About Us



L'Academie de Cuisine’s mission is to provide substantive, professional training programs in the culinary and pastry arts that prepare students for employment and advancement in the multi-faceted food-service industry.

In constant pursuit of that mission, we seek to graduate high quality, well-trained cooks in response to the industry’s evolving needs. Our students are highly skilled, focused, and industrious food-service professionals.



L'Academie de Cuisine's Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts Programs and administrative offices are at our Gaithersburg campus. We also offer recreational cooking classes at L'Academie Kitchen, just steps from the metro in Bethesda, MD.

Professional Campus
16006 Industrial Drive Gaithersburg, MD 20877



L'Academie de Cuisine was founded in 1976 by Francois Dionot, a classically trained chef at the apex of a career that began at the world-renowned L’Ecole Hoteliere de Lausannel in Switzerland and saw him through rigorous kitchens in Europe and the United States. Upon settling in Washington, DC in the mid-70s, he recognized a need within the restaurant community to provide high-quality, hands-on instruction in essential, classic techniques. He committed himself to creating a teaching environment that delivers the skills training students need to pursue a career as a culinary or pastry professional, strengthens self-discipline needed to excel in the challenging food-service industry, offers small class sizes and expert instruction, and cares about the learning needs and professional aspirations of each student.

In our forty-year tenure, L'Academie has graduated hundreds of culinary and pastry professionals. Many, like Carla Hall, host of ABC’s "The Chew," Nick Stefanelli, Aaron Silverman, Jeff Heineman, Angela Pinkerton, Katsuya Fukushima, Shannon Overmiller, Josh Jarvis, and Aggie Chin, enjoy national acclaim, while countless others are beloved and appreciated by patrons and local audiences. Since our founding, L'Academie has cultivated a robust community, enabling us to place each of our students in a paid apprenticeship. Many apprentices work in kitchens led by L'Academie graduates, who carry on our legacy of excellence.

Our commitment to high-quality, skills-based training in classical culinary and pastry techniques remains steadfast. As our community grows richer, we look ahead to a delicious next forty years.

Modern Tradition


Our brand centers on a modern interpretation of a duck press, a highly specialized culinary tool used to create pressed duck, a French delicacy dating back to the 19th century. The logo modernizes the often-ornate form of a duck press to both recall L’Academie's place in French culinary tradition and symbolize the foundational skills required to create even the most complex dish.

The logo modernizes the often-ornate form of a duck press into a simple, industrial form, expressing a commitment to a skills-based curriculum relevant to the adapting needs of industry kitchens.



Top Ten Culinary School in the United States and Canada, thebestschools.org

Best Culinary Schools in America 2016, EDInformatics

Top Twenty Culinary Schools, Full Service Restaurants Magazine

Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist: Francois Dionot, by the IACP

Educator of the Year Finalist: Francois Dionot, by the IACP

Home of Team USA World Pastry Cup’s USA Team

Member of the Year Award, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington

Cooking School of the Year Award, International Association of Culinary Professionals

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