Jacques Pépin

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Jacques Pépin
Jacques Pépin 2006.JPG
Jacques Pépin at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic 2006
Born (1935-12-18) 18 December 1935 (age 83)
EducationColumbia University (B.A., 1970; M.A., 1972)
Culinary career
Cooking styleFrench

Jacques Pépin French pronunciation: ​[ʒak pepɛ̃] (born December 18, 1935)[1] is a French–American chef, television personality, and author.[2] Since the late 1980s, he has appeared on French and American television and written an array of cookbooks that have become best sellers.

Early years[edit]

Pépin, the second of three sons, was born in 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon, France.[1] After World War II, his parents, Jeannette and Jean-Victor Pépin, owned the restaurant Le Pélican, where Pépin worked and later became known for his love for food.[1] He went on to work in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, during his military service, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.[3]

In 1959, Pépin came to the United States to work at the restaurant Le Pavillon. Soon after his arrival, Craig Claiborne, food editor at the New York Times, introduced Pépin to Helen McCully, who took him under her wing. McCully introduced him to Julia Child sparking their long friendship and collaboration. Eight months later, in 1961, Howard Johnson, a regular Le Pavillon customer, hired Pépin to work alongside fellow Frenchman Pierre Franey to develop food lines for his chain of Howard Johnson's restaurants, while Pépin was attending Columbia University.[4]

Pépin received his B.A. degree from Columbia University's School of General Studies in 1970 and his M.A. in French literature from the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1972.[3][5]


Pépin has starred in numerous television shows. The success of his book La Technique, used to this day as a textbook for teaching the fundamentals of French cuisine, prompted him to launch a televised version resulting in a 1997 PBS series, The Complete Pépin. Relaunched on PBS ten years after its initial run, the series included a new introduction by Pépin where he stressed that now more than ever the secret to being a successful chef and not a mere line cook lies in knowing and using the proper technique.[6][7]

In 1999, Pépin co-starred in the PBS series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home alongside Julia Child. The program was awarded a Daytime Emmy in 2001.[6]

His show Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way (based on his 2004 book of the same name) ran on PBS, and Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way is currently being broadcast on PBS' Create. In Essential Pepin (2011), Pépin brings modern touches to some of his favorite recipes from his career. In the 26-part public television series, Pépin demonstrates more than 125 dishes while the companion book, published by Houghton-Mifflin, contains more than 700 recipes. In this series, Pépin is shown cooking with his daughter, Claudine, wife of chef Rolland Wesen. All of his programs have been produced by KQED-TV in San Francisco.

Pépin was a guest judge on season five of the Bravo television show Top Chef, which aired in 2008. He stated that his ideal "final meal" would be roast squab and fresh peas.

Pépin was a guest on the television show Wahlburgers episode called Pauli Day. Donnie Wahlberg arranged for Pépin to surprise his brother Paul Wahlberg for his birthday.

In 2015, his television series Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul began airing. According to its producer, Tina Salter KQED-TV, the series would be his "most personal and special, revealing a man – a legend – whose lust for life, love of food, family and friends continues". The series premiered on KQED on September 12, 2015, and nationally on September 19.

A documentary about his life, Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft,[8] aired as part of the PBS series American Masters, premiering May 26, 2017.[9] The film, narrated by Stanley Tucci, was produced and directed by Peter L. Stein, who had produced several of Pépin's early television cooking series at KQED in the 1990s.[10]

Pépin today[edit]

Pépin serves as dean of Special Programs at The International Culinary Center, founded as the French Culinary Institute, in New York City. He is an active contributor to the Gastronomy department at Boston University, where he teaches an online class on the cuisine and culture of France along with professor Kyri Claflin of Boston University's history department. Pépin also writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine and offers an amateur class each semester based on varied culinary topics.

