My desire for the creative life has led me to the streets of Paris, the boroughs of New York, the galleries of Berlin and always to the shores of the West Coast. I am inspired by living a simple life, rich in culture. I am drawn to cities where dogs sleep below cafe tables, where books and art grace the walls of homes and where the world slows down for a meal shared with friends.

I've made my home on beautiful Vancouver Island. My studio and home, a hundred-year-old character house, acts as the canvas for every photograph, recipe and dinner party. 

I invite you to read my blog, view my portfolio and please get in touch if you're interested in working together.

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Creative Q&A: The Cook's Atelier

Name, Location, Occupation
Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini
Beaune, France
Co-Founders, The Cook's Atelier, an epicurean center, cooking school and wine shop in Beaune, France.

Please describe your workspace:
The Cook's Atelier is an epicurean center in the center of historic Beaune, France run by a mother and daughter duo.  Our epicurean center is housed in a 17th century building and includes a wine shop, a retail space as well as our teaching kitchen and dining room.  The Cook's Atelier is a place for locals and visitors alike to come and participate in special events around local food and wine.  We wanted to create a space that was convivial and inspiring.  The Cook's Atelier is really something special and we love sharing it with others.

What are you working on right now?
In the height of the season, we are busy with cooking classes, private dinner parties and winemaker dinners.  Currently, we are busy working on our online shop, The French Larder at The Cook's Atelier, which we hope to launch in the next few weeks.  This has been a big project as it will include everything we have in our brick and mortar shop in Beaune as well as some very special vintage finds.  The French Larder showcases our favorite cook's tools and provisions as well as vintage items and French copper.  It is a cook's dream.  The shop includes everything we love as cooks and everything is beautiful as well as useful.  An upcoming cookbook is also in the works.

What has been your most rewarding project to date?
It is difficult to choose a specific project.  We are fortunate to be able to create a business around everything we love in France.  We still pinch ourselves everyday!

Who are you inspired by?
We are inspired by the idea that you can make anything happen!  For us, it is about pursuing your dreams and jumping right in.  That has worked for us and we are forever grateful.  Whether it be food, photography or lifestyle, we are inspired by others who follow their passions and pursue their dreams.

Has there been a defining moment or turning point when you realized what you wanted to do for a living? 
For us, Kendall was the Francophile and she has pursued the lifestyle of living in France for as long as we can remember.  She studied French and Art History in University and has lived in France for 13 years.  For me, I realized that after visiting Kendall for many years when she lived in France that this was not a short term problem, but a long term problem.  It occurred to me that she was never coming home!  Being a very close mother and daughter team, we decided to combine our two passions, wine and food, and create The Cook's Atelier.  So, I decided in 2007 to make the leap and follow my heart.  Turns out, my hunch paid off.  She did find her very own Frenchman and I have two sweet grandchildren, Luc et Manon.

What do you think is the most difficult aspect of your work?
French bureaucracy!

What are you reading at the moment?
Marjorie:  Michael Pollan's: Cooked plus a stack of cookbooks. 
Kendall: Since my little ones are tiny, I read mommy blogs!

What websites do you visit for inspiration? 
We love Remodelista, Mrs. French at Bliss Blog and TED talks about sustainable agriculture.

What are your simplest daily pleasures? 
Our first cup of tea in the morning.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? 
Enjoying the life we have created in France.  Family dinners.  Picnics and enjoying meals around the table with family and friends.

Summer Cocktail

Creative Q&A: Erin Gleeson