Cooking Classes

The Mercersburg Inn is proud to partner with the acclaimed L' Academie de Cuisine of Bethesda, MD to present a series of culinary weekends offering French cooking classes throughout the year.

The weekend includes two classes. You arrive Friday afternoon/evening and the first class starts directly after breakfast on Saturday morning. The second class starts after breakfast on Sunday. These are two intensive (hands-on) cooking classes and (of course) fabulous meals for you to enjoy are the results. Saturday night's Chef's Dinner, prepared by the Inn's Chef de Cuisine Dan Nowalk, is an elegant gala event.

This is not a class where you sit and someone teaches. This is a hands-on, fun weekend. Chef Francois or Chef Patrice will do a demonstration and then discuss the menu and recipes. Then the group splits into teams and each prepares one course of the lunch. This is for all skill levels. Got a question, want to know how to do something, Chef Francois or Chef Patrice is right there.

Chef Francois Dionot - Founder and Director

Chef Francois Dionot is the founder and director of L'Academie de Cuisine and has over 30 years of experience in the food service industry. A native of Reims, France, Mr. Dionot was educated at L'Ecole Hoteliere de la Societe Suisse de Hoteliers in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he earned a diploma in hotel and restaurant service management and all phases of food preparation. Mr. Dionot worked at various highly acclaimed kitchens in Switzerland, France, Washington DC, and New York.

Mr. Dionot remains an integral part of L'Academie de Cuisine, handling day-to-day operations as School Director and Instructor for the theoretical portions of the school's professional programs. He also teaches vocational French cuisine classes, conducts master classes on specialized food subjects around the country, and acts as a food consultant for various professional groups. A founding member and past President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), he also is a Chef Rotisseur member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and a member of the Vatel Club.

2016 Dates!

  • Jan. 30-31
  • April 30 - May 1
  • Sept. 17-18
  • Nov 12-13

  • Chef Patrice Olivon - Program Director at L'Academie de Cuisine

    Program Director of Culinary Arts at L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Chef Patrice obtained his culinary degree from Ecole Hoteliere de Marseille, and then cooked at the renowned Negresco Hotel with Michelin two-star Chef Jacques Maximin. Relocating to Washington DC in 1979, Chef Patrice first worked at Le Palais des Friandises and then was the Sous Chef at La Maison Blanche for twelve years. Chef Patrice achieved the position of Executive Chef of the Embassy of France and excelled there for twelve years.

    Chef Patrice also cooked at the White House for formal affairs, private parties, and daily meals.  In 1993, First Lady Hillary Clinton called upon Chef Patrice, along with the country's most talented chefs, to "Americanize" White House cuisine. Chef Patrice competed on Food Network's Iron Chef America with the former Executive Chef of the White House, Walter Scheib. Alton Brown nicknamed Chef Patrice the "Patrice-O-Matic" for his speed and culinary prowess - skills that helped the team win the battle against Iron Chef Cat Cora.
    Chef's Patrice on Camera - Iron Chef and Emeril

    2016 Dates
    Coming Soon!

    Call early (717-328-5231) for your chance to cook in the country with Chef Dionot and Chef Olivon - these weekends fill up fast!

    Requires a minimum 2-night stay - Friday and Saturday nights

    Course Fees

    Classes: $185 per person
    Chef's Dinner: $85 per person (includes wine, gratuity and taxes)

    Weekend Schedule
    Friday - Arrive at the Inn
    8:00am-9:30pm - Breakfast
    10:00am - Cooking class Starts
    12:30pm - Lunch with wine
    7:00pm - Cocktails in the Tile Room (not included in the the course fee)
    8:00pm - 5 course French Chef's Dinner with wine (optional not included in the course fee)
    8:00am-9:30pm - Breakfast
    10:00am - Cooking class Starts
    12:30pm - Lunch with wine

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