GAITHERSBURG, MD (WUSA9) - It has churned out big name TV chefs like Carla Hall and the masterminds behind Pineapple and Pearls and Rose's Luxury. But, L'Academie de Cuisine is no more.
After 41 years, the Maryland-based culinary school is shutting down.
"I'm sad, deeply sorry and I take full responsibility," said 72-year-old owner Francois Dionot.
L'Academie de Cuisine teaches would-be professional chefs in Gaithersburg. A year-long program can cost up to $30,000. They also have a location where anyone can take cooking classes in Bethesda, Md.
Dionot said he told staff in Gaithersburg Friday they're shutting down. Employees were expecting a two-week paid holiday. Instead, they got their last paycheck and no severance.
Dionot said Bethesda will close at the end of the month. Why? Dionot said the schools became a "financial problem," and less people were signing up.
Without this culinary school, we may not have the restaurant scene we have today. We've heard directly from some of you who say you have gift certificates that can no longer be used. And online, students are sharing that they're out thousands of dollars.
They said the school's voicemail is full, they weren't notified properly and this could have been handled better. Dionot said everyone will get their money back, but he did not elaborate.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Dionot and his wife, and many commenters aren't having it. They're asking what about the students and employees left with no school, no job and no information?
As of Monday night, the website doesn't mention anything about the school shutting down. In fact, it appears you can still enter your information to sign up for classes, even though they won't be given.
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