Pépin serves as Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises, where he oversees seven onboard restaurants including Jacques Bistro.[11]

Pépin resides with his wife, Gloria, in Connecticut.[12]

Pépin experienced a minor stroke in March 2015 at his Connecticut home, but was promptly treated at an area hospital and was expected to eventually make a full recovery, according to a statement made by his daughter Claudine Pépin to the Associated Press.[13]

Awards and honors[edit]

In addition to the Daytime Emmy Award won with Julia Child, Pépin has received three of the French government's honors: He is a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1992). In October 2004, he received France's Légion d'honneur.[14] He has also received 24 James Beard Foundation awards.[15]

On May 13, 2010, Pépin, along with other chefs from The French Culinary Institute (known as The International Culinary Center), Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres and André Soltner, prepared a $30,000-per-couple dinner for President Barack Obama’s fund-raiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at Manhattan’s St. Regis Hotel.[16]

On February 5, 2010, during the christening of MS Marina, Pépin was named an honorary commodore of the Oceania Cruises fleet,[17] for which he serves as Executive Culinary Director.[18]

He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Boston University on May 22, 2011. In October 2011, Pépin was the recipient of the first-ever tribute dinner at the New York Food and Wine Festival. Cooking for Pépin at the event, hosted by Martha Stewart, were some of America's best-known French chefs including Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, and others. In May 2017, Pépin received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia University.[19]


  • Jacques Pépin: A French Chef Cooks at Home (1975)
  • La Technique (1976)
  • La Methode (1979)
  • Everyday Cooking With Jacques Pepin (1982)
  • The Art of Cooking, Vol 1 (1987)
  • The Art of Cooking, Vol 2 (1988)
  • Short-Cut Cook (1990)
  • Today's Gourmet (1991)
  • Cuisine Economique (1992)
  • Today's Gourmet II (1992)
  • Jacques Pepin's Simple and Healthy Cooking (1994)
  • Jacques Pépin's Table (1995)
  • Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine (1996)
  • The Complete Pépin (1997; relaunched in 2007)
  • The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking (1998) (with Alain Sailhac, Andre Soltner, and Jacques Torres)
  • Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Encore with Claudine (1998)
  • Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home (1999) (with Julia Child and David Nussbaum)
  • Jacques Pépin Celebrates (2001)
  • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (2003)
  • Fast Food My Way (2004)
  • Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook (with Tom Hopkins, 2007)
  • More Fast Food My Way (2008)
  • Essential Pepin (2011)
  • New Complete Techniques (2012)
  • Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen (2015)


  1. ^ a b c Pépin, Jacques (2003). The apprentice : my life in the kitchen. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 4, 23–43. ISBN 0618197370.
  2. ^ "Biography of Jacques Pépin - American Masters - PBS". April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "New York City Wine & Food Festival". The Food Network. October 2, 2011. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Klassen, Stephanie Rosenbaum (August 14, 2012). "Celebrating Julia Child's 100th Birthday: Jacques Pépin Tribute Video + How Julia Met Jacques". San Francisco, California: KQED Food. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  5. ^ Pépin, Jacques (April 28, 2005). "Howard Johnson's, Adieu". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b "About Jacques". Essential Pepin. KQED.
  7. ^ "Complete Pepin, The | KQED". KQED Public Media.
  8. ^ "Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft - About the Film - American Masters - PBS". April 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "American Masters – Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft - Press Release - Pressroom - THIRTEEN".
  10. ^ "Filmmaker Interview: Peter L. Stein on Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft". Vimeo.
  11. ^ "The Finest Cuisine at Sea". Oceania Cruises. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  12. ^ Elizabeth Maker (June 1, 2003). "Suddenly, Balls in Every Court". The New York Times. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  13. ^ Hirsch, J. M. (March 25, 2015). "Television chef Jacques Pepin recovering from minor stroke". MSN. Associated Press. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "Jacques Pepin Chef and Cooking Show Host". PBS Food. October 17, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  15. ^ "Awards Search". James Beard Foundation. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  16. ^ McAuliff, Michael; Saltonstall, David (May 13, 2010). "After beating up Wall Street 'fat cats,' President Obama ready to take their money in NY fund-raiser". Daily News. New York. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  17. ^ "Oceania Cruises new ship Marina Christened in Miami". PRLog. February 8, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "The Finest Cuisine at Sea, Master Chef Jacques Pépin | Oceania Cruises". www.oceaniacruises.com.
  19. ^ "Columbia's 2017 Commencement Week Events Take Place from May 13 to 18". Columbia News, Office of Communication and Public Affairs (Press release). May 9, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.

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