by Carlos Gomez-Montoya
Where did the chef grow up; if it was in France, which region of France? How did the region influenced the chef's style cooking?
Celebrated host of award-winning cooking shows on national public television, master chef, food columnist, cooking teacher, and author of nineteen cookbooks, was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure tocooking was as a child in his parents' restaurant, Chez Pepin. 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 Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Mr. Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. Although is was difficult to findinformation about the region and how it had influenced the chef's perspective and culinary skills, his biography The Apprentice does mention that his early start in the kitchen was more an empirical training than a theory based one. Rather than following complicated recipes and intricated instructions, chef Pepin was thought to use his common sence and intuition. Chef Pepin wasn't born out of aclassroom, he was born in the kitchen itself.
Is this chef still alive, and if not, whe did he/she live and die? How did or does the era influenced the food?
Chef Pepin is very much alive today. After living and working in France, Chef Pepin moved to New York. When he came to America, he falled in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, andJulia Child. The master of the American art of reinvention, Jacques goes on to earn a graduate degree from Columbia University, turn down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switch careers to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food. Julia Child called him “The Best Chef in America”.Jacques Pepin now lives in Madison, Connecticut
Did the chef have an apprenticeship or training that shaped his/her work? What chef or chefs influenced this chef the most?
Cooking under Chef Ripert (at Le Maurice in Paris) Mr. Pepin was approached by a more severe ans structured learning process. It was the most complicated and demanding he had seen yet. There was no room for mistakes, after allit was the venerated cuisine of Master Chef Marie-Antoine Careme; who featured extremely intricated recipes controlled under the always watchfull shadow of Escoffier. The work he had to learn was so delicate and intricated that even with 16, well trained chef, if they have to serve more than 40 customers, there was pandemonium in the kitchen.
Moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin workedfirst at New York's historic Le Pavillon restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that taught him about mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food tastes. He studied at Columbia University during this period, ultimately earning an M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature in 1972. In 1997, onthe 50th anniversary of the creation of the School of General Studies at Columbia, Pépin was honored with four other distinguished alumni of the School, each representing a different decade in its history.
What dishes is the chef known for that you might like to make? Please include specific cooking techniques involved in the dishes.
Poulet á la Crème (Chicken with Cream Sauce):
“This wasthat the first and foremost dish cooked at the Hotel de l'Europe was chicken. It was roasted, stewed in red wine or morel sauce, served cold with tarragon aspic, and broiled with mustard and breadcrumbs, but the undisputed specialty of the house was poulet à la crème. The thick, acidulated cream sauce, slightly pink in color, velvety, and wonderfully rich, was served not only with chicken, but...