Master Chef Jacques Pépin

Friday, April 06, 2018

Master chef, author, and educator Jacques Pépin is “the original Iron Chef.” Winner of 16 James Beard Awards and author of 29 books, Pépin has taught millions of Americans—plus an entire generation of chefs—how to cook. His classical approach to the kitchen centers on skill and method, teaching everyone from the greenest home cook to the seasoned professional how to put techniques into practice.

“Jacques Pépin is The Master,” said Anthony Bourdain. “The undisputed authority on…well, just about everything relating to food. If Jacques Pépin tells you this is the way to make an omelet—or to roast a chicken, then for me, the matter is settled.”

In May 2017, PBS will premiere American Masters: Jacques Pépin – The Art of Craft, on the story of Jacques Pépin, and how he ushered in a new era of American food culture.

Pépin first released his seminal cookbook, La Technique, in 1976. Selling more than 140,000 copies,  La Technique  has become a classic text in its own right. With time-tested recipes and a range of essential practices, the updated version, Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques, was released in 2012, and is complete with thousands of photographs, 160 recipes, and over 600 skills and methods.

Pépin shared the spotlight with the iconic Julia Child on the award-winning Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. The series went on to win a Daytime Emmy and the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best National Cooking Show. The duo developed and taught a master’s degree program in gastronomy at Boston University where Pépin still teaches today.

Upon moving to the United States, Pépin turned down the position of White House chef to direct research and development at Howard Johnson’s, where he helped revolutionize food chemistry, mass production techniques and subsequently, American cuisine. Pépin built his career as a master craftsman who presents accessible recipes for any kitchen with ingredients found in the local grocery store. He maintains the perspective that everyone can cook with some basic training and preparation.

Pépin has taught at the French Culinary Institute since 1988, and currently serves as Dean of Special Programs. The Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises, his many honors include France’s highest civilian honor, the Légion d’Honneur.

Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, Jacques always found the kitchen to be a place of both comfort and excitement. Working in his family’s restaurant as a child, he began his formal apprenticeship at age 13. After a meteoric rise through the ranks, Pépin became the personal chef for three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

His next book, A Grandfather’s Lesson, will be released in October 2017 and is coauthored by his granddaughter Shorey.

Many have watched Claudine Pépin in partnership with her father, Jacques Pépin, preparing delicious meals and sharing cooking techniques on Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Cooking With Claudine and Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen: Encore With Claudine. All three of their public television shows have received the notable James Beard Award. In addition, Claudine has had numerous television appearances including Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, Good Morning America, and Multo-Mario.

With an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Philosophy, and graduate work in International Relations from Boston University, Claudine spent a great deal of time in the wine industry. She spent two years as the Brand Ambassador for Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon Champagne in New York while also teaching food and wine pairing for both the French Culinary Institute and the Sommelier Society in New York. In 2002, Claudine was named “Woman of the Year” by the Academie Culinaire de France – Filiale des Etas Unis. She continues to do television and events with her Father, Jacques, demonstrations for My Food U, and is the host of a new series entitled The Zen of Taste which was filmed on location in Hong Kong. She, her husband Rollie, and their daughter Shorey live in Denver, Colorado.

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