Mr. Dionot opened L’Academie de Delicacies in Bethesda, Md., in 1976, catering primarily to house cooks, with an inaugural lesson on the preparation of shrimp quenelles, salade Niçoise and a berry tart.
French cooking, popularized within the previous years by Julia Youngster, proved a ripe enterprise alternative, and steadily Mr. Dionot attracted rising numbers of scholars together with his approachable method and skilled method.
His beginner college students through the years included legal professionals, nuclear engineers and surgeons. One pupil advised The Washington Submit that she and her husband attended courses “like some folks go to the symphony or the opera.”
Over time, Mr. Dionot expanded his operation with an accredited skilled cooking program in Gaithersburg, Md., that turned referred to as among the finest programs of its form in the US. Amongst its instructors was White Home pastry chef Roland Mesnier.
Alumni included Carla Corridor of the tv packages “The Chew” and “Prime Chef,” in addition to the acclaimed Washington cooks Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxurious and Pineapple & Pearls, Nicholas Stefanelli of Masseria and Katsuya Fukushima of Daikaya. Different graduates went on to careers at 1789, the Willard Lodge and Kinkead’s brasserie.
In all, tens of 1000’s of scholars handed by means of L’Academie de Delicacies earlier than it closed in 2017 — a casualty, The Submit reported on the time, of low enrollment and deteriorating funds.
L’Academie de Delicacies was extensively thought of to have contributed to a flowering of Washington’s culinary panorama, serving to rework the capital from a backwater of meals to a vacation spot for extra refined eating experiences.
Whether or not a pupil was coaching to turn out to be an expert chef or a extra cultivated house prepare dinner, Mr. Dionot emphasised the “4 P’s”: buying, preparation, presentation and palate. He skilled his college students to purchase the correct substances, to slice and sauté them with skilled talent, and to ship dishes to the desk in a way that was as pleasing to the attention because it was to the tongue. He demanded precision even within the matter of apron-tying.
In all his years of instructing French cooking, Mr. Dionot professed by no means to have repeated a menu. At his ultimate common lesson, he coached college students within the preparation of sautéed scallops with Belgian endive, roast rooster with potato gratin and the normal Christmas dessert referred to as buche de Noël.
“They had been divine,” meals author Carole Sugarman wrote within the Montgomery County publication MoCo360.
François Marie Jacques Dionot was born in Reims, in northeastern France, on Jan. 23, 1945. His father was an engineer. His mom, a secretary, and his grandmother had been each high quality cooks.
“I used to like to look at [them] within the kitchen,” Mr. Dionot advised The Submit. “But it surely was their area. Males weren’t allowed.”
Mr. Dionot lived briefly together with his household in Algeria in the course of the former French colony’s warfare of independence. He studied in Germany earlier than transferring to Switzerland at 18 to undertake culinary coaching at what was then the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.
In 1968, Mr. Dionot moved to the US, working at eating places and resorts in New York and New Jersey earlier than opening L’Academie de Delicacies with a enterprise companion. He lived for a few years in North Potomac, Md., and moved to Gainesville final yr.
Survivors embody his spouse of 46 years, the previous Patrice Waldron of Gainesville; three youngsters, Christophe Dionot of Silver Spring, Md., Clarice Gutman of Clifton, Va., and Laurent Dionot of Mount Laurel, N.J.; three brothers; and 6 grandchildren.
For all of the rigor of his classes, Mr. Dionot taught his college students that they’d know they’d actually arrived as cooks once they not felt obliged to refer always to a recipe.
“Learn the recipe two or thrice to grasp it,” he recommended them. “Then put it in a drawer and prepare dinner. That’s cooking.”