dough should feel, so the next time you make the recipe, you’ll know when to add more flour or when to stop kneading.

We created this book as an extension of our French cooking school, providing an approachable and beautiful Cooking School section, to give in-depth instruction on classic French cooking techniques and recipes we feel every cook should know (see pages 332–91). As you practice and begin to master the fundamentals of French cooking, your confidence as a cook will improve, empowering you to develop your own style of cooking.
As you become a better cook, part of the journey is to let go of just following a recipe. We feel it’s important for a good cook to begin with certain fundamental classic techniques and methods, and then, with some practice, start to hone in on their own intuition in the kitchen to make a recipe ultimately into their own.

Cooking should be enjoyable, and in our minds, it’s difficult to be a good cook if you don’t take pleasure in the actual process – and in eating. As you gain more and more confidence, you will be able to adapt recipes, making adjustments here and there, depending on what’s available in your region. We hope that you view our recipes not as a rigid dicta, but as suggestive guides to help hone your cooking instincts.

The Cook’s Atelier by Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini (Abrams, On Sale: 10 Apr 2018, £35.00). Photographs copyright © 2018 Anson Smart


Roasted Leg of Lamb with Fava Beans

Lamb is at its very best in the spring, and we make this dish at least once a year in celebration of the season.

Ingredients, serves 8-10
1 (2.7kg) whole
bone-in leg of lamb
10 sprigs rosemary, plus more
for garnish
Fleur de sel and freshly ground
black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 small handful of fresh sage
6 cups fresh shelled fava beans
(from 2.7kg in the pod)

1. Remove the leg of lamb from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before roasting. Remove any fell, the papery membrane covering the leg of lamb, plus any thick sections of fat. Be sure to leave a thin layer of the fat, so the lamb doesn’t dry out while roasting. Pat the lamb dry. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).

2. Using kitchen twine, tie the roast to secure the meat for even roasting. Place the sprigs of rosemary under the twine. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large roasting pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the lamb and sear, turning, until browned and caramelized on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the butter and garlic and, as soon as the butter melts, use a spoon to baste the lamb for a few minutes. Place the pan in the oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reaches 130°F (55°C) for medium-rare, about 1 hour. The internal
temperature will rise to 145°F (63°C) upon standing. Let the leg of lamb rest on a warm cutting board for about 20 minutes before carving.

4. Make the fava beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice and water. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and blanch until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately plunge the fava beans into the ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their color. Once the fava beans are cool enough to handle, remove them, then pop off their pale green skins to release the bright green beans. Discard the skins. Place the beans in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the lamb whole on a large platter surrounded with the favabeans, lemon slices, and sage. Garnish with rosemary.

Sweet Pea Soup with Crispy Bacon and Herbed Cream

This bright-green soup can be made the day before you serve it, and is delicious served warm or cold.

Ingredients, serves 6
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
960ml Vegetable Stock
6 cups fresh shelled sweet peas
(from 2.7 kg in the pod)
25g fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
13g fresh mint leaves
Fleur de sel and freshly ground
black pepper
Two slices thick bacon, cut into lardons
60ml crème fraîche
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives; Chive blossoms or pea shoots (optional)

1. In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add (480ml) of the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil. Add the peas and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as needed, until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, mint, and the remaining 480ml vegeta ble stock. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth, then strain through a chinois. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. In a small sauté pan, cook the lardons over medium heat until crispy and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them to the paper towel–lined plate to remove excess grease and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, heavy cream, and chives.

4. Divide the soup among bowls and top each with a spoonful of the crème fraîche mixture. Garnish with the lardons and chive blossoms, if using, and serve immediately.

At the market in Beaune, we have the most beautiful rose-coloured Bergeron apricots in the late spring and early summer. They are perfect for this tart, as they are sweet and delicate, yet still hold their shape well.

Rustic apricot tart

Ingredients, serves 6

Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
Pâte Sucrée (sweet pastry, see below)
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons heavy cream
100g sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Seeds of ½ vanilla bean
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel
910g Bergeron apricots
Crème fraîche or whipped cream, for serving
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the Pâte Sucrée
187.5g unbleached all-purpose flour
50g sugar
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
112.5 g cold unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
40ml heavy cream

Method: Pâte Sucrée
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter. Using your hands, gently toss to coat the butter in the flour mixture. Scoop the mixture in your hands and gently press the flour mixture and butter between your fingertips until the mixture looks grainy, with some small pieces of butter still visible. Work quickly to ensure the butter stays cold.

2. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks and cream. Drizzle over the dough and use a fork to gently toss until incorporated. Continue working the dough, gently squeezing it between your fingertips until it comes together and there is no dry flour visible. Be careful not to overwork the dough. It’s ready as soon as you can squish the dough in one hand and it stays together. Freeze it for 15 to 20 minutes.

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the egg over the dough. Partially blind bake the tart shell, then remove and raise the oven temperature to 400°F (205°C).

2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla seeds, and salt. Set aside.

3. Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits. If the apricots are small, cut them into quarters; if they’re large, cut them into eighths. Place the apricots in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar mixture, and gently toss until evenly coated.

4. Working quickly, arrange the apricot slices, tightly overlapping, on the bottom of the tart shell, forming a tight, compact circle. The apricots will shrink as they cook, so try to fit as much fruit in the tart shell as possible. Scrape any remaining sugar mixture left in the bowl over the apricots, then lightly sprinkle them with more sugar. Bake until the pastry is golden and the fruit is cooked through and slightly caramelized, 40 to 45 minutes. The finished tart should have a jamlike consistency, with a golden, flaky crust. The liquid will be bubbling. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche. The tart is best eaten the day it is made.