Master Chef Jacques Pépin

Category: Authors
Location: Adrian Lamb Room

Please note: The seating for this event is filled.   If you are interested in attending the reception and purchasing a book for Mr. Pepin will sign after the event, please arrive by 4:00 on the Library Main Level.  Thank you.

Jacques Pépin is known as a champion of simplicity: His recipes take the shortest, surest road to flavor. For "ESSENTIAL PEPIN," the world’s most famous cooking teacher selects the very best from the thousands he has created, including Spicy Rib Roast, Roast Duck with Orange Sauce, Mémé’s Apple Tart, and Warm Chocolate Fondue Soufflé. This book spans the many styles of Jacques’s cooking: homey country French, haute cuisine, fast food Jacques-style, and fresh contemporary American. A Renaissance man and juried artist, Jacques has sketched more than 300 charming French-style line drawings expressly for the book.

A best-known chef, cookbook author, and cooking teacher, Jacques Pépin has published 26 books and hosted 11 acclaimed public television cooking series.

Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pelican. At age thirteen, he began his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L’Europe in his hometown. He subsequently worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin first worked at New York’s historic Le Pavillon restaurant and then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, while attending Columbia University. He received his B.A. degree from Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) in 1970 and went on to earn a master’s degree in French literature at Columbia University in 1972. In 2010, he delivered the commencement address at Columbia University GS graduation ceremonies and received an honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales University. Pépin was previously awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of New Haven.

A former columnist for the New York Times, Pépin is a contributing editor to Food & Wine magazine. He also regularly participates in that magazine’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen as well as at other culinary festivals and fund-raising events worldwide. He is a popular guest on top-rated television programs including Today, Good Morning America, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

In 2009 Pépin received the Governor’s Award of Excellence for Culture and Tourism from Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell. In October 2004 he was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the French Legion of Honor. He has also received two other high honors from the French government: He was named a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1997 and a Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole in 1992. Since 1998 he has been Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute (New York), and he is also an adjunct faculty member at Boston University. Pepin is a founder of the American Institute of Wine and Food and a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals. He and his wife, Gloria, live in Madison, Connecticut.

For more information, listen to this recent NPR interview with Jacques Pépin.