Anne Willan

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Anne Willan (born January 26, 1938[1] in Newcastle upon Tyne, England) is the founder of the prestigious École de Cuisine La Varenne, which operated in Paris and Burgundy France, from 1975 until 2007. La Varenne classes continued in Santa Monica, California, through 2017.[2][3][4][5]

Willan is a recognized authority on French cooking[6] and has more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, author and culinary historian. In May 2013, Willan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame for her “body of work.” In July 2014, Willan was awarded the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor for her accomplishments in promoting the gastronomy of France.

She has written more than 30 books, including the influential La Varenne Pratique and the 17-volume, photo-illustrated Look and Cook series which was turned into a 26-part PBS program. Willan's The Country Cooking of France received two 2008 James Beard Foundation book awards for best international cookbook and best cookbook photography. Bon Appétit magazine named Willan its cooking teacher of the year in 2000. She was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 1999 for her contributions to the world of food writing, culinary education and to the IACP itself.[7]

Willan received her master's degree in economics from Cambridge University, then studied and taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States where she became an associate editor of Gourmet magazine and food editor of the Washington Star. In 1975, she moved to Paris and founded l'Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, which later expanded to offer programs at The Greenbrier and at her home in Burgundy, the Château du Fëy. The Burgundy campus was in operation until 2007. Most of her books have been widely published in the United States and the UK and have been translated into more than 24 languages.

Willan was married to Mark Cherniavsky, an executive with the World Bank, who died in 2017. They have two children, Emma and Simon, and five grandchildren. As of 2017, Willan lives in London and France.[8]


  • Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals, Contributor (2015)
  • Secrets from the La Varenne Kitchen (2014)
  • One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France (2013)
  • The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook (2012)
  • The Country Cooking of France (2007)
  • A Cook’s Book of Quick Fixes & Kitchen Tips (2005)
  • The Good Cook (2004)
  • Good Food No Fuss (2003)
  • Cooking with Wine (2001)
  • From My Château Kitchen (2000)
  • In and Out of the Kitchen in Fifteen Minutes or Less (1995)
  • Cook It Right (1998)
  • Look and Cook, 17 Volume Series, (1992–1995)
  • La Varenne Pratique (1989) - also in e-book
  • French Regional Cooking (1981)
  • Grand Diplome Cooking Course (1979)
  • Great Cooks and Their Recipes (1977, republished 1992)

Board memberships[edit]


  • Appointed "Chevalier" of the French Legion of Honor, 2014
  • James Beard Hall of Fame for "Body of Work," 2013
  • Won two James Beard Foundation Awards for Country Cooking of France, 2008
  • Bon Appetit Cooking Teacher of the Year Award, 2000
  • Lifetime Achievement Award of International Association of Culinary Professionals, 1999
  • Inducted into Hall of Fame at Australia's World Food Media ceremonies, 1999
  • Honored in 1995 as Grande Dame of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, 1995
  • Elected to the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1986


  1. ^ Andrew F. Smith, The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (Oxford University Press US, 2007: ISBN 0-19-530796-8), p. 625.
  2. ^ "The La Varenne Cooking Course: The Complete Basic Course from the Prestigious French Cooking School in Paris". 
  3. ^ Lutz, Susan (March 23, 2015). "Insider Tips From La Varenne Cooking School". Zester Daily. 
  4. ^ Wise, Deborah (April 6, 1988). "Coals to Paris? A New Cooking School". New York Times. 
  5. ^ Virbila, Irene (March 14, 2014). "Anne Willan's classic 'La Varenne Pratique' is now an e-book". LA Times. 
  6. ^ Russ Parsons, "Anne Willan's Movable Feast Hits LA," The Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2008
  7. ^ Speiser, Gillian (April 2, 2015). "Perfect the Basics with Anne Willan's Secrets From the La Varenne Kitchen". Broward Palm Beach New Times. 
  8. ^ "Mark Cherniavsky". 

External links[edit]